archives, wisdom

The Dark Secret About Self-Love No One Ever Told Me.


Pretty much every self-help book I’ve ever read points to or directly states, “You can never fully love anyone else until you fully love yourself.”

That sounds good, but what does it actually mean?

When I was 20 years old, I asked the Universe, “What’s my purpose?”

“To love” came back instantly. “There has to be something more important than that? That’s too simple,” I thought.

But these past decades have proven that loving is the most powerful practice and force of change that could ever be. Granted, I’ve directed my love outward for the majority of that time. Focusing on reminding people who they are beyond the mind’s chatter.

Letting myself dive into relationships and situations with such abandon that I forgot about my own needs and desires because I wanted to be loved so badly.

I bypassed myself.

I hid when I felt unpresentable, and waited for the next inspiration to come for me.

And then there was nothing pulling my attention. No new person or situation that I felt compelled to lose myself in. That’s where the true work of love began. In that dark and still place.

What I’ve learned is that self-love means meeting that darkness and mess with kindness instead of ridicule and comparing. It means letting that love be in charge, to feel what surrender means when it’s uncomfortable.

It means being seen when I don’t want to be.

And allowing myself to be seen when I do.

It’s loving the chafing on a hot sweaty day between my thighs.

It’s forgiving myself for all the suffering I’ve caused.

Self-love is softening to the things I don’t like about myself and bringing compassion.

It means being willing to be where I am, as I am.

This is my longest-term relationship. The one I can’t break up with or run from with any success. It’s the roommate who never leaves.

All the distractions are just postponing the inevitable meeting that love has in store for me. Love is the great healer that brings to the surface everything that is unlike itself.

As my attention and care for myself increases, all the dark crevices reveal themselves.

All the neediness and gripping.

All the ways I’ve been looking to be saved.

All the identities that I have worn to look good and be enough — they all want my attention and love.

I thought it would be romantic like the whoosh and electricity of a new lover, and all of a sudden I would be in love with myself. But this a long courtship with, at times, a non-responsive partner.

So, I remind myself with small actions and disruptive thoughts like “I love myself.”

My commitment keeps deepening, even if sometimes I want to run and look for another self to love. But the darkness is where the real power of my life lives.

My deepest work with my clients is in the dark, blind spots where even a tiny nudge of intuition will connect the conscious and the unconscious for immediate resolution and return of the power hidden there.

My own deepest and most powerful work with myself is the reminder, “I will not leave you. No matter what you do or don’t do, I’m right here.”


Valerie Kausen is a Business + Embodiment Mentor. She is highly intuitive, pragmatic, playful, and brings compassion to places that have been forgotten. Valerie can feel your gifts and talents (even you haven’t yet) and build structures to bring them forth in the world. She has 20+ years of experience working one-on-one, facilitating retreats, workshops and online programs. Valerie is re-wilding people. You could check out her website here.


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In his spare time, which is sparing at best, Jeet loves engaging his geeky side to the fullest extent -- and obsessively engages in solving puzzles of any and every kind, primarily crosswords and sudoku. A lifelong and certifiable black sheep (irrespective of skin color, since that would have qualified him as a 'brown sheep'), Jeet feels uncomfortable with certainty and strives for a meditation-driven comfort in uncertainty. He tries to spread positive awareness through Facebook, random acts of kindness, and recruiting of fellow dreamers -- a la John Lennon -- and Rebelles to be his kindred souls in this short journey called Life.