You’ve done a million workshops and courses, you’ve read the self-help books, you say the affirmations, you write your gratitude journal, do your yoga practice, listen to Abraham Hicks; you manifest and meditate.
And somewhere in there you find time to earn a living, have a family life, and maybe even a social life – at the end of the day you are exhausted just by the sheer effort of trying to hold it all together, as well as be the best possible version of you.
I totally get it. I was a perfectionist - and later graduated to self-development junkie. As a child, I was studious and good. I excelled at school and went on to become a barrister. I pushed myself to succeed in a man’s world. Successes barely registered – a few minutes of satisfaction before the anxiety of the next case began. Failures on the other hand were worried over for weeks.
The death of my father kick-started a soul urge for something very different – for an exploration of self which became a spiritual journey - yet still with that flavour of striving to be perfect.
I left my legal career, I studied, meditated, went on silent vipassana retreats, spent months in the Amazon jungle taking mind altering plant medicine. I went on a deep sexual awakening journey through tantra and sacred sexuality courses. I emerged as a somatic sexologist and relationship coach. And still this urge to be better continued – the not good enough voice, the one more course to complete, the striving and pushing to be more.
I recall the epiphany that shifted my perspective.
I was coaching student sexologists on their intensive training. Part of my role was to participate in the activities when needed. I had just received an intimate body work session and was lying on the massage table in a meditative state. There was a sense of something emotional stirring, but I didn’t feel tearful – or really anything much – it was just a subtle nudge of something deep within. I could hear the sounds of completion all around me, our facilitator prompting us to gather in a circle.
Out of nowhere, a deep and strong energy moved through me, rocking my body and from the depths of my being a howl emerged that was long, guttural, earth shattering, other worldly.
A full minute passed before it was complete. It came in waves. A hush fell over the room, a stillness descended. I felt a deep peace in my being. Then ecstasy bubbling up; laughter.
In that stillness a KNOWING emerged - there is nothing to improve, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. I only need my own acceptance. My own love. My own compassion.
I was bathed in it – acceptance and love coming from within.
Have I now let go of my rituals and routines, yoga practice and meditations? No – yet now there's more gentleness to my routine. This softening is my practice - and yes often I slip back into pushing and striving – it’s a deeply held pattern! Not just my own – but a collective one.
I remind myself to treat myself as I would my own child – with deep acceptance, love, compassion and gentleness.
I wonder, with curiosity rather than striving, what is there to discover today in this body; in this life?
If you would like some inspiration on how to develop greater self-love, you can find inspiration in my free video series 7 Steps to Self-Love here.