It's hard not to sound trite, when talking about love on Valentine's Day. I do love the pink, though it took me a long time to get there. I never wanted to be too girly, too soft or too airy fairy.
Well look at me now.
Truthfully, I have been thinking about love in a round-about sort of way. It's been interesting in 2019 to see pockets of the world open up to encourage more love, while others stay closed. Globally, accepting gender fluidity springs to mind. And locally- considering harm reduction initiatives over condemnation for marginalized individuals or drug users is a hot topic.
I shared something that came up in my feed on Facebook written by Pema Chodron. She was talking about accessing inner strength, by becoming comfortable in uncomfortable places like anxiety or heartbreak. While talking about our resistance to being stuck in these places, the line that got me was, "Yet it seems reasonable to want some kind of relief.'
Well those understated Pema-isms always make me laugh. I'm pretty sure I've spent a good chunk of the last 30 years relief seeking. It's only lately that I'm questioning whether or not it's reasonable.
Reaching for wine at the end of the day, gapping out to a few hours of television, overeating, online shopping, social-media, cats, chocolate...whatever, the list is endless. I said to a friend, 'isn't it a relief, to know we're all seeking relief', thinking it's sort of a unifying thing. Mommy needs wine, t.g.i.f. kind of stuff. Because most of us have the luxury of deciding how to frame our compulsions.
Self-care, self-love and chocolate go together easy. And yes, I'm definitely promoting some chocolate purchasing for your self-care needs, and all your loved ones this Valentine's Day. But lately, I've been ruminating on those whose mental anguish, leave self-love a foreign concept, people who are so far removed from themselves they go to any lengths to escape solitude. People who's beginnings were unkind.
Self-love is one of those sort of oxymoronic turns of phrase in my mind. It doesn't really start with your 'self'-someone has to love you first, show you the ropes. You can foster it, grow it but as a child we don't come with it built in.
We're sitting in this mess of generations of people teaching generations of people that they're unlovable as they are. Maybe not "your people", but so, so many people.
Gabor Maté says "A sense of deficient emptiness pervades our entire culture." Maybe you can relate.. maybe not. I swam around in that emptiness for a long time. And hey, I still have those soft parts you can poke and make water come out of my eyes. But I got 'a bit better'. I got 'somewhat' sorted out. Through a chain of events that would be too boring to relate but were life changing for me, I found self-love. And I consider myself LUCKY. Things could have gone differently, and for so many people, they do.
I talked in my last newsletter, about it being hard- promoting big Hallmark holidays year after year. But Valentine's Day is easy because I truly believe we need more love. Pretty airy fairy right?