Love yourself, come what may.
When it comes to suffering and healing, this is the path I trust above all else. It’s the foundation of my writing, the first step in my clinical work, and the lesson I keep learning myself.
If it were that easy, I’d leave it at that. Love yourself, come what may. The end.
But I know it’s deeper than that, and weightier, and so much more nuanced.
I know the path of our love isn’t always clear. Or easy. Or fast or painless. Even when we love ourselves, there can be pain. In the very moment of opening the door to love, we can grieve for the love we didn’t receive before and criticize ourselves for getting it wrong for such a long time.
I also know how scary loving yourself can be. What if there really is something wrong with you? What if it doesn’t work? Who would you become?
It’s confusing, too. Every time, the details of the path look so different. Oh, the details! The details are so compelling. I know the allure of certainty and control over circumstances.
And I know that no matter where you begin, the way through always turns out to be the same. The steps that bring you back to earth in moments of eager anticipation are the same that lift you out of being so over self-loathing, fear, or depression. It’s always through the practice of loving yourself more.
I know this because most of the time, this is the message I most need to hear. It’s also the message I’m quickest to forget.
In every struggle, every pressure, every stuck place I’ve been, I’ve tried all the ways I can think of to find my way out. And every time, I remember that out was never where I wanted to be. I just wanted to find my way back to the path that leads me through.
So, I write.
And I practice.
And I write some more.
And I get still and listen.
And if I could save the world, it would be with a massive sign saying, “Love yourself, come what may.”
I hear the pressures everywhere. The desire, too.
We want to love ourselves unconditionally, but we also want to be different.
We want to rid ourselves of the hurting parts or the scared parts or the competitive parts. Those are the parts we call bad or silly. We push them away, ignore them, and bottle them up, forgetting that unconditional love reaches the whole of us.
It’s that unconditional part that’s hardest for me to remember because it means loving myself outside of everything I’d constructed before to keep me safe. What does it look like to love yourself outside of pressure or productivity? Outside of positivity, even? And I get so invested in working at a problem, making things happen, or rushing through life.
Then I remember with bittersweet relief that it’s always the path of loving myself through it all that I can trust.
This is what inspired me to write a book called How to Have Your Back. All the little pieces of it are coming together and will be ready soon. But I was too excited to not share something with you before then. I pulled out excerpts on each of the loving intentions covered in the book and paired them with questions to help you align with each of them.
I present to you the How to Have Your Back Beginning Guide. It’s yours free.
The intentions in this beginning guide and the full-length How to Have Your Back guidebook are the signposts along the path of love. These are the simple instructions for loving yourself through the ups and downs in life.
More than anything, I want you to know that you are worth caring about and taking care of. You’re worth the time, interest, and energy of taking care of yourself, and that time, interest, and energy is all progress. Always. Even when it feels like you’re moving in reverse. Even you’ve forgotten what you learned the last time and swore you’d change forever.
Loyalty, loving interest, caring communication, heartfelt action, and dedication are never time wasted. Never, ever.
Each time you choose to give time, interest, and energy to yourself is evidence of your growth and caring. That’s what loving yourself looks like, making the choice whenever you can. Then doing it again and again and again. And there are so many ways to make that choice.
This is why I practice what I practice and share what I share.
Let’s choose introspection today. I offer these prompts based on the intentions of How to Have Your Back as a roadmap. Through light inquiry, explore each of the intentions in your life and take stock of your natural capacity to be so loyal and loving.
Sign up for your beginning guide here. And if you have a friend you’d like to invite to join you, you can send them here: leslieralph.com/how-to-have-your-back-beginning-guide-sign-up/.
To loving you, unconditionally and finding your way through,