I didn’t want Self Love to be “my thing”.
I wanted it to be depression or rage or something much more high drama. Bloodier. Something you could sink your teeth into. Self-love felt more like a fluffy glitter cloud than a juicy steak.
I had this irritating relationship with self-love where it brought to mind pensive women drinking tea in soft focus, slow motion journaling montages, and floral scarves. It seemed corny, pedestrian, “basic.”
Even as I’m typing this, it seems hilarious that I had this teenage girl level rebellion to the very thing that I regularly shout from the rooftops in everything that I do. I mean, I named my practice Radiant Heart right?! C’mon Erin.
As they say, “what you resist, persists” and life brought me the perfect situation to push me past my resistance and into reckoning. I found myself face to face with a deeply karmic, multiple lifetimes, soul mate situation.
Before you get excited, soul mates are not always the dreamy people you are looking for. Soul mates come in to shake your life up, turn it upside down, break your heart open, mirror you back to yourself, teach you some lessons, and reveal to you the areas within that still need to be healed. This relationship came in exactly when I needed it, to show me a final piece in my growth that I hadn’t been able to get to on my own.
It was intensely passionate, telepathic, and otherworldly. It went beyond gender, logic, and time and space. It was all fire and no earth. We communicated strongly in feelings and energy where words fell short. It wasn’t meant for real life.
It was meant to wake me up. My heart, my body, and my purpose.
When it imploded, it was not a surprise.
As we said goodbye, I could feel the chaos of four different conversations happening all at once. My spirit self recognized that our wounds and our softest parts were in direct communication. My higher self was experiencing love and gratitude for the experience. My human self was choosing grace over curse words.
The biggest and loudest voice in the conversation-and the one that forced me to pay attention-was the little girl child.
The little girl child was in a hot panic because the love was going away.
And when the love goes away, it can only mean one thing.
She did something wrong.
The little girl child is well practiced in hustling for love. She does the frantic jazz hand dance that says, “I'm okay, I'm good, I'm happy, I don't need anything.” She buries her desires. She doesn’t rock the boat. She doesn’t speak up. She has a cavernous empty space inside that can only be filled by others.
So if the love goes away, she has failed and will need to shape shift into someone with even less needs in order to keep the love where it is. I had to really pay attention to this wee one’s cries because she’s been one of my biggest teachers. I pulled her onto my lap and I reminded her of the story of our life.
Every move we’ve made has been because we were learning to love ourselves and fill up from inside. Understanding what it means to be a highly sensitive empath and not being ashamed of it. Breaking free of self-medication. Not self-abandoning. Taking up more space. Leaving behind unhealthy relationships to find loving, supportive ones. Having the tough conversations with family. Healing a legacy of depression and anxiety. Standing with grief with a broken open heart. Learning how to have boundaries and releasing codepency. Embracing creativity and taking risks. Choosing love over self-flagellation as many times as I can remember too.
The little girl child agreed that we’d been working our ass off and relaxed back into my heart.
It was all because I loved myself that I had the fortitude and the courage to keep going even when it was hard as hell. Even when it wasn’t fun. Even when it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere because I still felt so much pain.
I realized that even though I never wanted it to be my path, a giant part of my learning in this life is to master Self Love. To be able to inhabit it through and through, demonstrating it by how I live my life, what I write and how I teach. I’m still doing this today, softening to myself and holding myself with compassion through all of it.
And of course, because the Universe is a joker and my clients are a mirror, the first woman I saw the following day wrote down on her intake form that she wanted to heal her self-love. Was it her #1 concern? Nope, #2. Because she didn’t really want self love to be “her thing” either ;)
Three steps to Self Love Mastery came to me as I integrated the lessons of this soul mate journey. I will be writing and teaching more on these principles in the future as they are essentials for growth, peace, and happiness.
1. Doing shadow work. Identifying, owning and loving the pieces of you that you have deemed unlovable.
2. Learning how to stay centered in self-love and out of self-judgment even in the face of disapproval or lack of validation.
3. Being able to hold space for yourself and self soothe when you are triggered or activated.