I heard this while meditating this morning. It reaffirmed the notion that hate, distrust, and bias all stem from not loving oneself enough and creating a susceptibility towards feeling threatened by people who don’t look the same as us, believe the same things we do, or live the way we live.
As Pride month comes to a close, I’m grateful for this reminder as I notice more expressions of what it means to be gay, trans, non-binary, or questioning and I hear about celebrations of the fact that gender identity and sexuality is not a choice. To deny this is to project personal insecurity onto others.
I share this because I firmly believe self love unlocks our ability to love freely, to accept others for who they are or what my former boss says - who they be. I also recognize how hard this must be especially if your background has emphasized a certain way of life is the THE way and all other ways are simply WRONG. We don’t have to look far for examples of this in society - just take the recent news story about Canada, the Catholic Church, and the discovery of mass graves of indigenous children.
My hope is that each of us embraces self love and self care as necessary, unselfish, and possible. We do this and we signal to you ourselves and others that we are worthy of love and respect. This requires “doing the work” to carve time out to attend to our needs and some go past what famous psychology, Maslow identified as basic (safety, food, rest). Recognize your needs - the ones that support you physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Your needs are unique because you are unique and that difference makes YOU worth celebrating, interesting, and a shining example of humanity in practice.
I’ll end with a story… recently I was reading to my daughter the book, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. It’s about a young girl’s beloved uncle who announces at a family picnic that he and his boyfriend are getting married: the family is multi-racial and so is the engaged couple. The only noticeable resistance is the young niece who is fearful of losing her relationship with her uncle. She quickly learns her good fortune has multiplied and now she will have two dear uncles to share life with. I so hope stories like these teach my daughter that love is love, no matter how similar or different the person we love is compared to our beliefs and backgrounds.
My invitation for you is three fold:
Self love starts from within and when we open up, there’s no choice but to shine light and love.