You’ve Just Got to Love Yourself. Excuse Me?
Recently, I’ve become really weary of the phrase: ‘You’ve Got to Love Yourself’, even though I also, paradoxically, totally support the view.
I’ve seen it bandied about throughout social media as if it is some kind of instant cure all. I might even scream the next time I see an image posted with a ‘beautiful’ woman smiling brightly with pearly white teeth and ‘perfect’ hair dancing through a wild flower pasture accompanied by such captions as:
‘Love Yourself And Attract the Happiness Your Deserve’
Why Does This Annoy Me?
Because it’s unfair. That Why.
It creates, in my opinion, a type of myth.
The myth that ‘Loving Yourself’ is easy and light and fluffy. And quick.
It’s hard. Really hard.
It’s raw and gritty. It can be excruciatingly painful. It can be agonisingly lonely. It can be expensive. It can take up years of your life with no guarantee of success. For some, it can take a lifetime, for others it remains, despite immense hard word, simply out of reach.
A Wilderness of Cracked Hope.
I’m sorry if that sounds pessimistic or negative. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to sound real. Many, many people struggle each and everyday to find goodness within themselves, to overcome a sense of failure or lack of self worth. Others live with the overwhelming bleakness of depression or the darkness of shame that has often been caused by some very difficult experiences in life, often caused when they were tiny, vulnerable children. These people live with an inner landscape that is arid, dehydrated and barren. It is a wilderness of cracked hopes and broken souls.
When you confront people suffering in such a way with the bland phrase/advice: ‘ You’ve Just Got to Love Yourself’, it might not come across as particularly loving or helpful. It might, potentially, come across as judgemental, punitive and deeply shaming.
There might be a sense that because they are not ‘attracting the happiness you deserve’ as they are not ‘loving yourself’, then they are failing. Again. They now, therefore, have one more dollop of punishing beliefs heaped upon them by virtue of the fact that they are now also failing to ‘love themselves’. That’s not fair, is it?
It got me thinking.
What could we do, or say, instead to genuinely help and support those who are currently walking through the mud of their own lives?
Maybe we could begin by immediately taking away the demand to ‘Love Yourself’.
How amazing might it be for a person on their knees with punitive self doubt and shattered self-esteem to hear something like this instead:
‘I Love You’.
I accept all of who you are, no matter how uncomfortable that might make me feel.
If you want me to, I’ll walk beside you as your tears fall and, again, if you want me to, I’ll help you pick up the pieces of your broken heart. Even if it takes a long, long time.
However, when the time is right, I will also step back, allowing you to do what you need to do in your own time and in your own way but, please know that I love you more fiercely than ever at precisely those moments in time.
I admire your strength to valiantly conquer your inner demons even though to me, standing here on the outside, they are invisible.
Do not be afraid or ashamed of showing your pain or your vulnerabilities, your fears or your sorrows.
Let your grief flow freely. I will catch your tears, if you want me to.
When anxiety and panic overwhelm you and you don’t know which way to turn, stay still. Sit with nature. Even if it is for many seasons. Sit still. Rest peacefully in the strong arms of Mother Earth and let her rock you back to wellness, until you are soothed back to a sense of calm.
When you are terrified, breath deeply. Keep breathing until the fear recedes even though it might take a long, long time. Eventually, it will turn in to something else but, for now, just focus on breathing. Deeply.
And, remember, I love you.
Do not be afraid to let your rage roar. It’s a vital part of your deepest healing, of who you are.
I repeat, do not be afraid.
I respect your right, and need, to fall sometimes and admire you with all my heart when you rise back up.
Let your wild energy break free from the prison within. Release yourself to the wind of your life.
Let your soul do all it needs to do to heal. It does know. Please trust.
Travel very slowly. As if you were a snail. Perhaps even slower than that.
Sit around fires with good friends. Put your naked feet on warm soil. Feel the breeze upon your face. Hear the distant roll of the waves. Let the bright sun warm your face and the sweet moon soften your heart. And eat good wholesome food – let it pass through your lips. And do not be afraid to laugh.
There is no need to rush or push or twist or pull.
Be Silent. Be Slow. Be Still.
And eventually, eventually, you will feel it returning. That which you have been distanced from, forgotten long ago or perhaps never even knew, it will come. That which you learned to reject or mistrust. That which once terrified you. It will come. Safely and securely. It will come.
You will feel it in your tears, you will hear it in your howls, you will sense it in your aching muscles and cells until one day the ache no longer exists and in it’s place you will find:
The love of the earth for you, the love of universe for you, my love for you but, most importantly, one day, when you least expect it, you will feel your own love for you. A warmth will stir in your being and you will know that you have been reawakened. That you will have been transformed. Come back to life. All that you once hated about yourself, you will now love. You will learn again and again, or perhaps for the first time, to listen to the to the divine whisperings of your soul guiding you to nourish yourself fully.
You will know that you have evolved way beyond all that made you unwell.
You will see your raw, naked, natural, stunning beauty.
You will be living in a new landscape. The landscape of inner richness and this will be reflected in the world around you.
Then, finally, finally, finally you will have the courage to be honest with yourself, with those you love, with Spirit most high and with life in general about all of who you are and all of what you desire most deeply in life.
For you will have returned to yourself – To who you were born to be.
And when you slip, as we all sometimes do, remember:
I am here.
Ready and waiting to begin the whole journey together again.
Because I love you.
And, for all that you are and all that you are not, I always will.
Please, the next time you come across someone who is lying at the bottom of their life with a cracked heart and a broken soul, weeping tears of misery and despair, don’t say:
‘You’ve just got to love yourself.’
Because they don’t know what this means.
Begin by telling them:
I love you.
I will walk with you.
One step at a time.
Until you find your way.
Back to yourself.
I will walk with you.
Because I love you.
If you have a story to share about how you found your way back to feeling love for yourself or how someone has supported back to this place, I would love to hear it. Please post in the comment section below.
With All My Love,
‘The Love Millionaire’
Karen is a #1 Best Selling Author, Clairvoyant & Healer specialising in healing the wounds of the inner child following childhood trauma with the aim to restore self esteem to the highest and most joyful level possible.
To find out more about her work please visit her ‘Work with Karen’ page.
Join her Facebook book page: Karen Packwood – The Love Millionaire.
You can also email Karen on firstname.lastname@example.org