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How Do You Love Yourself, Woman?

It’s a day to love myself a little bit – a day to say ‘I love you’ to myself a hundred times.

“When you love yourself, you glow from the inside. You attract people who love, respect and appreciate your energy. Everything starts with how you feel about yourself. Start feeling worthy, valuable and deserving of receiving the best life has to offer. Be magnetic.” – Vybe Source

This quote popped up on WhatsApp and I promptly shared it with a friend who is going through a tough patch, struck in the face with a midlife divorce she didn’t want and struggling with low self-esteem and sense of worthlessness.

Thank you, she responded with a heart emoji, adding after a pause, “How do I practise this though? Or the means to achieve this?”

Her heartbreakingly innocent question made me check in on myself. Have I been practising it right? How is my self-love doing?

I checked if I have been saying Yes enough. It’s amazing how this simple little word can be so liberating and energizing: yes to trying new adventures, physically and mentally; yes to travelling alone;  yes to observing my thoughts with compassion; yes to enjoying my own company; yes to listening with my heart when someone wants to lighten their own; yes to loving others with ferocity and lightness of being; yes to allowing disagreements without rejecting the other person; yes to self-care and me-time; yes to talking to myself often; yes to choosing my life; yes to allowing myself to drown – in books, in music, in dance, in meditation, in the giddy-headed intoxication of the company of good friends, and in the divine radiance of God.

I also checked if I’ve been saying No enough. It’s breathtaking how difficult this can be if you’re brought up in a society where girls are trained to suppress, serve and come second to everyone else: no to anyone or anything that triggers negativity in me; no to denial of my own personhood; no to following others’ rules even if I have to be selfish and possessive of my own happiness; no to people, actions and situations that disrespect the God within me and desecrate the temple that my body is; no to servitude and submissiveness; no to injustice; no to helplessness.

After checking in, I found that while I have been doing okay on some counts, I have been lacking in others. While I no longer feel guilty for placing my own desires and needs above those of others – because no amount of sacrifice is enough to make EVERYONE happy, and when you make yourself happy, you make others automatically happier too in the long run – there is still a part of me that seeks validation from my loved ones.

There is a part of me that has been bursting into tears with the slightest trigger – a dear friend telling me to move on from my emotionally messed up past, the husband uncharacteristically sharing qualities about me that he loves during an offbeat Valentine’s Day yoga session – and I confess, all has not been well in my mind. I have been seeking love outside of me instead of within.

How’s the self-love? Low, sir.

And so, my friend’s naïve question is a wakeup call for me too. It’s a day to love myself a little bit – a day to say ‘I love you’ to myself a hundred times; a day to forgive myself for not being able to do this or that yoga asana so well today; a day to whisper sweet nothings into my own ears about how wonderful, cherished, loved and loving I am; a day to pat myself on my back for making it this far despite all of life’s challenges; a day to celebrate this body and its treasures; a day to love all those around me with all the radiance and light that shines in me.

Love, and be love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, woman.

Photo credit: Namrata Durgan

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