Jump to content
  • ENA

    Learn Self-Love

    Excerpted from
    All the Joy You Can Stand: 101 Sacred Power Principles for Making Joy Real in Your Life
    By Debrena Jackson Gandy

    Fourteen floors above Madison Avenue, I was sitting in the lounge at the lovely Gazelle Day Spa in Manhattan, New York, leading a sacred pampering seminar for some of the spas VIP clientele. About halfway through the seminar, Cherie, one of the patrons, walked in and sat down to join the discussion. We were in the midst of discussing the signs and symptoms of pampering neglect, and the unhealthy and self-defeating behaviors we exhibit when self-care is a low priority or no priority in our lives. After listening for a couple of minutes, Cheric spoke up and asserted, "It's really very simple. All you have to do is love yourself."

    I nodded my head in agreement. "Yes, this is true. I agree wholeheartedly I replied, and then added, "But knowing that you've got to love yourself doesn't mean that you know how to do it. And saying you love yourself doesn't necessarily mean that you do." A hush fell over the room as the ladies went deep into thought pondering the implications of this statement.

    I LOVE MYSELF seems to have become the black woman's national anthem in the past few years. We are quick to say it and quick to assert it, especially in the company of other sistahs. However, as I have traveled around the country talking with women in my workshops, seminars, retreats, and keynotes, one of my realizations is this: many of us say we love ourselves, but if we pay close attention to our words and thoughts, and observe our behaviors, actions, and choices-how we treat our bodies, each other, our kids, our mates, our money, and how we invest our energy and use our time-we would see a contradiction, an incongruence, a gap. Many of us are not there yet. We've been told to love ourselves and we know it's a good idea, but many of us haven't been shown or taught not to love ourselves. We haven't seen it modeled and it hasn't been "exampled" for us. It exists as a good idea in our minds, but is not yet a reality in our lives.

    Taught how to maintain and groom our bodies? Yes.

    Taught to love ourselves? No.

    If wed truly been taught self-love, we would believe unwaveringly in ourselves instead of doubt ourselves,- have faith instead of have fear, feel free instead of feel obligated; feel innocent instead of guilty,- play big instead of small, accept each and every part of our bodies, instead of rejecting the parts that we don't like,- acknowledge instead of deny and avoid; be at peace instead of stressed out,- be complete instead of complain,- and see perfection instead of finding fault. So we literally must unlearn self-loathing and relearn self-love. We must practice it. Become familiar with it. Experience and insperience it. We must learn to assign a high value to ourselves and then demonstrate a belief in this high value. We must learn how to plant, cultivate, nurture, and grow self-love.

    This is no easy task, however. It took me several years to get my self-love act together. It required rigorous self-evaluation, truth-telling, forgiving, releasing, and lots of self-reflection. When I flipped back through certain scenes in my life, I looked for signs that indicated either self-loathing or self-loving. What my reflections revealed was that I, as positive and spiritual as I thought myself to be, had evidence of self-loathing sprinkled throughout my life. The evidence was in the times I had dishonored my time, my body, or my energy. The evidence was in the times I had over-committed myself, said yes when I really wanted to say no, or allowed myself to be put in uncomfortable situations out of feelings of obligation or guilt.

    Self-loathing showed up on occasions when I had eaten snacks late at night when I knew it was not good for my body, or I had not given my body enough rest or a much needed break. The evidence was in the times I'd mismanaged my money and allowed myself to get into positions where my financial debt weighed on me like an anchor,- when I felt compelled to always be on the go, in the mix, or at all of the professional networking and social functions. The evidence was in the times I would agree to go out with friends even when I was dead tired after a rough week at work; when I didn't feed my body enough fresh food or drink enough water,- and when I allowed men with questionable character and negative energy into my body in the form of sex. Yes, there were many signs and much evidence to confirm that there were a lot of holes, rips, and tears in the fabric of my self-love.

    As I began to steadily make my way toward this place called self-love, many things began to change. I began to change. My thoughts, words, actions, beliefs, choices, and interactions began to change. Self-love started to take root and grow in my life. I was learning to truly love my self for the first time, and "love my cells," as Rachel Bagby encourages in her book Divine Daughters. I was now beginning to show and demonstrate high regard for my mind, body, spirit, energy, and time.

    So as we begin the dredging process, we don't want to beat ourselves up. We don't want to flog ourselves for poor choices we've made in the past, or for our bad habits or problems. But we do want to tell the truth: collectively, and thus, individually, we are not doing as good a job of loving ourselves as we may think we are. And in this acknowledgment lies the beginning of our healing, the beginning of the journey, and the first step toward learning self-love.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...