I’m sitting here at my computer with my second cup of coffee. It’s not great coffee, so I am a little disappointed, but I am pleased to be watching my young son play joyfully on the floor with his train set. He makes voices for the trains and they talk and laugh together as they roll along the tracks.
I just made some big decisions. Scary decisions. Like so out-of-my-comfort-zone-I’m-gonna-crap-my-pants decisions. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but regardless, I have that gnawing anxiety troll in the pit of my stomach. You know the one – Ego. Oh, he is stewing in there and he drains the energy out of my body making me tired, listless and slow.
Ego loves to cause trouble. He loves to take an exciting, new, wonderful opportunity for growth and tell us “you shouldn’t do that.” Sometimes he takes on voices of people you’ve met before. You start to envision the face of someone who didn’t believe in you telling you it’s too risky or you’ll look like a fool when you fail or who do you think you are? He knows exactly what buttons to push. He’ll bring up old memories and traumas, feelings of inadequacy and loss. He’s a sneaky trickster.
The point is, ego will do anything to keep you to stay all nice and cozy in your comfort zone. Ego warps your sense of nervousness, excitement and adventure into feelings of dread, anxiety, and crippling fear. But ego can only do this when we become disconnected to who we really are.
When we connect to our authentic selves, we are not under our ego’s influence. When we shed judgment, unwanted expectations and false beliefs about ourselves, we cultivate genuine self-love. In essence, we are free. We know that there is no risk, because whatever happens we will always have our inner-selves. We will always have love. When we become disconnected and act out of fear, we know we can come right back to love – right back to connection.
It takes practice, but as you meditate, as you give yourself unconditional love, as you stop yourself when you realize a judgment pop into your head, you will return to your connection. The more you practice, the faster and easier it gets.
Children are most connected to their to their inner guides. They have unconditional love for themselves. When my son’s train tracks don’t fit together, he erupts in a fit of rage, throwing the track across the room. When he is mad at me he may hit me, and then five seconds later he is smiling, hugging, kissing, laughing. He doesn’t judge himself for what he just did, he only wants to love. That’s really all there is to it: coming back to love quicker than you become disconnected from it.
Doing scary things isn’t really scary because of what might happen. It’s scary because we’re afraid of how we will feel. We don’t want to feel bad. We can’t always prevent those feelings, but we can have confidence in ourselves that will come back to place of love and not allow feelings of guilt, anger, hate or jealously to move in and unpack. Those feelings don’t serve us or anyone else. Love is what allows us to serve others, show up, be kind, create something new, set boundaries, and grow into the best version of ourselves.
I encourage you start a daily practice of self-love. Accept yourself as you are. Make a list every day of what you love about yourself. Never again think of something unwanted from the past (practice). Know that you are worthy just for being born. Know that you don’t need the love of anyone else in order to love yourself. This is what sets you free.
Is loving yourself difficult for you, or do you already have a practice in place to cultivate self love every day?