When all else fails try self-love.
I wrote this blog on the trail in my head. And, now it’s gone. That’s how writing works. Your best stuff is your best stuff in the moment and if you don’t capture its original essence or truth it disappears. Sometimes completely, or, the je ne sais quoi disappears and what’s left is less impactful. Flat. Less its original essence. But, that’s okay because this blog is about why I haven’t posted anything since the first blog.
I let fear grab hold of me. I’m struggling with it as I write this. I have a bunch of other things to say, and, I will post them. I mean, they’re already written so why wouldn’t I just post them? That fucking fear. Oh, and a conversation I’m having with my integrity. Wondering if I actually have—integrity. I know fear isn’t real, but integrity and grace are real. I’ll get there.
No. This blog is about self-love. I cringe writing those words, but just as I once thought I knew everything and learned I know nothing, I also know zilch about loving myself. Truly and honestly and forgivingly, loving myself. Being kind to myself. Taking it slow with myself. And again, the forgiveness.
I woke up the other morning and decided to take it slow with myself and do what nurtures my soul. I made a long overdue call to my grandmother and chatted with her while the house was quiet. Then, I took myself out to the trail for nature, sunshine and exercise. And, even though I was doing it as an act of self-love, I immediately began to berate myself.
I should run the trail or at least walk/run. Push myself. I said, no, today is about taking it slow and nurturing. I breathed through it. Then decided, the entire brisk trail walk should be in complete meditation. Focusing only on my breath, the wind through the trees and other sounds of nature and worst-case scenario counting every time thoughts came into my mind. My mind was busy. I’d breath and refocus on my breath and off went the thoughts again. I watched them go by and released them and refocused again, and again, and again, and again. And, then I got mad at myself for failing at the 3.6-mile brisk walking meditation I’d demanded of myself at only .6 miles in.
I was sad and concerned that I couldn’t have my dog with me because he’s injured one of his back legs and I’m not sure he’ll ever be the same or able to walk the trail with me again. It hurts me and I’m sad for him because he loves the trail. We both do. My mind was quite busy with this one.
I had to forgive myself for opening the front door when he was recovering from an illness and atrophied. He jumped off the front stoop in doggy excitement and landed poorly on his back leg. Right then, in just that moment with his deep Rottweiler cry, I knew he’d likely never be the same. It killed me and I beat myself up… I opened that fucking door to move along a fucking situation I hate having multiple days on a weekly basis. My selfishness caused my poor dog’s injury. It’s a big deal. It represents a lot which over the course of the blog I’m sure I’ll share once I release the imaginary and powerful fear of “it”.
I have lots of thoughts that overcrowd my mind like most people. But, what I noticed most on this day I chose to commit to myself and be kind was that in my chosen self-love task I wasn’t being very kind or loving to myself. It’s more than checking a box or crossing “one act of self-love” off my list for the day. I wasn’t connected to the act of self-love which is the point of self-love. I wasn’t loving myself. I was doing a thing that looks like a good thing for me to do and then being a total bitch to myself every step of the way.
When we’ve naturally set ourselves aside for most of our lives, it’s hard to integrate the love we have buried within that we know on a sacred level is extremely necessary for happiness and survival. It’s in fact, the most important thing we can do when we’ve set ourselves aside so long. The thing is, I didn’t even know I was doing this set-myself-aside thing when I was setting myself aside. It takes first noticing ourselves again—”Oh, hello, fancy seeing you here.” Then, being honest with where we’re at, who’s surrounding us, and how we feel within the space we occupy with ourselves and others. Do we like ourselves where we’re at? Are we happy and comfortable? Joyful? Laughing? Healthy? Do we even like who and what we’ve surrounded ourselves with? And, more.
But, the rambly (not a word, but still gonna use it) point of this blog is to say… I’m initiating 360-degrees/days of self-love. I will document daily what I choose to do as nurturing, self-love and write about its discomforts and triumphs or maybe it will simply be a check off my list until it fully integrates as a natural, loving part of who I am to myself.
I chose 360 because it’s practically a year and who cares about the extra five days once you get to 360. It’s more about coming full circle, returning to an integrated, loving, thriving and nurturing self. It’s a full 360-degree change I’m expecting to see and feel within myself. Each degree or practice of self-love will have its space or day to be.
Documenting this process will hold me accountable to daily blog posts. Daily blog posts that are connected to what I plan to write about and have written, but are safe from fear and will behold integrity and grace. See, I’m still being hard on myself, but in a tough-love good way.
If anyone is reading this, join me on the challenge. Let’s grow and integrate self-love and kindness back to where it will be most beneficial. It’s the only way to truly shine and if we shine we help light the path for others in dark places.
In the end, full circle will be an enveloping hug of who we are at our core and any cracks or fractures in our foundation will be filled, mended and reinforced by ourselves.
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash.