Harnessing Self-Love

By Claire Lam

One of the many things I love about music is how the lyrics can often have so many interpretations. A song came on my Pandora mix today that ignited this stream of consciousness. The song was “Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills. (I’m part flower child in terms of music preference - thanks to my dad.) 

It got me thinking … wow, here is the actual love potion for self-love. Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have in your life. So first and foremost, you must love the one you’re with - that means YOU must love YOU. Honestly, this should be a BFO statement (Blinding Flash of the Obvious.) You’re welcome.

But in all seriousness, some of us forget that loving ourselves is the most important love of all because we’ve lost sight of what truly loving our self means. 

I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the expression “putting the cart before the horse,” right? This idiom is used to describe a situation where things are done in the wrong order (i.e. putting the cart that needs to be pulled by the horse in front of said horse.) It’s ridiculous to imagine because it makes no logical sense.

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
- Oscar Wilde

Being brutally honest because that’s what we do here, I know what it’s like to put the proverbial love cart before the self-love horse. I did not embody self-love for much of my 20’s.  It may sound crazy, but I couldn’t identify with myself, let alone love who I was. Who was this “me” person? My love cart was just spastically rolling down the hill with no horse to help navigate the slippery slope. That was true until my cart hit something that broke it into pieces. 

Looking back now, there was a point in my life where I had no clue who I really was without a mask. I had no clue how to live my truth. Can we just say this was not good… Only I could detect the mask. Disguising it was possible for a while, which is scary as fuck to think about because so many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. The crazier thing is that the cheerier the mask appears to others, the less people suspect anything as inauthentic. I believe there are a lot of people wearing masks out there in the world, and thus, unfortunately, a lot of horse-less carts.

Deep diving to find yourself is rarely a pretty or quick process. It is as raw and real as it gets. You are as vulnerable and exposed to the world surrounding you as the day you were born. Maybe this is why we try to nonchalantly skip over some serious soul searching when we know it’s exactly what we need. We try to maneuver over the horse entirely and consider that overcoming.

No big deal, right? Wrong! 

I believe the horse represents the strength from self-discovery and ultimately self-love. With this, you’re able to compose your unique beliefs and values to carry in your cart and be yourself - your true self. Overtime, your cart fills with all kinds of authentic love and stimulation. I’ve found that your cart will be overflowing and full but (thankfully) not heavy and crushing. It’s a new start towards abundant life.

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.
- Roy Disney

A friendly tip full of love: your love cart should not be ghetto-rigged to guide itself. Invest the time and energy into finding your horse. You’ll be so glad when you find your true strength and undeniable confidence to be true to yourself. If you believe you have skipped this first step and stumbled, (or crashed completely like I did - no shame, just own it,) it’s never too late to saddle up even if you have to start the fuck over. And guess what? That’s okay. Keep it real and you do you (as long as doing you is making you stronger and more stimulated in the long-run.) 

Stop and think for a minute: could you truly describe your core beliefs and values to someone - even if it’s only to yourself? If you can’t (and even if you can,) write them down this week and marinade over them. Live your truth AND live your life all at once. 

I hope you’ll feel a surge of self-love and be energized by your values, your decisions, and the people & priorities in your life. I hope you will remember that in self-awareness we must first love the one we’re with.



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