Why Is It So Hard to Love Ourselves?

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Posted on February 23, 2021

Because we are afraid of pain. We believe that burying our pain, our feelings of not being enough, our fear of being too much, or not being loveable, will protect us and keep us safe. Yet, the reality is that by burying our pain and holding on to it, our mind creates even more fearful stories to validate these false beliefs, continues to feed the fear, until we turn against ourselves. We are resisting the love that is available to us always and without condition, out of fear of being hurt.

We belittle ourselves with our constant negative self-talk, we hold ourselves to unrealistic perfectionist standards, we continue to push ourselves to achieve “success”, and we resist receiving what we actually want, because we don’t believe that we deserve it. Therefore, giving our inner critic even more reason to lay it on us hard.

What a terrible cycle and oh am I guilty of this. As a former professional athlete and recovering perfectionist, I still struggle with this every single day. I push myself by constantly adding on, wanting to do everything on my own, and not accepting anything but the best results. My inner critic has been a close companion for as long as I can remember and a part of me recognizes her role in my accomplishments and successes - and I thank her for keeping me motivated when I was ready to give up and when things got hard. But, the wiser and softer part of me also realizes how damaging this inner voice has been and that I let her run too much of my life for too long – she was motivating me from a place of lack, fear of failure and fear of abandonment and keeping me in a place of avoidance when it came to feeling and connecting deeply. This left me hardened and living largely from my masculine energy.

For the past year, I have been diligently working to open my heart and to practice receiving. As I am turning my attention inward and learning to love myself more, I have been craving that deep, scary, almost painful connection that I know is possible -- with a special someone but also with myself. There is an undeniable surge of pure, sensual energy swelling up inside of me, from the depths of my divine portal, the portal of life and all creation. Because this is my natural, feminine way… it is my true nature.

Where along the way did I forget? When did I shut this down? How and when did it start to feel unsafe to be soft, gentle, in flow with my own cyclical rhythm and the flow of creation and life itself? At what point did I decide to criticize and push myself, hardening my soft heart and body? When did I start to believe that controlling my circumstances would keep me safe and comfortable?

Life is weird that way. We are born open, completely receptive. Pure love and joy just pouring out with no fear or limitations. Then over time we are hurt, confused, and shut down until we build really thick and high walls to hide behind and we create a shiny armor that we show to the world--all the while forgetting our true nature.

We believe building this armor will keep us safe from the outside world and in turn, we actually trap our pain inside, creating an inside world that is unsafe. Neither of course are true. Neither the outside, nor the inside are unsafe or safe. They just are. Everything is just energy that is either flowing or is being blocked. It is all about surrendering and aligning with the flow of life – at times joyful, exhilarating and full of love and at times painful, filled with frustration, sadness, grief and anger.

Fact is that pain and discomfort are unavoidable. Change is part of life and change often comes with discomfort and even pain. It is simply part of life and there is so much in life and the Universe that we are not in control of – actually most of it. Yet we spend our life fearing, worrying, hiding and trying our best to control our circumstances.  All we end up doing is closing and restricting the flow of life. We cut off the life force energy that wants to move through us.

As I said, life is weird because it often takes pain and discomfort, to actually set us free. What we try to avoid at all costs is what can actually set us free and bring us closer to our Self. A triggering painful experience, something that gets at our core wounds, is what will eventually crack those thick walls. The key is to get to a point in our spiritual journey where we no longer try to build a thicker sturdier wall but instead have the courage to let the light shine through the cracks to illuminate that which wants to be set free. Pain is therefore a necessary part of our human experience and our spiritual journey.

What then happened that triggered this craving for a deeper connection within me? It was many things and many years of healing and aligning with Spirit. But the most recent triggering event was deeply felt grief caused by being rejected for my true self by someone I had a soul connection with. I was rejected for being a witchy, powerful, feminine, and sexual woman – for being too much and not palatable enough. Rejected for the woman I am becoming as a result of the conscious work and healing I am doing.

The thing about a karmic relationship is that the soul connection and all the feelings are real, but the karma shines a light on what needs to be healed on a human and spiritual level. I have lived many previous lives as women who had no choice but to hide their gifts and to be palatable, or else face being killed or ostracized. But this life is different. I know that this time around, I am here to live out my truth, my authentic self, no matter how scary or uncomfortable at times. I have been healing my wound of being “too much” or “not loveable” and this karmic encounter, no matter how painful, was just what I needed to go to new depths within and to love, nurture and accept myself first.

So, while this experience was hurtful, it was also beautiful. It softened and empowered me at the same time. All it took was the courage to sit with the pain and the grief and to allow it to crack my heart open and to feel it all without erecting another wall. Instead, it has left me open, craving an even deeper connection with myself and with someone who will encourage me to go to even scarier depths and to become even more powerfully connected to my feminine essence.

I say this often and I will say it again - spiritual awakening and transformation is not for the faint of heart. It is work and it requires courage. It requires us to face what we keep hidden and to become very uncomfortable and vulnerable. It requires facing our inner demons, the pain we tuck away so deeply in order to avoid feeling it -- thinking that not feeling will keep us safe. Instead, we contort our identity, behaviors, and our environment to avoid this pain – and it is keeping disconnected from our true Self and from living the life we were meant to live.

Life is to be lived and to be experienced. Love is accessible always as at our core we are love. It is our job to become aware, to become conscious of our tendency to contract and close ourselves off from love and life itself. This is the practice and the healing journey… to become ever more aware, peeling the layers, and then to allow the energy to flow instead of restricting it, no matter how uncomfortable. This is self-love and this is true freedom.