Do You Know What Radical Love Is?20 Oct 2009, by self-care in
What I am about to share is beyond what most people consider when they talk about taking care of themselves such as eating well, exercising or getting a massage. Those are crucial components to your well-being, but I would like you to also consider radically loving you.
Radical love is really about making yourself uncomfortable in giving to yourself in order that you are able to expand your meaning of love. It is especially uncomfortable to give this type of love to yourself because you fear what others will say. Worse yet, you judge yourself for having the needs that you do. Yet, this expansive love for yourself is exactly what is needed for you to fulfill your life’s work, take the necessary risks to make it happen and live a life that is aligned with your highest good.
The best way for me to explain is to share a recent experience that was about me being tested to explore the love I have for myself. At the beginning of the year, I had a great yearning to get away by myself. All I wanted to do was go somewhere and experience peace. I wanted to throw myself deeply into good spiritual books, journal writing and meditation. In my mind, it would take at least a week for me to really be able to feel the benefits of this self-care. Unfortunately, that would take some time for me to be able to plan between making sure I had someone able to take care of my kids while also missing work. In other words, my mind told me “Nice thought, but it is not going to happen right away, so forget it.”
Fortunately, my essence wouldn’t let me forget it. For about a week, I would talk to my close friends about longing to go into what I called a “spiritual cave” and reconnect with my essence. Even though my rational mind kept shutting that idea out with thinking such as “it can’t happen right now,” I was further fortunate to be able to use my feelings as a guide. My feelings, as all our feelings, are present to guide us back to our truth.
After a week of shutting down this idea of getting away, I woke up one Saturday morning to my kids seemingly being extraordinarily loud! “Please just a few more minutes extra sleep is all I need,” I said to myself, “then I will be okay.” I wasn’t. All I can say was that I was out of it. I wasn’t being present with my family. I also had work to do but could not focus on that either. Then I was given the opportunity to again experience and test my radical love for me.
After trying to be present, enjoy the moment, and be grateful for my family, I came to the conclusion I had to get the heck out of there…and right away. But how could I? How could I just spring this on my husband and stick him with the kids? What about our plans for the next day to celebrate his parents’ birthdays? I didn’t want to miss that either.
At that moment, I was an internal mess. I knew what most people would consider the right thing to do was to just suck it up, or go take a walk, but certainly not just picking up and leaving. My essence, however, brought me back to my truth and asked me the following questions: Do I love myself enough to ask my husband? Do I love myself enough to inconvenience him? Do I love myself enough to disappoint him and possibly his parents if I don’t make it back in time for their party? And the answer was yes! In half an hour I had packed my bag and was gone!
The gift didn’t end there either. Radical love is loving yourself just as you are in the moment, especially in those darker moments. Can I love myself in my sorrow? Can I still love myself when I am judging me? Can I love myself when I can’t take care of anyone else but myself? Can I love myself when I don’t meet the expectations that I place on myself? Then, even more profound love came. I could distance myself from all of the illusions that I was buying into and sink into the self-care that my soul desperately needed.
Of course, this care did not take anywhere near as long as my ego convinced me I would need. When I left, I told my husband I would be back somewhere between 24 and 48 hours. At that point, I felt there was no way that would be enough time for me, but that is where I would start. The miracle of our essence is that it’s healing ability is much more profound than our minds and ego can imagine. I was back home 23 hours later – refreshed, renewed, and authentically happy and at peace.
What I found was that sometimes my needs go above and beyond what I think is normal and necessary for most people. Nevertheless, the truth was that it was my need. This experience allowed me to give myself that extra TLC my soul was craving. Even though I take care of myself by meditating daily, eating well, exercising, playing, and getting monthly massages – I still needed more at the time. Learning not to judge myself for it was part of my continued growth of loving myself more.
I worried, as have many people that I have worked with, that in giving this type of love to ourselves are we being selfish, self-centered or even narcissistic? This is what society would have you to believe – that your self care is selfish. When you buy into that limitation that is when you have to worry about becoming narcissistic. This is because narcissism and selfishness actually comes from a hatred toward your true selves that becomes disguised by self-importance. (For more about this, read my book Emotional Abundance: Become Empowered.)
Now that the selfish question is cleared up, ask yourself what is going to be your next step. For some, maybe it is taking off for a couple of days. For others, it may be remembering to stop what you’re doing to get yourself a glass of water and recognizing your thirst as a priority. Regardless of what your needs are, the faster you can recognize them as your truth, the better off you are going to feel in mind, body and spirit.
Once you give yourself permission to stop whatever you think is so important to take care of yourself, you can hear the voice of your spirit saying “it’s not that important.” It’s at that point that I laugh at myself. I really get a huge chuckle out of myself that I know these lessons so well, but can still fall prey to the tricks the ego plays. Yet each time I do, I come closer and closer to radical love.
Why does radical love matter? Because when you give yourselves that type of nonjudgmental, over the top love, it is so much easier to give to others. In fact, it will just flow out of you.
WITHOUT SELF-LOVE YOU CANNOT MAKE THE CHANGES THAT YOU SO DEEPLY DESIRE TO MAKE! Unfortunately, so many people make their resolutions out of dislike toward themselves. They judge themselves how they are not good enough in one way or need to improve in another manner. That is why resolutions fail.
Radical love shows the balance in acceptance of who you are in the present with all your gifts and vulnerabilities and cherishes them all. The deeper your love is for yourself, the more deeply you will desire to take better care of all aspects of yourself and your life. Instead of making the New Year a time of change, why don’t you use Valentine’s Day as a time to reflect upon how you could more deeply love yourself, and from that see what changes happen.
Wishing you heartfelt change in the days to come!