And so here’s the thing. Self love takes hard work. I can’t give you the Five Steps To A Fulfilled Life. This implies that at some point you become fulfilled and it’s all great for the rest of your life. I say with deep feeling that this sentiment is bullshit of the most toxic variety. I can tell you that right when you feel most invincible something will take you to your knees again. But what happens is getting up gets easier with practice.
Self love is not about buying books or herbal supplements. A burning passion is more important than burning calories. If someone tells an insult at you in the street, pray that their pain will go away soon. Don’t take the pain from them and make it your own. I’d say I’m no expert but that would be a lie.
Self love is your life’s work. Some days the biggest act of self love I can muster is breathing. Some days I love myself so much my hands tingle with it, I understand that to meet me is to be inspired, that I am beautiful beyond all logic and reason. Self love is not the easy way out. It’s about doing the right thing when nobody is watching.
Sometimes self love is tough love. Getting out of bed even though it’s difficult. Taking part in life when it feels like walking through treacle. Letting go of the people who are served by your denial of your full power. Stepping up and getting your shit together when times are rough. I don’t pander to myself today. I serve a higher purpose than my own instant gratification. I learn to love myself, I yearn to love myself. There is no recipe, no formula. It is alchemy that requires my absolute surrender to succeed.
Am I willing to work my arse off every day on this?
Am I willing to accept my total equality to everybody else?
Am I on the floor with nowhere to go but up?
Do I trust the plan enough to love my pain and bless my tormentors – even if that means blessing myself?
Until the answers are yes, I am only going through the motions. I am dipping a toe in the water and complaining that my feet are wet. And I know this because the answers are yes and I am forced every day to work at acts and words of love.
Tonight I went to see a play that had words in it taken from an interview I did about body image. I wasn’t totally surrendered when I did that interview. I was still in the cycle of hating myself and hating the world alternately. And when I heard the words I knew them as mine but realised I didn’t want them anymore. I forgot how angry I can be. I forgot that I could frighten people with the depth of my disgust. I saw myself, my sweet scared self, as I was. I could have broke my heart crying for that girl. And for about an hour, that hurt. All I had was that seam of self hatred to mine. You are fucked up. You are impossible to love. Look at you. Nobody wants that.
And yet – and yet. I have that willingness now. I know that feeling that pain is necessary. I know that it is okay. But I know that for the most part my pain talks shite. My pain is not the most sensible part of me. So I do the work. I remember. I say: yes, I was angry. But three women have taken that anger and created something beautiful from it. They have reined its power in and made it something to love. I say: yes, I was hurting. But I have forged the hurting into a rock solid core of self care. I am not the kind of person to sit in that today. So I buy a cup of tea – and a cake, full disclosure – in the train station, and I make something beautiful from it. I make something that I can be proud of. I remember that I am so fucking powerful that sometimes it IS frightening. And I tell myself that it’s okay.
The Mighty Heart Theatre Company are performing “When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat” in Manchester at the moment. Follow them on Twitter here