The Inviting Shift Podcast

S2 Episode 9: Nurturing the Self: Exploring Self-Love

October 03, 2023 Christina Smith Season 2 Episode 9
The Inviting Shift Podcast
S2 Episode 9: Nurturing the Self: Exploring Self-Love
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered what self-love truly means? It's a term bandied around, often misconstrued as narcissism or vanity. Well, dear listeners, we're here to set the record straight - self-love is all about recognizing your worth, accepting your flaws, and being kind to yourself when you stumble. It's not about reaching some unattainable standard of perfection. It's about empathy and compassion, extended to the person you should care about the most - yourself.

In our insightful chat, we delve into the nuances of self-love, differentiating it from self-care, and explaining why both are vital for a fulfilling life. However, if you think self-love is a tricky concept, don't worry, we've got your back. We break down the keys to self-love into five accessible components: compassion, courage, curiosity, clarity, and choice. We also discuss the power of grounding ourselves, treating ourselves with the same care we would show to someone we truly respect. We dive into the concept of the 'mother archetype' and how it can guide us in reparenting ourselves, fostering compassion, and grace.

In the realm of self-love, inner archetypes play a significant role. We explore the mother, lover, and queen archetypes, revealing how they can fuel our inner love. The warrior energy, though often getting in the way of self-love, isn't left out. We talk about how to navigate it for a healthier relationship with ourselves. So, what does self-love look like for you? We encourage you to join our enlightening discourse as we journey through the fascinating world of self-love.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back, shifters. This month, in October, we are going to talk about self love, and we are going to talk about it in real ways. The episode that comes after this one will be a round table from some of my favorite people that will talk about what their version of self love is. But in this episode we're going to talk about what self love is, what it is and how we can have more of it. So let's get started, because self love is so hard, isn't it? We often don't even know what self love really is, so it can be really, really challenging for us to really step into self love, and it's such a like gitchy kind of word where we're not even sure what that means anymore. Almost like when we say stress. Stress is just all the uncomfortable emotions that we're having, right? Well, self love, it's not something that we're taught, and I can tell you this because, in fact, I looked up the definition and I want to read the definition to you as I found it. It says the instinct by which one's actions are directed to the promotion of one's own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one's advantage. Second conceit vanity. So if we're taught that self love is a negative if it's wrong, right. There's a really negative connotation to that, as if all people who have self love are somehow narcissists. I think that that's such crap. It's no wonder that self love is such a hard thing for us women to really grasp onto. Even in midlife, even after 40 years of living, self love can be really hard to grasp onto because we have this cultural identity that self love is narcissism, conceit, vanity, manipulation, even and this is what religion communities a lot of them love this definition because they can encourage you to take care of only other people. But there's some huge problems in that and I don't believe in that, and the reason is because I think that the world would be a better place if we all had a really grounded sense of self love.

Speaker 1:

And what I mean by a sense of self love is that we really do focus on ourselves. We focus on how we're showing up, how we want to show up, what it is that we want to show up, what it is that we need in life, asking for help. All of these things have to do with self love, or my version, my vision of self love. And here's the bonuses of when we actually work on ourselves and work on our self love. When we love ourselves deeply, we can work deeply on ourselves because we feel deeply incapable of becoming better. So when we have a lot of self love self worth, self esteem it means that we actually feel capable of doing better and we encourage ourselves to do better. So we focus on the thing that we actually control, which is ourselves, how we show up to things.

Speaker 1:

It's not about focusing on others and that's not to say that when we have a lot of self love, we often want to care for others. If we're all full up and we feel really good about ourselves, we usually have the energy and the wherewithal to take better care of other people. So when we are focused on self love, it means that we're focused on what we can control and then we have more to give. When we have self love, we have more courage and resilience to go through tough stuff. So when we have self love, we have a lot of compassion for ourselves. This isn't about self love. I become perfect, so I just think I'm better than everyone. Self love is really loving all the flaws, all the icky stuff about ourselves, the things that we don't like about ourselves, being compassionate when we make mistakes. So when we are more compassionate, when we embrace more of our humanness and our ability to make mistakes, that means that we actually can move through things a lot smoother. We can try things that are a little bit riskier, at least on the uncomfortable side, and we can actually move through them. So that's really essential If we want to have emotional agility, the ability to have all the emotions and keep moving forward, have the fear and keep moving forward.

