The Lesson of Self Love

As a woman, it’s interesting to look out at the world today and see how much it has changed since the times my grandmothers and mother were growing up.

Yet, what I also see are a lot of the same issues around identity, capabilities and treatment that, I feel, have been within our experience … well, probably since the beginning of time.

The thing I witness, too, is it’s not only the women, but the men of this world who are frustrated and waking up to the many ways in which the conditioning that we have all played a roll in perpetuating has inhibited every single one of us from knowing and experiencing the true depth of our natures, capacities and personal, unique truths. This has been happening to us on both the individual level and within our identity as whatever gender with which we associate ourselves.

For awhile now, we have been immersed in the reckoning of what we have been expecting from and doing to one another.

In the media, we keep seeing more and more truth coming to the surface about how we have dishonored others and our own integrity. We are becoming disgusted with the level of tolerance and practice that has been going unquestioned for far too long.

And as uncomfortable as it is to be shown these truths over and over again, to me, it is a very important part of the rebalancing process.

What I see is that we are experiencing the second Great “D” – no, not The Great Depression, in this case, I’d call it The Great Detox … a massive cultural healing crisis, as it were.

For me, in my life, the sexual advances came around the age of 12. I was chased down by strange men, flashed more times than I can remember, heard multiple inappropriate comments from bosses and other work colleagues, and treated many times more as an object than a subject by men who claimed to care for me.

I share this not from a desire to say “me too,” as much as to point to the much deeper and monumentally powerful lesson, I believe, we are all, collectively, reaching to embrace, understand and learn … Self Love.

As my clients well know, one of my favorite lines is “we are most challenged by our greatest gifts.”

I cannot think of a greater gift than self love. We are all being challenged to learn ways to listen and give more respect, honor and love to ourselves.

After all, how can we know how to have truly healthy love for another if we haven’t learned to do this with ourselves?

From 2014-2016, I had the opportunity to volunteer my professional services to an incredible program created by a dear friend who was a clinical psychologist at the federal prison here in NC.

There, I was shown the depth of struggle that men have experienced from the “norms” that have been unconsciously allowed to go, unchecked, for thousands of years.

When man after man would tell me, “it’s not okay to show your emotions or true feelings,” I was able to clearly see how so much of what we are fighting against now has been a creation for which we all get to take responsibility.

When men don’t feel comfortable developing their emotional side the way women have been allowed to do, can we honestly wonder from where the disconnect comes? How love and sex get confused? When a man cannot allow himself to feel the emotional aspect of intimate connection, then he might simply put all of the focus on the physical aspect of it. This can, of course, also apply to women who did not feel safe developing their EQ, as well.

When the emotional cup cannot be filled, the surrogate of physical pleasure becomes an optional place holder. And when someone cannot fully receive love properly, this person learns to take what is wanted to meet the need for connection.

None of this is said as a way to condone any type of dishonoring behavior, and it should be discussed and dealt with in an appropriate manner. However, I must be frank and say that my level of discomfort with the current focus we see on the story is because, I believe, we are overlooking the true issue.

Perhaps, instead of looking for who is to blame, we can begin to take personal and collective responsibility.

What I feel is called for, first, is compassion and understanding for how we got to this place to begin with. If we are to have any, long-standing effect on the desired outcomes that we seek, then we must begin with listening to one another, not looking to condemn each other. I do believe it is possible to hold someone responsible for their language and behaviors without condemning them.

If what we tolerate persists, then we have all been “guilty,” so let’s focus less on the concept of guilt and more on how we can begin to love ourselves enough to speak our truths, set our required boundaries and seek to understand where our own behavior is playing a roll in the experiences we are continuing to have.

If all we are currently witnessing and feeling is, as they say, a necessary evil to get us to wake up to ways in which we haven’t been loving ourselves enough, then perhaps we can celebrate finally having the chance to learn the lesson and move on to something better.

I often hear people say they “don’t want to feel” a certain way, and therefore, don’t want to see what they need to see.

To this, I’d say that it’s clear this way of dealing with uncomfortable feelings and circumstances isn’t working and is showing distinct signs of coming to an end from the standpoint of collective tolerance.

So, perhaps, it’s time to open to our opportunities and seek support to become more aware, conscious, alive and self-loving.

After all, at this point, we seem to have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

Here’s to loving yourself, first!

Traci

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