Self-love is not something that comes naturally to adults or something we actually think about trying to achieve. Many of us, it seems, search for happiness and fulfillment, and we think this will give us the feeling of peace we so long desire. But we quickly learn that happiness and even being fulfilled are constantly moving targets.
I wanted to know what it felt like to fall in love with myself. “Falling” was an important part of my process, because falling in love is an essential first part of loving someone for a long, long time and loving them unconditionally.
When we fall in love in romantic relationships, everything is heightened, and we are diligent in our devotion to our beloved. We are excited about the possibilities of what might be, and we allow ourselves to be present to what is. In our fascination with this person we don’t see any of their flaws. I wanted to feel all of this about myself, but I knew that—just like real romance—the falling is fleeting, and at some point we must roll up our sleeves and get down to the hard work of making love last.
This full circle of self-love—falling in love with yourself and then discovering how to make that love last—is essential. And it’s a process that is so very rewarding because suddenly we find that we have discovered a more gentle, kinder way to live in the world. One where we are no longer at war with ourselves but simply celebrating ourselves in a loving light. Imagine what it would feel like to live your life at ease, never feeling the pressure to change or fix yourself. No more pressure to be different so you fit in or feel accepted, because you know you are enough. I believe that this way of living is entirely possible.
How do we love ourselves? How? What does this mean? Simply put, we will try. We will be willing. We will open ourselves up a little more to the possibilities of self-love. The Self-Love Experiment involves agreeing in your heart and in your actions to the following new ways of being in the world:
I made a declaration to myself, I will simply show up.
I will speak kindly to myself, no more criticism.
I will stop judging myself, no more comparing.
I will stop feeling guilty for just doing things I really want to do.
I will stop blaming myself and feeling like it’s always my fault.
I will start to care for myself in ways that cherish and appreciate my being.
I will show up for myself.
I will trust myself.
I will no longer avoid my feelings.
I will express myself and say what I need to say.
I will let go of the habits, fears, and beliefs blocking me from feeling content with myself.
Boiled down and at its essence the Self-Love Experiment begins when you commit to learning how to exist in this world alongside the inner critic that has raged war on you for possibly even decades of your life.
It means learning to love the unlovable parts of yourself. When I committed to doing my own self-love experiment I told myself that I would allow myself to be who I am, instead of who I think I am supposed to be or who the world says I should be.
How do you love yourself? What we are really asking is, how can you love something you think is unlovable?
You try. We just have to simply show up, roll up our sleeves, and try. In this way, one day at a time, the Self-Love Experiment will unfold. And it will be the most beautiful journey you will ever embark on.