There is no coincidence that many of this week’s posts focus on self-love and not finding love (and validation) from another. In response to the Valentine’s Day push, I wanted to curate a few posts that pushed back– posts that stressed importance of self-love as much as romantic love. The pursuit of happiness is rooted on finding love for yourself. I am very grateful that I have activists and thinkers like Debrena that have written extensively about this topic. Please enjoy.
A few weeks before I kicked off my first official Love Academy 101 live course a few years ago, one of my friends who loves to buy used books brought by a stack of used love relationship books to me as a gift. This stack of books was her way of saying both “congratulations” and also “here’s some material for your new relationships course.”
As I flipped through page after page of each of these books, I noticed that each put all the focus and attention squarely on the man/the guy. Not one of these books had a woman address her primary relationship first, the one she’s already in, the relationship that is the building block of all the others – the relationship with herself.
Each of these “classic” relationship books suggested that you can experience authentic satisfaction and fulfillment in your love relationships, though you may feel flawed, inadequate, insecure, be unhealed from past relationships, inferior to a man, or perceive yourself and/or your body through a highly self-critical or judgmental lens. This is why Love Lie #4 in my new book, The Love Lies, dispels the lie that: Self-Love is Optional.
What you will encounter when you attempt to enter into love relationships from a non-self-loving space (which is the space most of us are in, whether we realize it or not) is frustration, disappointment, irritation, a list of unfulfilled “requirements” and perceiving him as constantly falling short of your “expectations.” And what will constantly elude you is on-going deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
What’s self-love got to do with it? EVERYTHING. This is why self-love should not be treated as optional or as an after-thought. You are the living lens through which you experience life and love relationships. Your inner experience and your external demonstration of self-love are fundamental to your journey of learning how to love another. The truth is that self-love is a pre-requisite to loving another. Otherwise, you can find yourself being emotionally dependent on a man, or seeking validation and/or approval from a man or others. As I share in The Love Lies, “Self-love forms the basis of how you see yourself, perceive others, and how you relate and engage with others.” You are the common denominator in every one of your relationships.
What are some of the tell-tale signs of our self-love being lacking, “holey” and riddled with inconsistencies?:
Day by day and step by step, learn to “change the channel” of your internal self-talk, from self-condemnation to self-acceptance, from self-neglect to sacred self-care (more on the power of sacred self-care in part 3 of The Love Lies), from perpetual busyness to seeking solitude, and from what depletes your spirit to what feeds and fills it. Get comfortable honoring your time, energy and boundaries. Slow down. Exhale. Turn off your cell phone, electronic devices and learn to be still and at peace without them. Then watch how life, and especially men, respond differently to you.
Debrena Jackson Gandy is the author of Sacred Pampering Principles, All the Joy You Can Stand, and her newest book, The Love Lies. She is Founder of the Love Academy, through which she teaches the insights and principles of a new paradigm for love relationships, with courses for women and for men. She’s been featured in magazines such as Oprah’s O, Essence, Ebony, Woman’s Day, and Black Enterprise, and on-line on Oprah.com, Essence.com, SoulofAmerica.com, Redbook.com; Jetmag.com, and BMWK.com. She’s also been a popular guest on over 50 radio shows, and has been seen on TV on CNN, CNN Live, The Better Show, Good Day New York, Good Morning Texas, Good Day D. C., C-Span, and numerous regional morning news shows. She also is a TV show host of Public Report on TBN’s station KTBW in Seattle/Tacoma. Her website is www.MillionDollarMentor.net, and you can find her on Twitter @TheDVine or LIKE her on Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Debrena-Jackson-Gandy/141807847439
[info_box type=”alert_box”]Caring for yourself including takes care of your finances. I encourage all ladies who are serious about self-care to go on The Happy Finances Challenge. In 42 days you can learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness. [/info_box]