One of these mornings I woke up with a sense of dread. Feeling the stresses of our ‘new normal’; the way we have to think about wearing masks and hand sanitizers. Feeling the pain of lack of real, face-to-face connection with loved ones. Dealing with the general ‘I am over it’ attitude from basically everyone. Part of me just wanted to stay in bed with chocolate and watch, scary ‘Scandi’ movies all day. But then I remembered how it feels after I go for a run and jump into the cold ocean. A part of me got my shoes on, grabbed my keys and off I went. By the time I reached the shore, the dread was starting to disappear. I was even able to look at the ocean and feel gratitude for the deep beauty that is.
As I was walking I started to listen to a podcast from Alan Alda interviewing Brené Brown. (BTW Alan Alda’s podcast is great, check it out.) At a part of the conversation they were talking about empathy, self-compassion, self-love and Alan started to wonder out loud: what is self-love, how do you practice it? Do you say ‘Jee my heart beats faster when I think you?’ 🙂
I thought about self-love further, and a Hungarian psychologist, Popper Péter came to mind who said “love is something that makes your life better, saying I love you is not enough, it has to be an action that the receiver of that love experiences as an enhancement of their life.” The check point is: is my life becoming better by being loved by you?
If I practice self-love, I have to do things for myself that are benefiting my life, things that make me feel good, feel loved. So I guess I can thank that part of myself that got me out of bed, and made me move my body, have some positive sensory experiences, that part helped me to feel gratitude and to lift the dread.
Loving oneself takes action, the action of doing something that makes our lives better. Of course, chocolate in bed with ‘Scandi’ movies has its place too 🙂