Speaker 1:

A lot of that comes from self love, and I know that a lot of us think that it comes from shaming ourselves. Because if you grew up Catholic, like me, that was one of the things. Every time we make a mistake, we got to punish ourselves so we don't make that mistake again. And let me tell you what Brene Brown says about that. Brene Brown says that shame breaks the very part of us that thinks that we're capable of change. Shame breaks down the very part of us that thinks that we're capable of change. What can help us move forward is self-love, because that self-love can lead to self-confidence. And if we think about this from a parenting example, right, if a parent's always telling you you're not good enough and you're making too many mistakes and you're doing it wrong and you're not enough or you're too much, then we don't build that self-confidence. But if we're encouraged and loved and supported, we build self-confidence and we can do more. So this is a way where we're building our own self-confidence by parenting ourselves in a really, really great way.

Speaker 1:

Another thing that happens when we have self-love is we fulfill our own needs without expecting others to do it for us. We get clear on what we want and we get more of it. The way that I was taught was you fulfill other people's needs and then you kind of sit back and wait for other people to fulfill yours. And there's a lot of things that are wrong with that. One of them is I played this game for so long and I would try to do things for other people so that they would feel loved. But the problem was I was coming from my perspective, so I would have to guess what it is that would help them feel loved. Right, I would have to guess all that stuff and then I'd have to try to give it to them in a way in which they wanted it. All of that when really, if I knew what I needed, I could fulfill that and not get resentful Because I always see all these memes that are like oh well, don't expect other people to treat you the way that you treat them.

Speaker 1:

Of course their experience is different, the way that they want to be treated is different, so they don't really see the world in all of the ways that we can perceive it. There's a billion, there's 6 billion, 7 billion people on the planet. There's probably 6 or 7 billion different ideas of what love, what friendship, what partnership looks like. And so when we go after getting clear on what we want and really fulfilling that for ourselves or asking for specific help around that, it's so much easier for the other person to give us what we want and they don't have to guess. So we don't have to keep guessing what will make everyone else happy if we know what will make us happy. And again, that doesn't mean that we're not serving other people, but when we're fulfilled, we naturally, as a species, will help other people if we are truly fulfilled. So I just want us to see that we don't have to get resentful and other people aren't going to see friendship, partnership, whatever relationship, the same way that we are. They're not going to want the same things. They're probably not going to need the same things.

Speaker 1:

So if we can all have enough self-love to really know ourselves, to really get in deep with ourselves, then we can figure out how we can move through life getting what we want and what we need in a good way. We can ask for it more clearly and we don't have to guess what everybody in our life needs so that we can be that people pleaser. When we're in a contract and this goes back to that same point is often we build these contracts like I'm going to do these things for you and then you're going to do those things for me. But what happens when we do that, when we are in this world where we truly believe that it's all about serving each other and not ourselves, is that once you stop doing that one thing that I thought you were doing for me, then I get resentful and I might stop doing the thing that you need, and so this whole house of dominoes falls, and we don't want that.

Speaker 1:

So avoiding that house of dominoes is by really taking good care of ourselves. Again, this doesn't mean that we're not going to serve others. Of course we are. That's who we are as a human species. We want to help others, and a lot of us are helping other people when our needs are not being met. We're giving people what they want when we're not getting what we need, and when that happens, our gas tank is running empty, our energy is running empty we can get more into that wounded, child part of ourselves and start telling ourselves stories about how other people don't care about us and we don't care about ourselves.

Speaker 1:

But self-love is all about how do I care for myself, my needs, my wants, so that I can give more. So if we really looked at it that way rather than the dictionary definition, which is crap, that is where we would stand. It would be with I'm going to take care of myself as much as I can, ask for help where I need it, and then I can take care of other people as well. And I really learned about self-love when I was on a woman within weekends. If you haven't looked up woman within international before, there's regions all over the world that help women go through these transformational weekends, and I sat in this room of 60 women and the only way I got convinced to go there was, out of the 48 hours, there would be 24 hours of silence, meaning there was no chit chat, right. So I thought, well, if I can't talk, I can't mess things up, right, I can't embarrass myself. But what I really learned in that silence was that when I'm in my own pain, when I'm in my own discomfort, I really want to take care of other people, because that's what I was taught right.

