Yesterday we talked about how difficult it can be for us to love ourselves in the light of all external judgements, the judgements we impose on ourselves and how we tend to magnify our mistakes.
We also mentioned some different ways through you can start learning to love yourself, seeing the beauty that is you and how you can forgive yourself and give yourself the gift of peace.
One of the most difficult barriers to self-love is that we might be unable to find in ourselves anything that we perceive as good or worthy. We look inside and we only see pain and darkness, and 10 times out of ten we blame ourselves for all the negative stuff in our lives.
Again, remember that there is always something to be done about said mistakes: if it’s possible you can try to remedy them, if they cannot be changed you might extract som lessons to learn from them and continue growing. If you had known any better, you would have done differently, but you didn’t, because you needed to take those steps in order to learn, in order to become stronger and more courageous.
Our capacity for self-love will also be affected by the people around us, by the way they treat us, talk to us. I firmly believe that our external circumstances are a reflection of what we have manifested with our feelings and thoughts. But I also believe that, in another level, we are a reflection of the same circumstances that surround us. If you were really loved and appreciated in your childhood, thal love and appreciation will shine in your life because you feel this is what’s normal. But if your family, or the people closest to you treated you with indifference, or as if you were a piece of dirt, it will be very difficult for you to start believing that there is something better for you, that you deserve something special, to be loved, to be cherished.
But even if you feel all these negative emotions and you absorb them and take them as if they were the truth about yourself, I want to tell you that they are not the truth. They are only beliefs that others planted in you, without your noticing. You can choose to plant other beliefs, though.
However, you might wonder how you could possibly go about that when there is so much wrong with you. The more you look in the mirror the more negative things you find, and it seems to have no end. How are you supposed to find anything good about yourself? When nobody, not even the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally, can do it?
This is where I think you need a different kind of looking glass, not the one in your bathroom. You need to see yourself in the eyes of an animal, a dog, a cat. More than the love of a person, the love of an animal can save you.
Sometimes it feels like your pet is the only living being that is waiting for you at night. The only one who expresses joy at seeing you, who wants to be touched by you, who wants to spend time with you.
It doesn’t matter if you look ghastly in the morning, they are there for you, they only need some food and water, and your love. It doesn’t matter to them that you lost your job, or that you made a terrible decision and every human in the world judges you harshly, your pet only has for you the eyes of love.
Have you ever been crying, for any reason, and your dog placed its head on your lap? Many years ago, a man I was deeply in love with, texted me one morning to tell me he was travelling abroad with his “real” girlfriend and thanked me for everything. I cannot even begin to explain how that text message broke me, I was just sitting on my bed, sobbing non-stop, when suddenly I felt a little tap on my back. I turned round and I saw my cat, sitting there. She had put her little pat on my back.
I have always believed that she did that to remind me that she was there with me. But that little action woke me up from that painful trance and reminded me that there were other things out there, other than my pain. And her presence, and that of my other two cats, has always worked for me as an anchor to life, and to reality.
These animals that are so vulnerable have agreed to spend their life with me, they trust me when they’re ill, they enjoy my presence in their world. And in turn, the love I feel for them is one of the purest loves I have experienced.
With your pets you can learn to love unconditionally, without expecting anything. I believe they give you back what they receive from you. They take your pain, and your suffering and they transform it into love.
You have had times, I’m sure, when you come back from work and are so angry, or frustrated, or you said or did something so seemingly terrible throughout the day, that you cannot forgive yourself. You might feel alone, ashamed, scared. But there you have it, a living being, waiting for you. And you find that although your day might have been shit, you still have a loving word, a soft touch, a feeling of loving expansion for your animal.
And when this happens, stop for a moment and look at yourself. You are not the piece of dirt you might have been led to believe you were. Because you are capable of unconditional, neverending love. You are able to look after a helpless living being that needs your attention and care. Your animal loves you back, because you love it, too.
And if you really, really cannot find one thing to love about yourself, know that this capacity for love that you possess is such a beautiful gift, that only needs to be strengthened and practised, and it will extend to yourself and other people that you decide to love.
Love and blessings!!