By Hannah K. Moore
Redefining love is a privilege that not all of us come to know or practice.
It’s a hard pill to swallow to think that redefining love is not something everyone can know. To redefine what it means to give and receive love, to love oneself first and to let this love give you ownership in your relationships are such fundamental parts of our being.
Many of us grow up either never knowing true genuine love or receiving construed messages of what love is. The struggle for self-love is real.
The struggle for self-knowledge and knowing one’s self is one of the real-ist struggles we as human beings face. How do we love ourselves when we don’t know ourselves? We must dig deep within to where love lives, underneath all the layers that we have built, buying into what we thought we were for so many years.
My own journey of self-love has been a continuous and at times arduous one. At 30 years old, I feel I am finally settling into a place where loving me in daily practice is becoming something I value and honor as sacred. Self-love, self-respect and understanding that you may need to redefine what you understand as love altogether is deep, deep work. When it’s done on a superficial surface level, it will only keep reappearing at different moments; how you react to certain situations, how you respond to being in a relationship with a lover, and how you feel when times get tough.
That love will be what you need to get you through.
It is also constant work. I have been consciously working on loving me and redefining what love means and looks like for about the last five years. I have learned that it is not a linear process and patience with yourself is vital as you may think you are or want to be further along than you are.
Although my mom gave me all the love she had in her and more, growing up without my father, or knowing any of his family proved to be a huge challenge in identity making for me and thus in my self-love. I created what I thought I needed to fill the empty spaces within me, which ended up only hurting me.
I had to literally lose myself, or what I knew of myself in order to love me and others. I had to let go of the stories I had created about who I am or how I had been hurt and had to carry pain with me wherever I went.
Now at 30 years old I understand just how important self-love is for my livelihood. I am also a mommy to be, and this experience of carrying a being, my child has brought so many lessons and understandings. My fight for self-love now involves another being that needs me. This person needs me to love me fiercely so that I can be my best, and so I can teach by example the importance of self-love and self-care. The father of my baby is my ex, and the only way I am able to take ownership in the relationship we are now re-building as friends and co-parents would be non-existent if not for me being rooted in self-love, and redefining love.
The ability to decipher what is the best for me and my baby; I am guided by the depths of love within me.
We are often taught that to lose is a bad thing, especially when it comes to ourselves or something involving ego. But losing myself was the best thing I could have done, for now I have found and continue to get to know the beautiful woman I am.
I am love.
Here’s a short list to some self-love daily practices to help guide you on your journey
1. Create a self-love ritual
Self-pampering is a good way to do this. Whether it’s taking time to give yourself a foot massage with some of your favourite lotion or practicing yoga in the morning or before you go to bed.
2. Build a precious community
Surround yourself by people who love you and care about your well-being. You need their support, positive vibrations are contagious.
3. Keep a Gratitude journal
Every night before bed take a minute to write down what you are grateful for from the day. It can be as simple as feeling the warm sun on your skin. Lifting up what we are grateful for helps remind us that we are love.
4. Explore your spirituality
Faith and self-love go hand in hand, believing in and aligning with the divine opens your soul to belief and trust. This will help build your intuition and good decision making.
5. Build your letting go muscle
We often hold on to pain from the past, and this is a normal response to self-defend and protect, although it often blocks us from moving forward into places of love, particularly self-love and self-acceptance.
6. Find a happy place
Whether you are more of a water person or connect more in the woods surrounded by trees, find your happy place; somewhere you can go and sit and be present. I love sitting by the ocean and connecting with myself and the greatness that is the vast waters.
Hannah Moore | Core Writer