Self-Love Letter

When I was a teenager and young adult, I longed for a romantic relationship. I was not very outgoing in that area, so I found myself waiting and waiting, wondering what was wrong with me. I could not shake the desire to be loved, which I equated to being desired by another. I falsely believed that a romantic relationship would prove that I was lovable and would bring me the happiness I so desperately sought.

Fast forward decades later and I am here reflecting on how love is always present in us. If only I could go back and tell my younger self that even though she doesn’t feel lovable, love is within her. And this truth is stronger than any relationship (romantic or not). I would tell her that this love accepts her unconditionally, flaws and all. This is the love that brings happiness.  

The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself.

bell hooks

The Practice

Find a sticky note, piece of paper, or digital notebook. Put it to the side.

Take a few deep breaths in and out, settle into a comfortable posture, and close your eyes. Stay here for as long as you need.

Using your imagination, visualize yourself 10, 20 years from now – your wise future self. What do you look like? Where are you? How do you spend your time? What matters most to you?

Now imagine you go to visit your future self and ask, “What have you learned about love? About loving yourself? About loving others?” Sit and allow the response to arrive in any form (words, images, sensations, etc.).

When you’re ready, open your eyes and write down or draw the message. Look at it everyday for the next week. Return to it whenever you need this reminder.

Love After Love

 

~ Derek Walcott

 

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

 

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

 

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

 

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

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