How Do I Love Myself?


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{Photo: http://bleubirdvintage.typepad.com}


Self-love. The key that unlocks every door. The elixir of life. The philosopher’s stone. The fairy godmother that transforms a self-critical Cinderella into a confident Enchantress of magic and miracles.

Self-love. Okay. Got it.

But, how do I love myself?

I’m currently revisiting this question after an intense experience at a 10-hour meditation workshop. There I was in my wispy, white outfit, hair tied up in a scarf, expecting to be thrust into Bliss.

Not a chance. Fifteen minutes after the event, and my hands had already started shaking, my eyes welling with tears.

They warned us. They told us old pain would resurface. Subconscious blocks would be broken. This was not for the faint of heart.

I listened. I smiled. To be honest, I let it go in one ear and out the other. I didn’t think anything would happen. But something happened. More than something happened. And now I find myself sitting across from this question. Yet again.

How do I love myself?

I tend to forget that self-love is a daily commitment. And I want the kind of love that lasts. I want the love I can trust, that makes me feel safe, that makes me want to grow.

I want the kind of love that moves me — that inspires me to let my hair down, throw my hands up to the stars and scream. In the dead of night. At the dawn of day. Just because.

I want the love that fans my flames, ignites the spark within me. That stirs, but also soothes. The kind that fills me way past the brim.

I know it’s in me. I know it is me. But, where do I begin?

My ears stretch deep into my mind, or maybe my heart, waiting for whispers from the wise sage of my soul…

Self-acceptance is the beginning of true Love. Close your eyes and feel the sensation in your hands, in your feet. Allow yourself to laugh as the loose hairs framing your face tickle your cheeks and get caught in your eyelashes.

Sit with this beautiful mess and know that who you are right now is whole. She is complete in her incompleteness. Start with acceptance. And without your even noticing, it will be Love.

The skies open up. The fairies sing. As a ray of light engulfs me, I realize that I have a direction. One. Simple. Step.

Acceptance has suddenly become that first attempt at hand-holding. The awkwardly adorable kiss in middle school, bumping noses and chins. The eye contact with an alluring stranger. I look away, blush and smile with no teeth.

It’s a stepping stone — the beginning of an exhilarating, adventurous love affair. The only necessary requirement is to accept. That radical form of acceptance. The kind without judgment, without projecting, without criticism, without complaints, without any ifs, ands, and buts.

It means, if only for a moment, to look in the mirror at the mess of a human staring back and tell her the truth. There is beauty in her uncertainty. There is grace in her mistakes. She doesn’t need to be her potential. She doesn’t need to be anyone but who she is right now.

I bite my bottom lip and clasp my right hand with my left.

Can I accept where I am in my process? Can I accept the me I am today?

I nod. Here’s to the first step.






Giuliana Cortese

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