You are not alone in this thinking. Most of us have a long list of things we’d like to fix or improve or enhance or completely change about ourselves. We all feel broken in places. Or ‘less than’ we think we should be. It’s one of the challenges of being human, and it can take a Herculean effort to reach a point of total self-acceptance and self-love … unless of course we approach it from a different angle—such as this:
You don’t have to earn love any more than you have to earn the right to breathe. You have a right to breathe … because you exist. You have a right to be loved … because you exist. That is all you need to know. (Louise Hay in Heart thoughts: a treasury of inner wisdom)
I like this. It makes me feel like we can cut through all the baggage, all the past issues and disappointments with ourselves and others, all the judgements, all the fears, and just get to the simplest, purest point: if we breathe, we deserve love.
It’s as profound and beautiful as it is simple.
It’s like we can round up our perceived flaws and failings and cast them aside in one fell swoop, getting to the essence of the matter with one simple idea: I have a right to be loved … because I exist. We might even imagine putting that ‘chunk’ of ourselves that we don’t like into a pink cloud or a golden suitcase and watching it float away as we breathe.
Sound crazy? Would it at least be worth a try?
That’s not to dismiss or belittle or minimise our hurts. Many of us carry very real wounds that often need working through. But if we’re at a place where we’re comfortable with putting aside those parts of ourselves that we reject or wish were better, then ‘chunking’ them up and going straight to the core of our existence, where love is, might just have a calming effect.
Breathe into it for a while and see, then let me know what you found.
The phenomenal Dr Brené Brown, a research professor and thought leader on vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame, has a book called The gifts of imperfection: let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are, which is a must-read if you’re struggling with the notion of self-love and feeling worthy. (She’s got other brilliant ones I’ll dive into too.)
In The gifts of imperfection, Dr Brown walks us through 10 guideposts to living a wholehearted life (where ‘wholehearted life’ is defined as living and loving with your whole heart). Guideposts such as:
- letting go of what people think
- letting go of perfectionism
- letting go of the need for certainty
- letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
- letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
- letting go of self-doubt and ‘supposed to’.
Dr Brown shows us how to “cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough’, and to go to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging’.”
And, oh my goodness, this: “… we cannot give our children what we don’t have. Where we are on our journey of living and loving with our whole hearts is a much stronger indicator of parenting success than anything we can learn from how-to books.”
This book is like a balm. Perhaps you will find comfort and courage in its pages too?