People are always saying 'self-love' is the answer to everything. And while that is true, it is not something we relate to, not easy enough to understand. We need a bridge to get there. I will attempt to concretize the abstract concept of self-love here.
The nature of our reality here on earth is duality. We experience things as separate from ourselves, and we desire union more than anything else. Union with people, money, our true selves, and union with our purpose in the world. how do we achieve that, or at least get on the path? Let's break down some of the dynamics of the human condition first, with an emphasis on how we hold expectations and obligations.
What do most people believe on a subconscious level? That we are not worthy, not lovable, not good enough, or not seen and appreciated. As children, we as the living did have our basic needs met, or we wouldn't be alive today. But our desires and yearnings, our emotional needs, our spiritual needs, perhaps not so much. Children are very pure energetically, but they are also extremely fragile and vulnerable. Anything perceived as scary can cause a crack in the energy field, and those experiences from early childhood set the template for the lessons we may work on for most, if not all of our lives, until we fully heal and integrate them. These wounds show up like vows we say to ourselves: 'nobody will love me,' 'I am not good enough to do that,' etc. It is important to understand that we often give away exactly what it is we desire from others, and in doing so we become very vulnerable. We work up our bravery to do this. We may seek to engage lovingly and emotionally with another person, and on a deep level. We may do something nice for them or reach out to them. The tricky part is that within these interactions, we usually have at least an unconscious expectation of return attached to it, even if it comes from a place of wanting to express joy and love. Unfortunately, the reaction to an expectation placed is often a sense of obligation. We may be expectant, or we may be much obliged. The person who is obliged may run, ignore, or feel resentful or drained. You can see there is an energetic dynamic here. The dynamic of both sides of this drama is that they both stem from the energy or belief in lack, either lack of self-worth, capability, resources, etc. The lack is the sense of a vacuum within us, the place where our sadness and despair dwell. You know the pit of darkness in the stomach if you have ever felt depressed...
So we hear in the self-help world that 'self-love' will solve our problems. OK, let's take a soak and eat a salad and get our nails done. Does it work? No, but those acts of self-care may lead us closer to the experience of self-love. Self-love is not just an affirmation or a mechanical action, it is a feeling and an embodiment in the heart. How can we reach that state of being?
Given that our world is one of separation and duality, and our brain's tendency to recognize patterns and contrast, I find that it is far easier to see something beautiful and worthy in another person, or as something outside of ourselves. Achieving union with the self must be undertaken first by seeing ourselves from an outside perspective, because this is how we observe things and come to know and understand them. Many cultures and pathways have a name for this higher perspective technique of seeing ourselves and the world. It is often represented as a great bird such as eagle or hawk, or it is called the observer, the watcher, or the witness consciousness.
Inner child healing work is a wonderful place to begin seeing the self, as it requires one to create an inner adult that can switch roles with the inner children. Depth psychologists often function as guides to help people through various role-playing scenarios with their inner parts, archetypes, dream characters, or children. People often choose to work with the feminine/masculine duality within themselves as well. I will share an example of how it works from an inner child/inner adult style healing session.
In this case, it is important to have taken the time to reflect on the adult you most desire for your inner children, and also to understand what specific needs were unmet in the children at various stages of development. I will post about inner child work specifically another time. For now, imagine that you can embody the feelings and sensations of your inner child, and you can switch roles with your inner adult, and you can dialogue or come to understanding between the two. My guidance would be to experience not only the needs and wants of the child, to understand where the sense of lack comes from, but to truly experience the energy of the child. It is the divine child. It is the pure energy of a divine being that has recently come into human form. One can feel the essence of the child that emanates wholeness, love, and pure potential. That child has come here to be realized, and seen, and appreciated! That child has so much beauty it brings me to tears to imagine the beauty of that child and it not being seen, felt, or engaged with. The child wants to play, express the joy of being, the joy of life. And this is the tragedy of the human condition, that we do not acknowledge these things in one another, because we do not acknowledge them in ourselves.
Now, if you can see your inner child from an outside perspective, then you can be the person who engages with and sees and acknowledges that child's essence and beauty. The sense of abandonment can only be curbed by taking this step. And it feels like striking gold! It is like finding something of great value that has been hidden from everyone. And if you can see this from your outside perspective, as something outside of yourself, then you can begin the work of merging with that and acknowledging the worthy self. Then you can begin to vibrate from a place of wholeness and love, and then, then you can engage with the world and give to the world without having expectations, without feeding into the energy dynamics and energy draining/sucking which come from lacking the sense of self-worth.
We all do it, it is the nature of our reality. It is also our birthright to experience the full range of human emotions, and to unite with ourselves, our essence, the love we have been created by. We are of course dependent on one another. We need to be seen and heard and loved. We inherently know this. But the shadow aspect of this is the dynamic of expectation and obligation. By working with self-love we can begin to dissolve this toxic way of relating, to be able to truly give and receive, and it is our responsibility alone to achieve this for ourselves. We cannot depend on another in this situation, and it takes choice, will, real-life time and action, commitment and dedication to get there.
Understand also that justice is something too great and powerful for us to control, that authoritarian structures stem from this desire for power and control, and that surrendering our expectations and attachments, in wanting to control the energy of justice (expecting punishments or reparations from others) will help us to work with the transformations of our inner wounds and shadows into inner strength and wholeness. This is the energy of grace, forgiveness, surrender, trust. It is the swan, the dove. It is a lifelong practice. Blessings on you and your path.
Eden is a quantum and shamanic practitioner and herbalist who enjoys exploring interdimensional realms, earth-based spirits and practices, planetary gridpoints, shadow integration, and Inkan medicine ways of Q'ero lineage. She identifies as empath, high-sensitive, and starseed. Eden works in service to spiritual evolution through love, and the reclamation of spiritual sovereignty.