Episode #61: The Most Important Thing to Do this Valentine’s Day
As you know, coming up is Valentine’s day, so today’s topic is really on my mind. It’s a term that is almost disgusting at this point because we’re so sick of hearing about it, I think, and that is self-love. When I hear that term, I think about bubble baths and bath salts, and there have been times where that’s exactly what I want. Nonetheless, this is not a thing that in and of itself means I’m loving myself, so I want to break down some barriers that we often have against self-love, and I want to tell you about what self-love actually is and what it could look like for you. Really, self-love is at the heart of everything we talk about on this show, and it is at the heart of all genuine, lasting personal growth.
Self-love is inner work. It’s an inner experience of acceptance, of appreciation. At the most basic level even before that, it’s just, “Can I allow myself? Can I allow myself to be fully here now?” So the essence of self-love is 100% allowance of all that is here now.
I’m your host, Caneel Joyce, and today, I am connecting with you from a new space. You might hear a little echo. Just moved into a new house, a little short-term rental here while my other house gets renovated and ready to sell, and it’s been a really busy, super fun couple of months of lots of change and transition.
Today’s topic is really on my mind. As you know, coming up is Valentine’s day. This year, 2021, is going to look pretty different than maybe how you normally spend Valentine’s day. Perhaps you’ve got a sweetie pie and you might go out to dinner typically, and that’s depending on where you live in the country, not maybe what you’re going to do. Maybe you’ve been living with the same person and you are sick as can be of being with them, and maybe you are single, or with friends, or family. Whatever the case may be, there’s always an opportunity to celebrate love.
Even Eros kind of love, that romantic love. How do we do it? It’s a term that is almost disgusting at this point because we’re so sick of hearing about it, I think, and that is self-love. Self-love is really on my mind because I’ve been packing and unpacking, and setting up all sorts of technology here in this new space, and getting my dog used to it. You might’ve just heard him bark there, and I really could use some self-love, so I want to break down some barriers that we often have against self-love, and I want to tell you about what self-love actually is and what it could look like for you, why it’s important.
Now, before I dive into that, I want to thank you. For those of you who listened to last week’s episode, it was the first time that I announced that we are launching our Allowed membership program. This is a live, interactive coaching program, and so many of you reached back out and said you want to know more, super interesting, so I’ve even decided I’m going to be hosting some live video events that you can learn about at caneel.com/yes, and I’ll be answering your questions and actually engaging you in helping to shape what this program is going to be. If you’ve been listening to this show for a while, and you’re getting curious about, “How much more freedom could I find in my own life, in my own heart? How much more alive could I feel?”
“Could I drop the shame, and guilt, and anxiety, and pressure I put upon myself? Could I drop any sense of self-blame, and in so doing, access more power, creativity, vitality, aliveness, and success than I ever thought was possible?” Sounds too good to be true. When you go to caneel.com/yes, you will read some genuine testimonials from people who have gone through a piece of this program already. I’ve had people engaged in a part of it for about a year.
Through their feedback, it’s evolved, and now I’m opening it wide open to you, so I want you to go check that out at caneel.com/yes, and please sign up to learn more so that you can be invited when I host these live video events, and you can ask your questions, or maybe just go ahead and sign right up. I can’t wait for that to get started, and it’s starting very soon, so hop on board with us and let’s explore together. All right, so self-love. When I hear that term, I think about bubble baths and bath salts, and going to get a massage, or maybe eating a decadent piece of chocolate cake. When I think about those things, I think that’s been what’s been kind of represented to me by our commercially-driven society.
So many products advertised as if you buy this, this is the key, and you will have self-love. I also notice on the inside, I feel like, “Ugh, I don’t want to do any of those things. That’s not what I’m in the mood for right now. That actually doesn’t feel super loving to me. That feels like I’m trying on somebody else’s shoes,” and there have been times where that’s exactly what I want. I do love a good massage.
Nonetheless, this is not a thing that in and of itself means I’m loving myself, so first off, why does it even matter, because I am going to get to what you can do about it, but first let’s just look at why? Why does self-love matter? Really, self-love is at the heart of everything we talk about on this show, and it is at the heart and core of all genuine, lasting personal growth. Self-love is the essential ingredient in integrating all of the parts of yourself so that you can work with your shadow and overcome some of the ways that you hold yourself back, and create suffering for yourself and others. By loving all parts of ourselves, we actually are able then to access all of our talents, all of our strengths, all of our power, our creativity, our wholeness, but if you can imagine, most of us are walking around with a pretty significant list of the parts of ourselves we wish we could change, ignore, or make go away.
In its most pernicious form, this shows up as we get triggered by other people, and we say it’s about them, when in fact, there’s so much, what’s called projection going on. I see a piece of me over there in you, and I don’t like that part of me, and so now, I’m going to be blaming you, making you wrong, getting myself all worked up and triggered. I’m going to get reactive almost immediately, and I suffer. I get distracted from the present moment and from the joy of being a fully alive human being on the planet. I really get distracted from my soul’s work, my soul’s purpose when that happens, and it’s completely human, normal, and there’s lots we can learn from that too, so I want to be really clear.
None of this dynamic of triggering and shadow is wrong. Disowning parts of ourself is a natural, normal, healthy part of growing up. It’s a coping mechanism, and it also is kind of what draws us to others. As we learned, it’s like, “Ooh, there’s something about you I’m really attracted to.” That often is us awakening to that quality in ourselves, and once you’re years into a relationship, you often discover, “Ooh, you remind me of the worst parts of myself, or of my brother and the way that he always made me mad,” and [Brett 00:09:30], you did not make me mad as you know. We have a great relationship, but, “You remind me of my father or my mother.”
