Relinquishing the Armor

Wednesday morning I was posting the quote we shared on our blog and it proclaimed that self love is not selfish. And I had this brush, this whisper of inspiration and it went like this:

We must go inside and honestly figure out how to love ourselves — right now, as we are. How else will we know what our “yes” or “no” really is. We only ever know how to do anything from personal experience.

So if we don’t love ourselves, we don’t learn:
Accepting love
Forgiving love
Growth love
Changing love
“I am OK” love
“I am hurt” love

Sarah Blondin, in her meditation series Coming Home to Yourself, talks about how we’ve hidden our hearts away but rediscovering them, honoring them is the only way home, the only way to freedom.

If the heart of our own body is indeed our home — it is very well the seat of our humanity and love.

We are often guided to make decisions from our heart. That’s good advice. The question is do you know your own heart? What do you hold within it and what do you keep outside of it?

This conversation of love and self-love isn’t for the meek and the mild. We must find our inner warrior. Not because love is a battlefield (for all your Pat Benatar fans) but because it requires tenacity.  A warrior is defined as “a person engaged in some struggle or conflict.”

The honest, deep, hard truth is frequently we are engaged in conflict — most often within ourselves. Much like Glennon Doyle talks about being a Love Warrior in her book, we are being called to be the same.

If we are not willing to stay the course in the conflict of our own heart and find peace how will we ever be able to withstand it for another or with others?

We cannot truly accept the flawed nature of another until we fully embrace the flawed nature of ourselves. That is love in its most basic and bold. We cannot engineer ourselves out of being human and imperfect — many have tried.

Self-love is a messy business because we have all the wrong ideas.

We think it’s:
We think it’s all “I love everyone and myself we all just hang here in mediocrity.”

Self-love is “Wow, I messed that up totally. I will probably make more mistakes because that’s how I’ve always learned.”

Kids learn by making mistakes not because they are kids but because they are human. We got the erroneous belief (or at least I did) that we outgrow mistakes. What we’ve outgrown is courage, humility and bravery. We say we understand we’ll make mistakes but we do everything in our power to never actually make one.

We are willing — so painfully willing — to die without ever having once colored outside the lines — and for what?

I ask myself this all the time and the answers matter. But they matter because they tell you where you’re stuck. They don’t matter in their content because they are illusions.

How often do you worry about how you’ll be perceived, received or judged? If I am really honest and get past the clever tricks of my mind– the answer is a lot.

Guess what? I am willing to bet every other human is doing the same at least 50% as often. We don’t worry about others all day, we worry about what others think of us all day.

But we judge what others are doing because it dulls the pain of our own inaction, missteps or unattended dream. That is all.

Now that judgment is frequently harsh, mean-spirited or go-for-the-jugular quality but it’s all coming from the same place — our own internal conflict and disconnect– our hidden heart.

Just when you thought I couldn’t bring this home — here we are — back to the beginning.

Friends, I know these things to be true because I have witnessed them, felt them, done them. Yes — even the mean-spirited judgement. But now I recognize that as a call to look within and less of a reason to self-judge or criticize.

The last thing any of us needs is more criticism. We are lousy with criticism.

You cannot provide genuine forgiveness until you have fully experienced the feeling of providing it to yourself.

You cannot provide acceptance until you have given to yourself the feeling of — “OK I get to be here even in this flawed, human, struggling state.”

You cannot love another without acceptance and forgiveness, it’s not possible. It’s something else but it’s not genuine love.

I know this sounds painful. It’s painful to write because I am still on my own way. But I get better at it — and you will too. Instead of resisting the discomfort, acknowledge the truth of it. We learned these behaviors, which is different than, this is who I am.

Un-armor your heart first and foremost to yourself. And then see who else has earned the right in your inner circle. It will be scary. It won’t always work out but it will be worth it.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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