What has been coming to me lately has been this notion of unconditional self-love. For a long time, I hung myself up on the question, what does self-love look like and how does it act? But over time, the question became too limited and it appeared that there was no answer to what was posed. The question itself was misguided and limiting.
I began to feel a strong sense of the truth that: self-love doesn’t look like anything, and it doesn’t act.
Self-love is simply love turned in on itself. If I love someone, that love is not only in existence when validated, justified, or proved through any action. Of course, it is entirely possible and incredibly beautiful to bring love into the material world through touch, affection, gifts, acts of service, love-making, music, words, and art; through creation. But even when we act upon it, whatever way we have expressed our love does not become the very force of love itself — it becomes an extension of it.
Love turned in on itself becomes, instead of any preconceived notions of form, an unconditional acceptance and compassion towards what is present in this exact moment. It is an embrace of whatever we are feeling — an inner nurturing, a wholehearted witnessing. During moments of embodied self-love, we are completely and truly accepting of whatever state the mind, body, and heart are in. We surrender to it.
To get to the core of this self-love, we need to move away from the mind and into the heart. We can watch the mind and hear its stories and then gently allow them to pass — what remains? Deep feelings and sensations may still rest in the body and the heart — or perhaps we will become reacquainted with inner silence and solitude. But whatever comes up — that is what asks for our compassion, our patience, and our presence.
Through deep self-love, we become our own inner mother, our own divine healer and teacher, and our own guide. Nothing is required on the outside; and yet still, it is okay to materialize our love in the outer world. Once we have sat compassionately and patiently with what wrestles within us, we can then move through the material world with a higher sense of purpose, grace, and empowerment. Self-love extends itself outwards then, through the way in which we authentically nurture the heart, body, mind, and soul.
Find a quiet place today where you can rest undisturbed for five minutes. Turn off the lights and any of your devices’ capacity for spontaneous sound-making. Set a timer on your phone for five minutes (or for longer if it suits you). Sit or lie down comfortably and begin to scan the body with your awareness, pausing at any points of tension or discomfort. Whatever you notice, simply be with it. Practice just being there — not trying to change, justify, or self-explain what feelings or sensations are present. Do the same when thoughts arise — simply notice them. Allow them to be there. Allow them to flow while maintaining awareness that you are not these thoughts. They are true to your experience, but they are not you. Nurture these feelings. Nurture these sensations that arise in the body. If the mind wanders, root it back into compassionate awareness for what is present. As needed, you may use another anchor: all of me is welcomed, all of me is loved. Continue to observe the present moment as it exists through your direct experience with what is happening right now. Return to the words: all of me is welcomed, all of me is loved.