From my healing journey, I learned that in order for me to fully heal from chronic pain, I had to let go of who I thought I needed to be and instead, relax into the inner landscape of myself with awareness, compassion, and non-judgment. This process I call surrendering to one's Self.
Often we allow our self-concept to bake with ingredients of judgments from ourselves, others, memories, perceptions, and thoughts based on past experiences. These ingredients cloud our ability to truly know and love ourselves, and to experience joy. Self-love and joy become conditional: we can’t love ourselves and feel happy unless we meet internalized expectations, such as having to look, act, or be a certain way. We limit ourselves from self-compassion, respect, acceptance and the possibilities that exist within us. Instead, we seek that from others.
Self-acceptance comes from the practice of self-awareness. As our self-awareness grows, we tap into our true nature, the essence, or the "I" of who we are. We begin to realize that there is more to us than self-image, self-judgments, and self-perceptions. Our true Self is steadfast and whole despite illness and pain, despite our experiences and traumas. We recognize and feel this more and more as we deepen our relationship with--within--ourselves. Then, our self-concept transforms, and our self-worth and self-love grow.
Self-love is more than showing self-compassion and kindness to ourselves. I have learned that self-love means self-respect, self-honor, and setting boundaries for how I want to be treated by others and how I want to treat my Self.
Self-love is a relational practice with oneself that takes time to grow and deepen. It takes time to understand, to appreciate, and to not judge ourselves. It takes time to fall in love with ourselves. As love for ourselves grows and deepens, self-judgments lessen, parting the clouds of obstruction, enabling us to begin to see and feel the light within us so that we may shine.
Underneath our masks, inside each of us, is a sacred, unconditional love in which we can rest and never feel lost, displaced, or disabled. Unconditional love is innate. We are all born with it. We are all connected already by and through love. It is a travesty that we are not all brought up to feel it within us and one another, for this leads to part of our suffering that we must heal.
This is part of healing. Feeling self-worth and love boosts "happy hormones", the immune system, physical wellbeing. It reduces pain, anxiety, and feeling isolated from others. And it build resilience balanced with self-care and self-nurturing.
My healing journey has been filled with difficulties and obstacles. Bruised, I fall and pick myself back up. I find a way because this is the power of being human. This is the power of self-compassion, self-respect, self-worth, and self-honor. This is the power of determination, perseverance, and belief in oneself. This is the power of self-love.
My healing journey has metamorphosed into recovering from chronic, physical pain, and now trying to heal Long Covid, to healing my whole self. This journey never ends; it evolves as I continue to open to myself to the experience of my Self.
On your life journey, I wish you the experience of self-discovery and self-love. May you find peace in the love that exists within you and experience the healing it offers.