Speaker 1:

So in the past, when I was uncomfortable, I would start going oh how are you? What can I do for you? How can I support you? And it was a way of avoiding my own stuff. I was avoiding looking at the hard stuff that was going on in my life. I was avoiding looking at the uncomfortable stuff, the uncomfortable feelings, and so I really wanted to care for someone else. And that was like a big thing. Giant light bulb in my life was like wow, when I'm uncomfortable, I wanna take care of other people. And I'm not saying that that's a bad thing. What I am saying is it helped me avoid the work and the inner processing that I needed to do for what had been going on in my life. And so sometimes we can serve other people as a distraction of really doing our own work, because isn't it easier to go do something for someone else, make someone else happy, do a lot of people pleasing, and then not have to think about my own stuff. But the thing is, when I'm done serving other people, my stuff is still there and then I have to find a different distraction and a different way to avoid doing the work. Or I could do the work right, and that's the work of self-love.

Speaker 1:

Self-love is not like some big fuzzy thing where we just care about ourselves and we just indulge ourselves in everything. For me, self-love is actually doing the work of seeing ourselves as worthy of love and affection, even though we are the closest to ourselves and we can see all the mistakes. We can see our flaws, our embarrassing moments, our discomfort, our fears, all of our not-enoughness or too muchness. Right, that is the work of self-love. It's accepting all of those things that make us really uncomfortable with ourselves, that make us really really human. Right, self-love is sitting with that discomfort until we can move through it. Self-love is also having that huge compassion for ourselves. Compassion and I was like capital C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N, all capitals.

Speaker 1:

Compassion because we're human, we're not robots. And in this world today, this, technologically, two plus two equals four, and everything should make it easier, Like everything, all the technology and everything should just make our lives easier, and so we know what we should do right. And, as Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we do better, and I'd love to believe that's true, but I know that there's a lot of things I know better on, and I still do them right. So I want us to give ourselves a break that just because we learn something doesn't mean we apply it every time. And that is human, that is not a malfunction of ourselves. That's actually really seeing the humanness in us, that we have ego, we have emotions, we have fears, we have things that are going to throw us off track. So we may not always be 100% the best person, our higher self, the best person we wanna be. So that's what compassion is about is really being gentle with our humanness, as I always say, is really understanding that our humanness means that we're not robots, we're not going to get it right all the time, and having enough compassion to go. Yep, that's very human of me to have an ego and wanna get defensive, or that's very human of me to try to shame myself into acting better. Right, but having the compassion and being able to witness it and still love ourselves through it.

Speaker 1:

Another way of self love is seeking clarity, knowing more about ourselves, really understanding ourselves. We just went through the sage archetype in the modern midlife mentorship last month and this is all about knowing everything about ourselves, knowing how we relate to the world, how we relate in relationships, how we show up for ourselves, how we show up for others, how we show up for the world. Right. We can't get that clarity if we're so busy distracting ourselves by serving others or whatever addiction. Whatever is our distraction in our life? Scrolling Facebook, right? The clarity has to come through lots of work and processing and asking ourselves really good questions.

Speaker 1:

Another way that we have self love, another key of self love, is having courage, having courage to go, do the things that we wanna do. We have a calling in our heart. It's about looking at that fear in the face and being able to take a breath and moving forward anyway, even with those fears, right. So courage is one player in how we really love ourselves. Another one is being really curious instead of judgmental, because that's where we want to go. Right. We go back to shaming and judging ourselves for being lazy or loud or bitchy, whatever it is right. So instead of having those judgments.

Speaker 1:

Self-love is about being curious. Hmm, that's interesting that I showed up that way. I wonder why I showed up that way. I wonder what triggered me. I wonder how I can do that better in the future. Curiosity kills judgment. We want to stay in curiosity. And then one of the other keys is making really good choices for ourselves, and this one can be hard, especially if we haven't done the other things right. Compassion, courage is hard. If we're making really poor choices for ourselves to avoid those things, right. If all we're doing is distracting ourselves, then those choices are not leading us to self-love. They're leading us to just living a distracted life.

