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Try not to cringe…But it’s time to talk about self-love



I know, I know… the term “self-love” is triggering your gag reflex. Tap your forehead and take a deep breath.

My fingers are crossed that you’re still here. I get it. You’re over self-love.

It feels gross to you at this point because it became a major social media buzzword and we were constantly hearing about it.

Gut reaction, when I hear “self-love,” I picture indulgent, hours-long bubble baths perfumed with fresh eucalyptus and lavender bath salts. And truth be told, at times that has been exactly what I wanted.

There are a lot of tools to help you along the path of self-love, helping you to connect to presence and relish yourself.

But you and I both know that a bath bomb from Whole Foods isn’t really self-love.

The reason why it became such a popular term and concept is that it truly does matter.

At the most basic level self-love is allowing yourself, all parts of you, to be present. It’s inner work. It’s an inner experience of acceptance, of appreciation.

The essence of self-love is 100% allowance of all that is here.

Self-love is the essential ingredient in integrating all of the parts of yourself so you can overcome some of the ways that you hold yourself back.

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. Over time that list evolves into feeling like you’ve never had a chance to truly be yourself. Then the feelings of loneliness bubble up, because it feels like no one knows the “real” you.

How we cope with that looks like everything from isolation, over-imbibing, getting reactive with loved ones, all the way over to self-harm.

That is the opposite of self-love.

We grow up learning to hide parts of ourselves. That we need to be perfect. That we need to earn love from others. To unconditionally love ourselves goes against everything we’ve learned. Self-love is radical because it’s hard and powerful.

Squishing those parts of yourself down feels easier than opening up Pandora’s box because it became second nature. At some point in your life, you were told that certain parts of you are not allowed or accepted. It takes willpower and a heavy dose of discomfort to reject the boxes we’ve placed ourselves in for so long.

Let me tell you this plainly. All of you is allowed and all of you is deserving of love.

Committing to self-love is an uphill battle. It requires unlearning a lot of the stories we’ve been told. It requires acknowledging the ways we’ve betrayed ourselves by hiding our authentic selves. But that reflection and commitment to choosing love, instead of shame and judgment, is essential for living an empowered life.

By loving all parts of yourself, you can access all of your talents, strengths, power, creativity, and wholeness.

From a place of allowance and acceptance, with that superpower that only you can bestow upon yourself, you can start to integrate your dark, shadowy parts and turn them into gifts.

Yep, you can turn the parts of yourself you want to deny into gifts that serve you.

It takes acceptance and it takes allowing yourself to be exactly who you are.

Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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