“Why is it that this pattern keeps coming around again, and again, and again?” Partly why we’re attracted to people is because on some level, our wisdom is saying, “Hey, there’s an opportunity for you to wake up to this piece of you to stop blaming it, to stop disowning it, to actually see, ‘Hmm, if I twist this around a bit and I access those qualities in a more conscious way, coming from a loving place, now I’ve accessed my power.'” If that all sounds pretty abstract, stick with me. I hope what I’m convincing you of is that self-love is critically important, and self-love is inner work. It’s an inner experience of acceptance, of appreciation.
At the most basic level even before that, it’s just, “Can I allow myself? Can I allow myself to be fully here now?” The essence of self-love is 100% allowance of all that is here now. If you’re not operating a motorized vehicle or heavy-duty machinery, take a moment here and just close your eyes, and I’ll guide you through a very brief experience of what this feels like. Right now, just imagine that you have never had a name.
It was removed from all memory. It never existed, and now you’re here, the one without a name, and put yourself in this inner experience. There might be sounds coming in. Can you allow exactly what you hear to be exactly as it is without anything needing to change at all about that? Can you allow light to come through?
Notice how, if you drop this idea, that there’s a big distinction between what’s inside and what’s outside. All of it is pure presence and experience, so can you allow all of that light, and shape, and form that’s reflected there for you? You might notice that emotions and body sensations arise. Can you allow all of those to be here exactly as they are? Nothing you need to do about them, they’re just arising. You might even notice some stories and thoughts, perhaps some judgements, some worries.
There might be emotions connected to those thoughts, and can you allow all of those judgments, even the judgements you have about your thoughts? You allow all of those to be here exactly as they are right now. Poof, you did it. Open your eyes. However successful you felt in that experience is immaterial. It has nothing to do with how well you did.
That’s another judgment, and allow that to be here just as it is. That experience of I am with what is here, from that place, if we really can connect to that, even here with, “I am fully present and I’m with what’s here, that I claim I don’t like.” That’s the feeling of self-love. Pretty different than buying a bath bomb at Whole Foods and dropping it in the tub. Now, you can do this wherever you like, and maybe the tub is the best place to do it for you. Maybe it’s on a walk.
Maybe it’s just sitting on your front steps or laying in bed with a pillow over your head, and your blanket’s over you, and laying in a fetal position and crying. Whatever it is, that is what you’re being drawn to do, allowing that moment to be exactly as it is in you, allowing all of the parts of you, the ugly parts, the bad parts, the parts you blame and shame, the parts that feel guilty, allowing all of those to be there with you just as they are. When we do that, we are accessing our restorative zone of genius, and we talked deeply about that concept in episode nine, if you want to go back and listen later. You’re accessing that restorative zone of genius, that way that you and only you uniquely add value to yourself and the world by restoring, and it’s a private experience, and it’s a private experience we can have with other people around, or we can have it in a place that we call “Private.” The point is, it’s in you.
In episode number two, my friend, Luke Entrup was on the show, and he and I had a conversation about shadow, and Luke is one of the world’s foremost experts in shadow. We talked about how we can learn to actually hold our shadows out in front of us, those parts of ourselves that we disown, or we deny, or we repress. We can actually bring those forward into the light and just look at them, and doing it from a place of it’s not wrong, it’s not bad. Yes, I deny this part sometimes. I disown it, I blame others, I get triggered, but all of that is all fine.
That’s allowed, this is allowed, but now, from this place, I have so much more stability and openness to a different level of learning and love than was possible before, and so I can actually begin to access the power in that shadow, and I can integrate it, so I can take things out of shadow and bring them into light, and turn them into the gifts that they truly are no matter what they are. Enneagram is a great teacher of this. That’s another lens that we can talk about in a future episode, but one of the things about Enneagram is it points out, “Here’s the ways that you’re likely to disown some parts of yourself, and here’s how you’ll show up when you’ve integrated.” You whole, beautiful beings, whatever you are feeling today, this week, on Valentine’s day, it is all allowed. It’s lovable, and when you love yourself in that now moment, it is just a little slice that is eternal, it’s just a little moment in time, it’s not a thing we have to hold onto and make last forever because it is always here, we just sometimes forget, but when we can hold onto that present moment or like access that present moment for just that little slice of time, we’ve just opened ourselves to love, and from there, we can give endless amounts of love and really bring our zone of genius out into the world.
It’s a journey. It’s a present moment experience. It’s not a result, some end state. It’s not something we cling to or hold onto. It’s a thing we drop into. I hope that you give yourself some of that juicy self-love.
I’d love to take you deeper into this process. One of the first things we’re doing in the membership that I mentioned earlier, again, it’s at caneel.com/yes, to learn more about that and get yourself signed up as a founding member, but one of the things that we’re doing first is we’re going to actually spend three months, and I’m going to take you through a deep, profound, and amazingly enjoyable experience of discovering your zone of genius. This is a rite of passage that gets you ready for the next phases ahead, and it’s about a three-month long process. You’re going to get tons of amazing feedback about your unique zone of genius, and I know that many of us, we often don’t even see it in ourselves until it’s reflected back at us, and so I want you to give yourself that gift so that you can also give those gifts to the world around you. Please subscribe to the show if you haven’t yet because I have a lot more to tell you about this topic of love.
We’re going to dive into brotherly love, we’re going to dive into loving thy enemy in future episodes, and we’ve got a lot more good stuff to announce about events and other things that are coming up, so please subscribe to the show. If you haven’t done that yet, open up your app, hit subscribe. Please leave us a rating, a review. That would be really, really helpful to us and a great sign of your appreciation in your enrollment, and it helps other people find the show. All right.
That was a piece of self-love for myself because it makes me super nervous when I ask for things like that sometimes, or I make me super nervous, I should say, but I did it. Thank you. Love you, guys. Have a great Valentine’s day. See you next time.