Most of us have some awareness of the healing power of love. Often, when we think about that, we think about directing love outward – toward others. I want to talk a moment about the healing power of directing love inward – toward ourselves. Two of the most profoundly impactful healing practices that have helped my life have been: 1) learning to look into my own eyes in a mirror for 5 minutes and meet my Self there and tell myself over and over again, “I love you,” and 2) writing love notes and letters to me.
I’ve always been good at offering love and acceptance to others. I haven’t always been good at being kind to myself – but I’ve improved at that so much over the years that I’m almost never critical or cruel to myself anymore. I started by thinking, if someone I deeply love were going through this or had made this mistake, what would I say? Then I’d write those thoughts to me. Something as simple as, “Hey, I know that was disappointing and not what you were expecting, but I love you unconditionally and I trust that things will work out for the best for you. I believe in you!” Such a little thing, really – but it had a big impact on me and my life.
So, I’d like to invite you to start by writing a love note to yourself. Take some time and consider yourself the same way you would consider your dearest friend. You can write as many as you like – don’t worry about getting it “right.” Just express love for yourself in all of your different aspects. Maybe collect a series of love notes. Get in the habit of offering yourself love and support this way, no matter what is going on in your life.
What this is about is loving ourselves completely – not expecting perfection or even “goodness” – but loving the darker, more broken parts of ourselves too. Claiming our wholeness and our unconditional love for ourselves. If you choose to write yourself a love letter, be sure to include ALL of you! Read it every once in a while, particularly if you’re having a down day and could use some support – and a reminder that you are loved. Maybe even read it and meet your eyes in the mirror after every sentence as you do so. Have a conversation with that precious soul that is looking back at you. Be sure to say, “I love you.”
An excerpt from my love letter to me: I love your spirit. I love your good heart. I love your kindness. I love your tenderness. I love your lack of perfection. I love your impatience. I love your anger. I love your frustration. I love your loneliness. I love your authenticity. I love your insecurity. I love your strength. I love your weakness. I love your vulnerability. I love your courage. I love your fear. I love the risks you take. I love the way you hide in order to regroup. I love the struggles within you. I love the victories you claim. I love the defeats that you survive. I love your independence. I love your neediness. I love you through all of your ups and downs, all of your joys and worries, all of your laughter and tears. I love the stress you hold in your body and I love the ways in which you release your stress and allow yourself and your body to heal. I love the complications and contradictions and paradoxes within you. I love how you are constantly learning and growing. And I also want you to know that you don’t have to change a single thing to earn my love or to be worthy of love. I love every fault and flaw that you have. There is nothing in you that is unlovable. You are completely lovable in every single way. I love your full humanity. I love every bit of you that you let be seen and every bit of you that you keep hidden. I love the parts of you that you have discovered and the parts of you that you have yet to discover. I love you in every moment of your past, your present and your future. There is nothing that is, nor could be, a part of you that I would not love. I love you. All of you. Unconditionally and forever.