Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~Carl Jung
In a world that has become focused on personal development, it’s all too easy to think we need to change. This intrinsic self-loathing formed the basis of my twenties. I found myself constantly compensating for who I was with apologies or clarifications; always feeling as if I owed someone an explanation if I made anything close to a self-loving decision that might not please them.
I would develop feelings of guilt for meeting my own needs. I would often offer too much of myself, in order to feel of value, and the devastation that would follow if I did not feel loved in return was almost unbearable.
What I really wanted at a primal level, and still struggle with, is to be loved and accepted. I continue to awaken every day to the knowing that learning to love myself is the foundation of lasting joy. But how does one go from being deeply insecure to loving themselves?
Create a Self-Love Ritual
I decided to explode the myths that I’d been telling myself. For the past decade, I have committed to learning to love myself. The teachings of spiritual luminary, Teal Swan, deeply resonate with me.
She offers self love rituals that one can practice to unlearn self-loathing thought patterns and create new empowering thoughts that help ground us in self-forgiveness, self- compassion, and self-love. One of these rituals is the love letter.
This process allows the flow of appreciation for yourself to flow from your heart. As we write a love letter to ourselves, we say anything loving that we’ve always wanted to say to ourselves or to hear someone say to us but have not. This is an opportunity to express deep understanding, compassion, and forgiveness to ourselves.
This is a powerful process and can be a transformative yearly ritual which can help us embrace a more intimate relationship with ourselves. Our brains are wired for empathy, so why not begin with ourselves? Here is an excerpt of a letter that I wrote myself.
This is the best letter I’ve ever received.
I know there are times where it felt as if I’ve completely abandoned you. I’ve always know exactly where you are in your process. I know we've had a rocky past, but I am your true north. I am your higher self. I have always loved you.
You are kind and sensitive. That sweet little girl inside of you will always have the purest heart. Take care of her. Remember her. When you make choices, when you put yourself down, remember how sensitive she is and remember that she is listening.
You don't give yourself enough credit for how strong you really are. You’ve endured trauma and have felt such fear. It is not some lucky circumstance that brought you to where you are. You saved yourself.
You've always had such strong faith. Even when faced with such frightening possibility in life. Your faith, like your strength, is from something greater.
Your capacity to love is great. So is everyone else's. At times, it seems as if people are cruel. They too, are afraid and want love. You let harshness deeply wound you. Be with yourself in those moments. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that pain. It’s ok to feel life at this level.
You will always be and have always been beautiful. Read that sentence again.
You are worthy of everything you've ever wanted. I'll never leave you. Within you is an endless reservoir of light. Let it shine. Hesitation is where you start to leave me. Your magic is oh, so glorious. You are significant to others, but more importantly, your path is divine.
You have gifts that benefit many…including yourself. They will grow from your existence. You have nothing to prove because you have deep purpose here. Allow people to see your multi-faceted being and trust in their compassion. If they don't offer you any, your precious heart will always offer it to yourself.
Always come back to your yoga.
Whenever you are blocked; whenever you are stuck creatively, emotionally or physically, movement has always offered you access. From the time you were a little girl, you've known this.
You have challenged your ever-loving vulnerability and it is beautiful. So many of your war wounds and battles are with yourself. The same is true for the breakthroughs. It is all inside of you for the choosing. Choose to love yourself and your wild heart. You have this choice in every moment.
Read this letter when you doubt me. When sadness creeps in, the self doubt… when worry envelops your beautiful mind…when the questions won’t cease…Remember me. I am you. Let me settle into your bones and as you slow down in surrender, know that you are deeply loved.
You are powerful, full of grace, and there is no one like you.
I love you. There’s nothing you could ever do that could make me stop loving you. I am in every warm breeze on your face that closes your eyes, and every night sky that begs for your gaze. You are part of that beauty. It’s where you are from.