Speaker 1:

Another thing that I think is really important when we talk about self-love is self-worth believing that we are worthy of what we need and want. Often we want other people to provide our needs and wants for us, because it's a way of external validation of them telling us that we are worthy of that. We are worthy of having being really well taken care of, right, so we need that external validation. But self-worth is about our internal validation, us deciding that, wow, yeah, I make mistakes sometimes, but you know what? I'm also really awesome sometimes. Right, and that's okay for us to sit in as well, okay. And then I have notes here because I don't want to go way too off and I know I could talk about this all different. So when we talk about self-care right?

Speaker 1:

So people have a huge thing around self-care. It could look like Manny and Petty's, which isn't my thing, but if it's yours, hey, that's your self-care. Self-care for me could be a hot bath, could be reading a book, it could be painting or doing something creative. Self-care is also how I take care of my health, right. How I take care of my body, how I take care of my mental health, how I take care of my emotional health, all of those things, the things that we do, for self-love is how we care. So self-love is a way of seeing ourselves and being with ourselves. Self-care is how we care for ourselves. So both are important and one doesn't have to come before the other.

Speaker 1:

Some people find self-love easier than actually committing to the habits of self-care, and some people find doing the things is a lot easier than perceiving ourselves as a loved being or a being worthy of love. So both are important and I think that care is this action. Love is a perception, right? So self-care is an action, self-love is a perception, it's a feeling, it's an emotion. Right? If we're having a hard time loving ourselves, we can still choose to care for ourselves, and vice versa. So I don't want you to think that just because we have one, we have the other, and I think that they're both really, really important. Self-love is like a statement of us telling ourselves I really care about myself, and a feeling of like, yes, I'm going, I want to take good care of myself, I deserve to take good care of myself, and self-care is all about how that plays out, how we do the things that care for ourselves. Okay, just wanted to make sure we had a really clear delineation between those two.

Speaker 1:

So this month, in October, we're going to be going over these five keys of self-love that are in my client experience. For the self-love half-day, we're going to talk about the five keys that I've come up with around self-love not necessarily self-care, although of course, self-care is linked but self-love and those parts are compassion, courage, curiosity, clarity and choice. Those are the things I'm going to be breaking down in the odd numbered episodes in October. I hope that you'll tune into all of them because they all have really good tips and rituals and exercises that you can be doing, and especially like when we combine that compassionate curiosity.

Speaker 1:

It's so often that it's the way that we've shamed ourselves or the messages of shame that we've taken on that is preventing us from actually loving ourselves Like we're not, we're not enough or we're too much in order to be accepted, worthy and loved, and that's not true. We're all welcome to step into self-love. The big thing is going to be giving ourselves permission. This is the hardest part when it comes to any shift, because we have these old defaults in our brain that says self-love is selfish serve other people. Other people can validate your worthiness by how much you serve right. All of those things we still want to give ourselves permission and I want to tell you I still have challenges with this.

Speaker 1:

When I wake up in the morning, I want to go straight to my computer, I want to get some work done right, because that's where I have put the value on me in my past, this big warrior archetype that you know see stuff to do, go do this stuff right. Got a goal, go directly there, do all the steps and get there. And for me, I know that I need to be more spiritually grounded as I've gotten older and I understand what self love is. For me, self love is really getting grounded in myself, in my inner wisdom, in my knowing, in that inner light, god, whatever it is that you go for, but for me it's about really being with myself and grounding my day before I start.

Speaker 1:

Now. That is really hard for me sometimes because my warrior archetype has been so rewarded for being busy, for doing the things, for really moving through right and getting things done right. Productivity was really what I was rewarded for as a child, so it can be really hard to put myself first, rather than getting that external validation first right or feeling good about myself that I'm doing what other people think I should be doing. So one of the permissions I have to give myself is to give myself that hour in the morning to really take care of myself, to really get grounded first and then move forward. Because, as much as I think that the work is hard, the work is the easiest part for me. I could default into work anytime and just get things done because I feel productive, but that's not necessarily self-love. So I just want us to really give ourselves permission and give ourselves what we really need, not necessarily what our default is right. So what does? What are the exit points of self-love? What do the results look like? Right?

