Self-love Is Being Authentic - Be A Child Again
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Everybody talks about self-love nowadays. "You have to love yourself in order to love others", "True self-love has to come from within.", "You have to let go off your ego's attachments to experience self-love."
I think, all the statements above have some truth to them. However, in my opinion we were all in that magic state of genuine self-love once. There was a time when we didn't think about the concept of self-love. We just expressed our true self.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you and me - basically all human beings - were born on this Earth within universal love.
As kids – before we are conditioned by our parents, teachers and society – we just live. We do what we want. We explore. We go outside and experience the world. We want to taste the grass, want to run after a butterfly and want to see what happens if we throw a rock in the water. As kids we are on our own way to discover this beautiful world with all our senses.
Doing this, the emotions we experience are raw and pure – which I believe is the key to self-love.
We didn’t think “Oh gosh, what might this person think, if I cry now…” No. We just cried because we felt like it. And when our mom came to comfort us, two minutes later we would be all happy and laughing again. That’s the beauty of life, that every moment is different, every moment can create something new. One second, we cry, the other we laugh cheerfully. As children we were just expressing ourselves exactly how we felt at that certain moment.
So, in my opinion we truly love ourselves when we express authentically who we are.
When we were much younger - before all conditioning - we did. Let me explain this by sharing an experience I had the other day...
I was going for a walk in the beautiful city of San Cristóbal... Eventually, I sat down on a bench in a park. After a while I noticed a little kid running through a swarm of doves. He was maybe 3 years old, running through the birds over and over again. He was wholeheartedly laughing the whole time and had so much fun watching the birds flying away in all directions. He was just there. Present, discovering, living. Following his feeling. The magical thing was that his joy spilled over to me. I could feel his joy only by watching him. His emotion was so pure, so innocent, it lit up my heart with love. I couldn’t feel anything else but pure love in that moment...
After all the child just expressed its true self. With all its emotions it was fully in the present moment. However, in our society we often care way too much what other people think of us. This can prevent us from truly expressing ourselves and experiencing joy.
I admit that community and the appreciation of groups has been (and still is) crucial for survival. But look for a group or community where you can truly express yourself.
Famous researcher and professor Brené Brown said in one of her many talks “The opposite of belonging is fitting in.” So do you want to belong or just merely fit in…?
SIDE NOTE: Brené Brown did a lot of research on the topics of shame and vulnerability which are closely connected to self-love. If you're interested in these topics, I can recommend her Ted-Talk and an article I wrote about it.
I've seen too many people (including myself) who just fit in and didn’t express themselves fully. Personally, I was afraid of being excluded if I did. I was afraid of not meeting others’ expectations or I felt like I was in some way not worth it to truly express myself. Hence, I thought I must behave a certain way. However, if we do that, we neglect our true self, our inherent nature, we say no to the vibrant being inside of us. We don’t love ourselves.
I can say from experience that it is painful to not be your true self.
Hence, people might develop different strategies to cope with it. My coping strategy was alcohol. I certainly wasn't an alcoholic, but I used to drink a lot on parties or birthdays, basically at every social event. By getting drunk I numbed my mind so that I could express my true nature more easily - at least I thought so...
Well, I definitely became looser, more relaxed and felt less anxious. I even found suddenly the courage to talk to the pretty girl at the bar, because I forgot for an instance all the fears I was holding inside. Instead of being afraid of rejection or not being okay the way I was, I felt excitement. However, being high on alcohol it wasn’t my real self, it was just me suppressing my fears and doubts. I was not facing them in a mature way, but pushing them away and escaping them for an instance.
I went through this phase for several years and think I have learned my lesson from it. For me, alcohol was one way of escaping, but as I mentioned earlier there are many more ways which might give joy and happiness for a moment but are just distractions from deeper things inside us. In this post I don't want to go into it, but it can be basically anything. Social media, watching TV, shopping, work, sex, sugar, relationships etc. Just like alcohol, all these things can be a strategy to cope with the pain of not expressing one's true self.
Ultimately, I think we should be more like children again. If you can see the world through the innocent eyes of a child - like the boy running through the birds – you love yourself. In fact, you love everything and everybody around you. You realize that we are all connected and live in the same magnificent world.
So, if you take one thing away from reading this, let it be this: Allow yourself to be a child again. You could start by observing a child playing and having fun. It might happen that a spark of its pure and innocent energy passes over to you - like it did to me.
Thanks for reading my first blog post! There are more to come...
Have a great day and don't forget to be childish sometimes! ;)
PS: Being vulnerable is closely connected to this topic. When you express your true self, you make yourself vulnerable to others. It includes sharing what you really feel. If you're interested to read more about this, here you go.
San Cristóbal, Mexico, February 2022