Self Love is a Sacred Path.
Yes. I said it.
“But – what good is self love when it feels like everything is falling apart? What is the purpose of focusing on self love, when so many others are suffering? I have to take care of everyone else – that’s what I am meant to do. Self Love is a luxury – it’s not for me. What does Self Love even mean, anyways?”
Let’s start at the beginning.
When I was a child, my family system had no idea what love, let alone self love, meant. They had internalized, unhealed trauma from generations of abuse, poverty, and oppression. Separated from their own sense of worth and aliveness, they turned on themselves, and then on each other. Their legacies of unhealed places became the next generation’s legacies of unhealed places, and so on. Part of the unspoken agreement was that anyone who had the gift of empathy or sensitivity was responsible for the wellbeing of the entire system. That no matter what anyone did, no matter what happened, they would not call this out. Because for one person to say no meant the whole system would be disrupted, and everything would come crashing down.
Much like what is happening in America today.
I remember when I brought my self to therapy as a late teen. It was the first moment I turned my back on the system. Rather than trying to sacrifice myself for everyone around me, I wanted to know if there was another way. A path in which my own self mattered.
In doing so, I let the system come crashing down. I stepped into the possibility, anxious and uncertain, that maybe my healing, my own needs, and my own being deserved to come first. That I was actually not responsible for the feelings, needs, and healing of those around me. That in fact, I was just responsible for me. It suddenly began to dawn on me:
I am worth more than my own sacrifice.
This story is not unique. Many adults who find themselves with the tremendous gift of empathy, sensitivity, and intuition, may find themselves in between these words. Perhaps they had a family that was warm and loving, but in need of healing. Perhaps they had a family that was caring but disconnected, unaware of their emotions. Or perhaps they had a family with a deep legacy of trauma and harm unfolding. This story shows up in many ways. But the messages are the same.
Somehow, before you can even remember, you became responsible for the well-being of everyone around you. It may be all you have ever known.
Next week we will begin to explore the impact of this, and how the Sacred Path of Self Love can support us in reclaiming the fullness and aliveness of our being and our gifts. The following week, and the last in this series, I will offer a guided practice to begin to step onto this path yourself.
Until then, I wish you much self-affirmation, joy and honoring on your path, dear reader.