I often journal after a meditation. It is something I've been practicing since teacher training. My meditation practice is quite visual with colors, pictures, people, scenery, teachers, and my son often comes into my visions.
I've grown wings out of my back, I've flown, built houses, and walked on water.
Sometimes these visuals feel as though I dropped acid or trip on some unknown drug, or lucid-dreaming. They're powerful and stimulating, physically and mentally. They show me parts of myself and this journey that may not come into focus unless I take a seat. One of the most profound set of words that came through during a mediation nearly a year and a half ago was this:
"People will fear you because you awaken them to love. It won't be easy, but it will be necessary. Awaken others to love as you love yourself."
I often return to this page in my journal simply because it was written at a time I was navigating the importance of loving myself. When I learned that love is the inclusion of every emotion, something inside of me unlocked and opened. I found a belief to actually LOVE every bit of myself, especially the parts I avoided, neglected, and numbed. For example, parts of my body, emotions, traumas, experiences, and old thoughts tethered to the "should" of life. A shift takes place when you begin to understand and differentiate emotions. We are often taught that anger is bad. Or warned to not be sad for too long. It's no surprise, we walk around tucking parts of ourselves and hold ourselves out of reservation for others. The belief that anger is bad is so far removed from the benefit of anger. Anger moves us. Pain moves us. We do a disservice to ourselves when we hold ourselves in and pretend or numb. It's bound to come out, it's necessary.
That's why it's important to move the body. To move us through life, the good, the bad, emotional, and everything between. One of the reasons I wanted to teach yoga is because it changed my life. Through the teachings and self-commitment, it continues to heal me daily. Through meditation and its reminder to "awaken others to love as you love yourself." It's a devout purpose. Loving yourself comes with beautiful responsibility, to help others do the same. You cannot teach people to believe in themselves or love themselves if you do hold the same belief and love for yourself.
Self-love is not self-loathing. The esteem you have for yourself is connected to every relationship and experience in your life. Society does not teach you to love yourself. Why would it? It's a trillion dollar industry to keep you from loving yourself. Billboard plasters of doctored images. Gradient scales of class based on occupations and earnings. The "accepted" bullshit norms to keep you small and feeling less-than. You are not here to kiss a system that creates hierarchy for profit or bow to commands of another.
Loving ourselves is the greatest act of all. Start with a daily commitment. Create. Write. Learn. Move your body. Listen to your intuition, your gut feeling on anything and everything. Quiet the noise and busyness of outside sources. Learn what feels good and lifts you versus what does not and drains you. Know when to walk away and send others love from a distance. Set boundaries and stay true to yourself, above all. As you continue to live from this intimacy, you will surround yourself with others in their own, lifting each other, and changing the world. This is the greatest act of all.