Speaker 1:

For me, the ultimate thing is treating ourselves like we would. Another person that we truly cared about and loved, taking ourselves on dates, using the good China for ourselves even if there's nobody else around, making a meal maybe that we would make if there was more people. I know I used to say, ah, does it make sense just to cook for myself? Does it? Of course it does. It's a way that we're show. It's an act of love for ourselves. Is making ourselves a really good meal. So you don't have to be in relationship. In fact, I know it was actually easier for me to love myself when I wasn't in relationship because I had so much more time to really think about myself. Now I have to give myself permission to care about myself, even though I'm in relationship, even though I have a partner, and that really takes the pressure off him, because I'm not asking him to fulfill all of my needs. I'm seeing myself as someone I love, so that I can take care of my needs because I really care about this Christina person. That's where I want you to be.

Speaker 1:

It also looks like creating good boundaries for ourselves, following through on our commitments to ourselves, right Saying, focused on what we really want, showing up the way that we truly want, not just by happenstance. So all of these things are what it looks like to really love ourselves. Boundaries, especially, putting down perfectionism, and loving who we are in the unique way that we do things. That can be self love. I just want to talk really quickly about archetypes and self love because I'm sorry, because I think that archetypes are really important. They can help us step into different energies and see all the different parts of ourselves. So when we talk about self love, one of the biggest archetypes that come up for me is that mother archetype. Now, the mother archetype is the creator, right. She burrs things, whether that's children or businesses, or ideas or projects or books, whatever it is right, anything that we think of in our mind, and bring through to fruition, nurture it right and take care of it. The mother archetype is so important because that is how we can re-parent ourselves. Right, that is how we can re-parent ourselves.

Speaker 1:

So, even if you don't have children, you can imagine how we would treat a child. We wouldn't sit there when they make a mistake and go. Oh my God, you're so stupid. How could you not know how to do that? What's wrong with you? Why do you do things like that? Right, those kinds of questions aren't necessarily going to be helpful. That's gonna put that child in shame. But if we can be compassionately curious and start saying, wow, that's interesting. How did you come to that conclusion? Why would you have made that choice? Could you make a different choice? You know, next time Could there be different consequences or outcomes next time If you did something different? Right, there's a compassionate curiosity when it comes to mothering. We're not there to torture that child. We are there to really care for them, help them be guided, help them learn by teaching them in a good way how to keep moving forward, how to learn things, how to how to live their lives in a good way. Right, that's what we're there for as parents.

Speaker 1:

So, getting into our mother archetype and really seeing the wounds of that inner child and the terrible stories that they're probably shaming themselves with, and caring for ourselves like we would children, right, we also have a lover archetype, which is all about the beauty of things, of being in connection with ourselves and others, our sensuality, our sexuality. That's another way that we can live on ourselves right, of being a really good lover to ourselves. And I don't mean that just sexually, I mean like taking ourselves out on dates, treating ourselves like we would, someone that we were in that space with, that we really truly loved and cared about. We can also use the queen energy to empower our inner love, right, because our queen energy if you think of a sovereign they see the whole kingdom and all of the people and realize everybody's got mistakes and all we can do is our best, right. And so that they can see the big picture and plan for the bumps in the road and really love ourselves through it, empower ourselves through it.

Speaker 1:

And I would just give you your warrior one hint is that self love isn't necessarily the warrior's domain outside of protection. So when it comes to making boundaries, that's something that the warrior can definitely do for self love. When it comes to self care and actionable things, that's something our warrior can do, but a lot of the time our warrior energy is actually getting in our way of self love. So we just wanna be weary of that. When I wanna run to my computer first thing in the morning and start doing work so that I can feel productive. That is not self love for me, right? I don't know what it looks like for you, but that is not self love for me. That is me going back to that place where I'm only worthy if I'm producing. I'm only worthy if I'm creating something or making something happen or following the steps to my goal.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes we have to let that warrior down and say, hey, warrior, I don't really need you right now.

Speaker 1:

If you just wanna give yourself a rest, I'm gonna step into love or energy and really get connected with myself before I start my day, and then I can step into warrior, right? So warrior should be an energy that we step into consciously rather than just our default that shows up all the time and I know you, gen X, I know that that's how we show up is we are constantly thinking that what we do is more value than anything else. So this is where I wanna leave you for this week, but this whole month is gonna be about self love. So if you're just finding episode nine now, I want you to go through the rest of the month and see what you think about self love, see if this can shift you a little bit. And I just wanna leave you with the question to start off with was what does self love look like for you? That's it, thanks for joining us this week, and I will talk to you again soon.

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