I Love Myself Today
by Carlie Kilduff • published on November 1, 2013
I may be repeating a pattern from my September article, quoting the song “Lean on Me”, when I mention “I Love Myself Today”, by Bif Naked. I won’t use a song title in every one of my pieces, but for now, I will go with this as it leads well into my message for you.
The lyrics go “I love myself today, not like yesterday...” and this is very inspiring to me. I urge you to stop where you are and really pay attention. This may be the best message that I have and what I am here on earth to teach: love yourself. I will share my journey with self love. I am pretty sure that I was born in this state. If you watch a baby or small child closely, you will find that they really love themselves and their bodies. If you haven’t observed this, watch a small child and learn from a master. Sadly, as most of us grow older, we lose self love and buy into our culture’s teachings of outer beauty, competition, and not being or having enough. So, in this way, I lost touch with my inner being that was pure love and totally loveable.
I remember being teased in school as a “fat kid” and growing up with disgust for my body. In my teenage years I began a long battle with my weight as I exercised obsessively, and jumped between barely eating and binging secretly as self nurture and emotional release. I chased after the approval of friends and boys, dating young, just to feel like I was beautiful and worthy of love. Even as I entered my early adult years, I struggled with self worth. I knew, with my head, that I was good and worthy of love, but this fell short when compared with how it felt in my heart. Knowing that self love was important, I said that I loved myself. At least, I thought I did. My actions, even as I became a mother, and entered my thirties, spoke a different message.
The good news is that although I was lost and removed from my state of self love that came with me as a baby, it never changed. Even though I strayed from it, it never strayed from me and I am so grateful that it found me in my darkest hours. I was given a huge lesson in love when I first became a mother, but it came to a boil just before the conception of my second son. Life challenges were swirling all around me with my family and my work. As I was trying to conceive, my whole perspective changed and I have never been the same. I like to think that my brilliant son to be, at that time, visited me and gave me “life resuscitation” in time to carry him into this world. His lesson for me was simple and profound: love yourself so you can help me remember how to love myself, Momma.
Love came flooding and I opened to the healing that it had in store. This was rapid as I allowed real love to wash over me. I was changing overnight, in ways that I never imagined possible, and issues that I thought I would spend my entire life grappling with and never grasp were dissolving. The process that I now call my “shifting” took place over a year or so, but when I first sampled a taste of self love, I was hooked and there was no going back. I became an avid life learner and explorer and now I have a beautiful message to share. When I pondered why I did not grow up learning about self love, self nurture, and self acceptance, I realized that my mother did not know of these things. How could she possibly have taught them to me? She was doing the best (mistakes and all) that she knew how, from what she had been taught in life. It became compellingly clear to me that not many people are so fortunate as to be raised by a mother who embodies whole and healthy self love.
If you have been, consider yourself extremely lucky as I have searched high and low in my learning journey and I see many women who lack this teaching. I now consider it my life’s purpose to spread teaching about how to love and nurture yourself as the most essential gift that you can pass on to your children. The great news is that you can start at any time. The healing that will come can wash over the past and seal a healthy future.
So, how do you love yourself? I learned it alone, and I still have many opportunities to practice, I always will. Don’t just say you love yourself, be love. Treat yourself in loving ways as often as you possibly can. Love yourself in the worst of times more than in the best of times. Take your feelings seriously. Listen to what your heart is trying to tell you in any moment. Honor yourself. Take great care and nurture. Give the first love that you can dish up to yourself. This isn’t selfish, it is self-full and we all must become self-full. We must fill our own cups so that we can share with others from a fresh, plentiful, and overflowing source, one that isn’t dry, exhausted, and running out. If you know how to fill your own cup, then your cup will be overflowing, and you can share what spills out, teach others to fill their own cups, and go back to the well when you find that your level is dropping. If we had a world of people, one person at a time, doing this, we would not see hunger, pain, hatred, and violence. The pain is coming from our own hearts, starved of, and searching, for love. Having lived in self disgust for too long, I can say that one of the greatest sources of violence is the damage that we do in ourselves when we hate our own essence and bodies. Stop searching for love and give it to yourself. We can only give what we have and we will only get what we give. If your love for yourself is conditional, then you will give conditional love and find it returning to you. Investigate this deeply. As mothers, we have a precious gift of insight as to how to love ourselves in healthier ways.
We love our children in a way that would feel amazing for size if we were to try it on ourselves. Become your own mother and converse and act with yourself in ways that you would if it were your child who came to you with whatever is on your heart. As we learn and explore self love, we may find ways where we can alter the love that we are giving and then be pleased to see a healthier love returning to us in our life stories. Do you know how special, amazing, brilliant, and beautiful you are? My highest wish is that you do or that you will. This has nothing to do with your life stories, what you have or what you do, what you look like, or how much fat you have lost or found.
Start today to love yourself and take extreme care and nurture. You cannot teach this to your children without living it for yourself and don’t we want our children to live this way? I urge you to stop and choose self love. It is the best love and the only love that are searching for. You will find it to be healing and life changing. I dream of a time, in the near future, where my children and their future offspring will live in love and peace on this grand earth of ours. This is a time of celebration as there will be no violence and fear. I can rest assured that this is coming because I have tasted the healing power in loving myself and it has told me that when we can teach our children, and also learn from them, how to love ourselves, we will love all other things and we will take care of the earth and the life that it supports. This is magnificent! We can do this, one heart at a time. Join me now!
Love yourself today, not like yesterday!