My response to: “Do you love yourself?”

At a networking meeting I once had an acquaintance ask me if I love myself. This was, I thought, a provocative question. I feared if I shared that I don’t actually love all of me, I would come across as not “enlightened” enough for this person’s approval or standards.

Love is so:   perfectly imperfect. 
So here I was with this established professional woman, in front of me–staring directly at me–none the less, waiting to hear if I loved myself. My adrenaline was talking to me:
“It’s a set up”, it said.
(I truly don’t think she meant to set me up.) 
I didn’t want to lie and at the same time, this was a networking meeting. I was concerned about my professionally identity. The truth was that I didn’t feel enamored by all of my body parts.
This experience was an opening to understanding more about how I can and do love myself. Upon hearing the question, I interpreted the term, “love”, as though it means “to like deeply”. In fact, it doesn’t–not to me anymore, anyway!

I have come to realize that as I grow and change and live and stumble and get stuck and thrive– my loving relationship with myself will ask me to pay attention—keen attention– to all of me. To see myself. To accept myself. Bringing my breath to who I truly am in any given moment—including: my warmth; my fear; my trust; my debt; my eyes; my cellulite; my power; my compassion; my direction; my anger; my frustration; my muscle; my breasts; my toe hair; my heart, etc..  To what extent, can I bring myself to any of these parts of me? Even the parts that I don’t like so much. To what extent can I love the judgmental part of me that doesn’t want my scar tissue?I believe being able to hold, breathe into and engage with rather than fight myself, is the act of loving me.

This ability to learn to see myself and be myself is freeing. It is what helps me feel all of my feelings.

This is  loving myself. 
Now, I can see my body and hear myself and realize my Self. This is my life. No more performing. I am who I am. I will humbly learn and live and be and do my best and in this way love my edges.
It is with this spirit that I understand and learn about loving relationally. I will love my partner as he is. I will love my children as I experience them. I will see the expectations I have about them sneak up and then I will hug them and realize they are not everything, just expectations and then love them too.
When my clients arrive, I listen and learn to care for them in this way. I support them learning to love themselves and one another with this spirit.
It is freeing. It is full. It is real. And, it is intimate.

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