We all just want to be loved, especially by ourselves
Posted on 13 October 2014
We all just want to be loved, but how many of us truly love ourselves? I am on a constant journey to really love myself. Sometimes I do and sometimes I am far from it.
Back in 2011 I camped in a field in a region of France to build a house out of cob with a bunch of people I didn’t know. We called it cob camp. During this time I had little mobile phone network, no car and no internet access. For those months I would wake up with the sun, spend half an hour meditating, half an hour stretching and then half an hour with my coffee doing an observation exercise – all before anyone else in the camp woke up. An hour and a half of self development, in nature, every day for a few months was like medicine for me.
The observation exercise consisted of sitting, watching something around me. Sometimes I would observe the horses in the fields nearby, but mostly I was observing the busy insects living their lives in the long grasses beside my tent. I noticed my brain trying to classify, label and judge them, positively and negatively. With practice I started letting these labels and judgments go. Sometimes I could sit and appreciate what I was seeing simply for what it was, in all its honesty, without my brain intervening and I would feel bliss. It’s such a beautiful feeling.
After some time I remember thinking ‘I like this Carly!’. Actually, I still like her because she helps me every day. For the first time in my life, during that period, I found a true love for myself and I remember thinking, how can I keep this? I felt like I had discovered a way to be truly me, but it meant I had to live simply and isolate myself from many people and technology. I knew that this isn’t really what I wanted – I wanted to be engaged in life, in community, with friends and family. That’s when I realised I had to find a way to be me – authentic, peaceful, loving me – despite what’s going on around me. I am forever grateful for that experience. How often do we get to remove ourselves completely from reacting to life, phones, jobs, technology and drama for months at a time?
Since then I can honestly say I’m not that cob-camp-Carly very much. I see glimpses of her from time to time and she helps me remember my path and who I want to be… actually, who I am deep down. I still struggle every day. Things and people stress me, annoy me, agitate me and I search for that inner peace, that reminder that it’s my choice how I react, how I label, judge and ultimately feel. It’s a lifelong journey. When I love myself, when my inner judge gives me a break, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks and therefore there’s no need to react. All I can do is my best, to try to be true to myself, to be honest instead of defensive when I ‘fail’ to behave the way I wish. I want to love myself and everyone else with compassion and non judgement. I know we are all struggling, moving through life on our separate journeys with various obstacles and suffering along the way but ultimately we are all the same – we all just want to be loved and understood, especially by ourselves.
I let meditation and mindfulness slip away when I need these tools the most. Here’s a motivating infographic on the skeptics guide to meditation that might help you fit it in your busy day. Yesterday I was at the beach and stopped to do a quick meditation and felt the benefits immediately. Of course, gratitude is an extra tool in my kit too. Staying grateful, even in adversity, is possible. It doesn’t mean being fake or in denial of your true feelings but rather, observing your feelings without judgement, allowing yourself to feel what you feel without focussing on the bad feelings so much that you lose perspective.
…I’m still making sense of things and I’m loving it!!