Love: It might perhaps be the most overused word today. And yet it’s so damn powerful.
You are a lover. No matter how you’ve been used and abused by parents, exes, employers, or even by yourself. Love is your nature. It is nearer than your breath.
You are here to have a mad love affair with yourself and the world. And when you understand and accept that, life becomes so much more fun.
Before you can jump headfirst into loving this crazy, scary, beautiful, bold, and complex world, how do you first fall madly in love with yourself?
Literally. You gotta do it. If you don’t want to, why would anyone else? Kiss your arms, your legs, your hands…anything you can reach.
Develop a discipline of focusing on the good.
What do you love and appreciate about yourself? For one week, write down what you love about yourself every single day. Read it before you go to bed at night. Remember: There’s a difference between narcissism and self-love. Self-love is a critical component to being a loving person. Embrace loving yourself.
Find a friend that is willing to hold space while you share about the extraordinary creature that is you.
Your first inclination might be to balk. You’re going to find a friend who will listen while you brag about yourself?? But writing things down is one thing. Voicing them out loud makes them real and allows you to put conviction behind what you are saying. We are taught to be humble, to be quiet about our victories. This is an exercise in throwing those societal constraints to the wind. This exercise requires practice. If you find that you don’t have anyone that is willing to listen, then this might be good information. Who do you surround yourself by? Cheerleaders, or people who thrive on drama and want to bring you down?
Listen to Holy by Jamila Woods.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I am not suggesting that you can’t begin your love affair with the world until you have mastered your personal love affair, but it’s vital to have prioritized yourself before you dive in on others. Remember, until you fall madly in love with yourself, there is no such thing as love with another. Not real love. There’s a fake, young, temperamental, empty expression of love. That version will never leave you filled up.
So how do you fall madly in love with the world?
Orient your cosmology of love to extend beyond preferences, opinions, and assessments. I don’t know that you can fall madly in love with the world if there isn’t a willingness to really work with the word unconditional.
I am not saying allow, accept, or tolerate unjust, immoral, or abusive ways of being. I am saying assume the best of people. Allow yourself to be wowed by generosity, creativity, and compassion. Be willing to trust the inherent goodness that exists in ALL people. And practice forgiveness. A lot.
There is no love in the world without the “f” word.
When you set an intention to walk in love, to look for love, and to speak with love, you will find the presence is all around you. It is a choice each and every day to look beyond the physical circumstances and conditions and hold a higher and greater possibility of love.
It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
Love yourself. Love the world.
And it will be easier to love everything — good, bad, tough, or challenging — that comes your way.
“My work is loving the world.” — Mary Oliver