Self Love and the Inner Lion – Part 1

Self love - We all long to come to rest in ourselves. To come home to a house that we are no longer at war with.

Self Love and the Inner Lion

I don’t believe we long to be perfect but we just want to be who we are, with all our characteristics, our personal expressions, our physical appearance. We are what we are, and what a blessing it would be to no longer fight our form. To be at ease with what is. 

We all have been told to develop, to grow, to work on ourselves, to overcome our bad habits. But we are not told how to love ourselves as we are, trusting our own judgment and feelings. What was rejected by our parents or caretakers is still rejected by ourselves because we never looked again but simply assumed we’re just not lovable there.

Conclusions about ourselves

We still turn our backs on ourselves because we concluded, probably long ago, that part of our expression was not welcome. Maybe we felt misunderstood, ridiculed or ignored or we encountered aggression when we grew up. We are sensitive beings and at a very young age we can understand quite clearly what the deal is. We survive because we adjust, learning from others how to behave, how to speak and how to earn attention. In time we create an image of ourselves, based on how people perceive us and react to us. So when parents or other family members mirror our behaviour in a negative way, or simply ignore us, we conclude that our behaviour or what we say is not OK. When we are very young, we are not capable of seeing the bigger picture: we assume they will be right and we must be wrong.

In a nutshell, this is how we formed our conclusions about ourselves. The positive ones make us feel capable and welcome, the negative conclusions always hurt because we feel that a vital part of us is not loved.

How do we cope with this?

What happens is that we bury this unwelcome but authentic part of us inside, not expressing it anymore. We come to distrust it, covering it with shame or guilt. That hurts. And in order not to feel the hurt of ‘unlove’ again, we develop a strategy that will keep us safe. A strategy that will protect us. We decide for example to pay much attention to what others need and keep our own needs out of sight. Or we make sure that we are always ‘on top’ in relationships, so no one will ever humiliate us again. The strategy becomes our lifeguard and we keep investing in it. But we have lost touch with what was hidden in the first place.

An innocent mistake

When we are willing to turn around and really look again at our hurt, we might discover that what we labelled as unworthy or unlovable is, in fact, an innocent mistake. If we can let go of our strategy for just a moment and meet what we actually feel, love will enter. When we can really open instead of clinging to our old conclusions, love will find us, melting layers of seemingly solid ideas in just a moment. Not only will our story melt, our strategy and shame, but what we tried to hide reveals itself in its original form.

This is the miraculous gift of love

What we labelled as weakness might free itself as sensitivity. What we judged to be stupidity for so long, could reveal itself as honesty, or authenticity. How can a child be guilty of expressing the wrong things? What else can it do but express life in complete innocence?

Negative labels are just a product of the mind

What is self love?

Self love means to have love for ourselves. For the person we are. Love for our emotions, our voice, our bodies, our habits, our mistakes. It’s not about making us bigger than we are. There is no need to do that. It’s embracing who we are, not because we did something right or have a good hair day or deserved it. But because this is how it is! Imagine an oak criticising itself because it believes it could have done better that day. Criticising the form and colour of its leaves and feeling a loser because of letting go of them in Autumn.

Practising self love in daily life

Let’s return home. By seeing through the old conclusions that keep us at war with ourselves. Let us love and trust our own form and expression, standing up for who we are in a natural, freeing way. I know this is tricky and not as easy as it sounds…our mind is a master at creating illusions, drawing us right back into the story again.

So to make it practical, the next part of the article will be offering a powerful tool to support you in practising self love in daily life. The inner Lion will be introduced, your personal, inner supporter that will guide you in being loyal to yourself…

Thanks for joining me so far

With love,
Esther

Read Self Love and the Inner Lion part 2

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Esther Teule
Esther TeuleEsther worked in the music industry for several years but felt the need for a profound change and became interested in spirituality and psychology. She followed many courses and trainings and became a qualified coach in 2007. For a decade, Esther taught meditation classes worldwide and in 2015 wrote a book inspired by her own inner journey: 'Past the Gate, a little book about finding freedom.'