My Vow

Don’t wait to love yourself until you change
Love and accept yourself as you are and witness the changes that unfold

I have big challenges when it comes to finding the compassion to love myself.

I frequently replay past mistakes, harmful words that escaped my lips, actions I’m not proud of, or actions I should have taken instead.

I remind myself of hurtful things said to me from others-
“You’re crazy” “You aren’t that good looking” “you can’t handle anything” “I can’t rely on you”

I know myself better than anyone else, yet I crumble at the words of someone who hasn’t even lived one second in my life. I have accepted their words as truths. I have replayed them to myself and have listened to them. None of these things are a reflection of who I am. They are only reflections of their own wounds.

I share my self-love journey because I believe the places where I have the biggest challenges in my life are the places I have the most to give, IF I do the work.

This is a picture of a ring I bought myself on my 40th Birthday. At one of my favorite shops in a city that resonates love within my soul. If happiness has a geographical location, Grand Marais is that place for me.

On that day I chose to marry myself

I wear this token on my sacred left hand ring finger, it’s a reminder of my vows.

I commit to myself. Body, mind, and spirit. I commit to my path.

I commit to loving myself right where I am. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. I know that loving myself, in spite of myself no matter what mistakes I make or what others say about me, is a key part of my journey and the only way to get to where I need to go.

I commit to loving myself in sickness and in health. Emotionally and physically. I choose to comfort myself. To take care of myself. When I am in the depths of despair I promise to bring myself back. I can count on me.

I promise to have and to hold myself. I love myself the way I want someone to love me. When I am feeling lonely or craving attention, I ask myself what I do. Somedays this involves taking myself on a walk, reading something that inspires me, journaling about my feelings, writing a blog post, listening to uplifting music, or watching a funny movie. I have learned to soothe myself. To give myself the love and attention I crave from another.

On my journey I’ve discovered that while life doesn’t always give me what I ask for, it gives me the people, places, and situations I need to create and develop into what I asked for. With this evolution comes magnificent transformation. I know that I can be everything I desire and need.

I would not be where I am right now, if I had always gotten what I asked for, right when I asked for it. When In the midst of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty I prayed for mountains to move and problems to disappear. They didn’t. But I learned to pause, listen, and wait. Listening to what Life is teaching me.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

I have persevered in spite of difficulties, choosing to love and forgive myself and others a little more with each error, learning there are no mistakes, only lessons that needed to be learned. For myself and others, even those who have hurt me deeply.

I have learned the obstacle is the way. I create the path, choose to climb the mountain or move it. Not hastily or without reflection and inner guidance. I do so calmly, bravely, even in the midst of the uncertainty; I listen to the voice inside me. I used to listen and wait for things to change. Now I know I am the one who creates the change. Faith without works is dead. I must be willing to do the work.

I know everything I need is always right with me. It resides in me and gives me the courage to continue.

When self-love isn’t enough

Experiencing another’s deep love for us in a healthy relationship can teach us how to love ourselves more beautifully

Self-Love is a term I think we are all hearing more and more, almost to the point I question it’s integrity.

Do you really need to love yourself wholly and completely to be satisfied within a relationship?

I don’t believe this is always true.

It’s more difficult to build a healthy relationship with yourself when you haven’t experienced it with another.

Experiencing another’s deep love for us in a healthy relationship can teach us how to love ourselves more beautifully. Many people learn to love themselves by first being loved by another. If you grew up in a house that displayed healthy love and support, you are more likely to mimic this in adulthood. Ideally, we would be healthy, whole, and complete before we started the relationship journey with another. For many of us this isn’t the case.

We naturally mimic what we see. Being loved deeply by someone changes you

It is unlikely at this point in your life that you have made it without being wounded. Somedays, I honestly see it lurking around every corner. But I can also see where the world is teaching me to love more beautifully. Whichever one I focus on grows.

The proper love, affection, and attention from another may be the key to believing you are loveable. When someone loves you completely and vulnerably, you feel cherished and in turn you learn to love yourself more. If you are both on a journey of self-love and healing, willing to grow, share, and change; it can be the beginning of an exciting and beautiful adventure together.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu

We must be willing to share our needs, wants, desires, dreams, to create healthy alignment within the relationship. This requires vulnerability and courage. It requires us to have uncomfortable conversations. When appropriate, it may require us to look past our own needs and put the needs of another first; at other times we must voice and enforce to have our own needs met. While our needs and another’s are separate, they can work synergistically. Growth and healing becoming more powerful as a unit than individually.

Part of learning how to love yourself is being loved by another as you need to be loved. Some of us can achieve this by envisioning this love coming from our creator, a perfect and complete love. For me this is also a key aspect to loving myself and those around me. But its a piece of the puzzle, not the said and done solution. I believe it to be a dance, between creation, myself, and another.

How do we manage when our partner doesn’t cooperate with our needs and wants? When their actions speak louder than words?

Growth and healing are not one sided. While expressing your feelings and needs, if your partner says; “You need more retreats to find your self-love” this is not effective communication and balanced responsibility. If you feel your needs are not being taken with seriousness and compassion you may need to self reflect to decide what steps to take next.

Evaluate your relationship. No one is perfect. It’s not a rate your partner on a scale of 1 to 10 question. It is an evaluation of: how is your relationship? What would you rate your relationship together as a couple. All relationships are a choice. It’s easier in the beginning when you are intoxicated with oxytocin, dopamine, and passion; obviously not thinking clearly. Once this euphoria wears off we can find reasons to run away from even the best relationships, when we focus on things that our partner falls short on. If your relationship as a whole scores poorly, it may be time to part ways peacefully. Relationships are our greatest teachers, and sometimes they reveal what we do not need. This is equally as powerful as discovering what we do need.

Evaluate your needs. Ask yourself: What do I need for my partner to give? What do I need from myself? There is a unique balance of what you need to give to yourself and what your partner can give to you. While we can’t expect our partners to fulfill our every need, we should be able to trust in them for our core desires. It is ok to crave loving attention and connection, these are beautiful key aspects of being involved in an intimate relationship.

Communicate your needs. Describe what you are feeling and see from your point of view. Use I statements such as “I am feeling….” avoid making any statements of “you make me feel…) this stunt effective communication and puts our partners into defense mode.

Set boundaries with each other. When you communicate openly, you each know what it expected of the other. When boundaries are crossed or needs are repeatedly not met, open communication is important to help alleviate frustration and keep you moving forward with healthy patterns. Have the courage and vulnerability to speak up before you start to replay scenarios in your mind and the offenses begin to multiply. Let your partner know what you expect and desire, explain how this creates feelings of love and appreciation. Ask them what actions you can do to reciprocate these same feelings for them.

Know your partners love language. If you have not read, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman; I suggest you take this quiz to help you determine you and your partners love languages. Knowing how to show your partner you love them is a lot less of a guessing game when you can speak their love language and communicate love in a way they can hear it.

When we communicate lovingly and speak truth with compassion, we often discover that we are far better together. Our relationship with another can be a journey of deep intimate connection, ocean of healing, and limitless spiritual growth.

Live righteously and love abundantly,

Elizabeth