I have struggled with self-love on a daily basis for a lot of my life. I use the word struggle here specifically because it seems to be a word that is “bad,” and associated with “blocks” and negative mindsets. Yet the inner conflict, the inner struggle, is quite real on an energetic, emotional level. For all of us.
I think we are allergic to talking about pain and inner struggle, relegating it somewhere behind closed doors, dirty little secrets or a thing we make bad or wrong. Like it is bad to be in pain; I am yet to meet a single person who is not in some kind of inner pain.
The only way out is to talk about it, metabolize it and work it through. With love.
We make pain wrong though. It’s not wrong, we just don’t like to be in pain. We fear if we go into it, we will drown in it forever,. But the ignoring of it actually keeps us oppressed by our own pain more than anyone or anything else.
Patriarchy doesn’t like pain because healing pain awakens awareness, empathy, love and compassion which is the opposite of that gnawing emptiness inside that we search to fill with something while trying to paint perfect pictures of ourselves for each other.
We are taught that pain is a “selling point.” If we are in pain we will continue to need to buy stuff.
We long for connection. We long to be loved. We long to be free of pain.
I struggle inside between my pain, my higher knowing, my conditioning and what my mind knows to be true. Each aspect with it’s own story, then there is the patriarchal messaging that streams down through personal development and something that seems like spiritual teachings with cleverly disguised shaming messages in order to keep buying more and learning more and getting more “tools” we cannot actually used when our primal brain is overwhelmed.
If life is doing its thing, it’s something that is wrong with you. You attracted it. You have blocks. You aren’t doing all the things “right.” You don’t love yourself enough.
About 10 years ago, I once had a teacher point out to me how much I hated myself and how it would destroy all my relationships. Turns out that is true, shame is toxic not only to ourselves it makes living a happy life hard. However, that was all I got, was that I hated myself. I walked around for a long time knowing that this shame was destroying me, but I still didn’t know what to do or how to get out of it other than that I “should” love myself.
I think that when we are quick to label things “low vibration” or “darkness” or “shadow” or “negative,” with an energetic finger pointing stick, we run the risk of shaming ourselves further, making a part of us, or others, that is in deep pain, wrong. This is the anti-thesis of healing, especially when it lacks empathy, curiosity or understanding. And, I might add a truly high vibration doesn’t cringe but in fact embraces the wholeness of all with exactly these things, empathy, curiosity and understanding.
The parts of us in pain are actually in pain because of a lack of love. Most of us then do not know how to love ourselves in the places we need it the most because they weren’t loved and we are conditioned to believe those spaces are “bad” and “scary.” So, its this strange, subtle way of shaming ourselves for not loving ourselves.
I’ve become a deep, deep student of what it means to have self-love, to relate to my inner world with self-love. There are ways I lack the confidence I’d like feel or project into the world, but there are ways I can utterly and truly sit through the fire of my own pain and send in more love, not less.
This is one of the mysteries I sit with in sessions with my beloved clients. We see how the fear of the inner unknown becomes a lack of tools or knowing what to do, how to be with or how to love in the deep subterranean levels of the heart. One of the ways my work transforms is bringing empathy, love, curiosity and understanding and teaching these tools, teaching how to bring love to seemingly unlovable places that the mind makes into blocks or problems or darkness or badness.
The light likes to heal wounds. The light likes to bring love to the pain. The light isn’t averse to the pain. There are many shades of light, like there are many shades of the heart. When we start to heal, we will start to heal the culture we live in because we won’t by into the shame or patriarchy wearing masks of personal growth or spirituality. We can become a cosmic trickster of love, wearing the true mask of our ever present, ever loving soul.
Let us no longer be shamed for our humanity, our struggles or inner challenges. Let us accept and embrace ourselves, the totality of who we are, no matter how hard it is, no matter what life is living through us. Let us lovingly evolve from that place where love grows us through seeds of compassion and understanding.
You cannot truly embody love by shaming yourself into shape.
Dr. Nandi Hetenyi