Radical Self-Love – Yeah, Right
I know I’m not alone. There are, sadly, a lot of women who have major challenges with loving or even liking themselves. So what’s this thing called radical self-love? And just how am I supposed to achieve radical self-love when sometimes I can’t even look at myself in the mirror?
Judging – – Myself?
I consider myself a fairly caring and empathetic person. I try to see the world from behind the eyes of those I interact with. So if you asked me if I was judgmental, I’d give you a quick “no” in reply.
Or am I?
While I’m neither a church goer nor what you’d call religious (I do consider myself spiritual in a new-agey kind of way), I do remember some of the teachings I heard when I was very young. Even at the tender age of 4 or 5, these resonated with me and I adopted them as my guideposts:
- Do unto others . . .
- Forgive easily, often, and repeatedly
- Go the extra mile
- Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes
And then there were those teachings that felt right, but I couldn’t quite comprehend them or at least how to live them. Like “love yourself as your neighbor,” for example. “Love my neighbor.” Got it. Love myself as my neighbor? You can insert a puzzled look or blank stare emoticon here.
Maybe Someday . . .
Most women have a very ingrained if not genetically implanted habit of caring for others first. Ourselves? Well, we’ll get around to that. Someday. But the message is clear: we don’t matter, at least not as much.
“The mirage of someday is a hopeless surrender to never”
In today’s world that also makes it very easy to fall into the trap of questioning (judging?) ourselves, asking “am I really doing enough?” And from there, ‘am I enough?” So we plod along through life, striving for at least a degree of self-acceptance or self-esteem that is enough to keep us going.
About That Judgment Thing . . .
If you didn’t just have a little aha moment, let me help you. If what I’ve said resonates even a little, it’s time to recognize that you’ve been judging yourself.
But that’s not so bad, you say, because at least I’m not judging others. Or are you?
Judgment, in one way or another, is measuring. So you’re measuring yourself. Measuring is a way of putting a value on something – more or less than, good or bad, or worse than or better than. So measuring yourself means you’re placing yourself somewhere on the continuous line that includes everyone. And in judging ourselves, we’re effectively judging everyone.
That was my aha moment. When I finally made sense of that youthful teaching “love yourself as your neighbor.” Meaning, I cannot truly love others until I really love myself. Until I first let go of all of my self-judgments. And. Accept. Me. Right where I am.
Now That You Know . . .
Letting go of all my self-judgments is a huge order. But I’m going to work on it, and stop saying ‘someday.”
If you’d like a ton more insights about this topic, I’d recommend the book “The Body Is Not An Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor. That’s what started me thinking about all of this. I should have known something was cooking inside me when I even shied away from the book at first, because I didn’t like the cover. But trust me, it’s an awesome read that will get you to examine some pretty important stuff about yourself. And maybe, with a little radical self-love, start doing life differently.