Love truly is an inside job. Self-love is truly the root of all joy and fulfillment. But to love anything or anyone, you must first know it well. Love is an inside job that begins with knowing yourself… and I mean really knowing yourself. Most of us have absolutely no idea who we are, and if we ever did, we have long since forgotten. So how in heaven’s name can we possibly love someone we do not know?
Here in the United States, we are part of a fast-paced culture. Patience isn’t merely hard to come by, it’s nearly a forgotten word. The faster we are able to receive information and share it, the faster we want it. We are addicted to the feeling of never being alone. We falsely believe that as people like, comment, or share what we are posting on social media we are actually connected. And although there is some truth to that, we are lulled into a false sense of being present, being seen, or being understood. Truth be told, we can present images of ourselves that barely resemble the beautiful people we are. And it is my belief, that over time, we run the risk of actually becoming that one dimensional, shell of a person we portray ourselves to be on-line. We actually forget who we are.
We no longer ponder about what we like and why we like it, or what we don’t like and why we don’t like it. We no longer ask ourselves good questions; questions about what we think and how we feel. And as a result, we no longer hear our answers. And honestly, what good would it do to answer, I mean, who’s listening anyway? And if you are not listening to you, who is? Do you even remember what that wise inner voice sounds like?
For many of us, our inner voice has been silenced by shame and self-loathing. I mean, how willing are we to step up with a thought or an opinion, only to be swiftly shot down by negative self-talk like, “oh, you think you are so smart,” or “what makes you think anyone cares what you have to say?” or “you can’t be trusted, you never do what you say you’re going to do.” We are no longer kind or understanding with ourselves. We expect so very little for ourselves and unfortunately, we get exactly what we expect. Lack of confidence, innovation, sharing and dreaming has become prevalent. So much begins with the conversations we have with ourselves.
And here’s the thing, there is nothing sadder that having something really important to say and having no one to listen, not even yourself.
The good news is that it’s not too late. And as with any rich relationship, it will take time, and yes, some effort. It’s really one of those “it’s simple, just not easy” kind of things. It’s a game changer in the area of joy and personal development. So here it is. You must spend time alone. Really alone. You can begin slowly and it will not cost you a dollar. Choose a time and place that you can retreat to daily. Initially, just focus on being at your determined place when you plan on being there. Just focus on the activity. I would suggest that you reserve 30 minutes at a time. Begin with a commitment to yourself to do this for one week. Make it a comfortable place. If weather permits and it is possible, make it an outdoor space, possibly a deck, a porch or a garden. In this space, you are at liberty to begin this journey by asking yourself some simple questions. And for the first time in what may be a long time, kindly and responsively listen to yourself. And remember, like you would with any other relationship, be patient and kind.