This is a part of The Cultivate Project. A once a month project where I explore mindsets and practices we can cultivate and nurture to bring more care to ourselves and others.
For a short time the Self Love collection is available as an art print or notebooks or sketchbooks. But they are only available until June 14th, 2022. After that I’ll move on to the next month’s cultivation project.
Cultivating Self Love
Self love is often being comfortable with who we are, knowing we are worthy as we are and not needing to keep up with someone else, or needing more than what we know is for us.
This week we look at cultivating self love, why and how and what it looks like when we do.
Lately, we’ve struggled with our youngest wanting to be just like her older sister in every way. But the older sibling she gets to milestones first, receives more responsibility before, and just as it works out wants different things than her younger sister. Unfortunately every time my oldest receives responsibility, reaches milestones or receives something the youngest doesn’t there is strife. And it all comes to comparison.
Comparison often arises because we mistake desire for admiration. But when we love our selves and know ourselves it’s easier to discern what is for us and what we want for ourselves from what is for others. Self love can be the root of what we need to go forward and it all begins with our own heart.
We will work towards steering my youngest to only admire her older sister and have a deep feeling of self love and worth in the hopes that comparison will dissolve.
When we are able to love ourselves, know what is in our hearts (the deeper part) rather than where our minds take us, we can put a boundary around what is for us and what is for others we can turn to what other people are doing with love and admiration but we can’t do that without loving ourselves first. Instead if we don’t love who we are and where we are in this journey then when someone has or does something we should admire, we instead desire it and want to be where they are when in fact it may not be meant for us, for we are totally different humans with different personalities, different backgrounds, different gifts, different experiences different purposes, and different paths.
When we desire what someone else has and start working for that, we veer off our own path, and we invoke expectation (listen to the last episode) leading to only disappointment because it didn’t turn out like the other person’s thing. When we love ourselves we can admire and do our thing and actually love it. It becomes easier to stay in our lane without drifting. It’s much easier to have boundaries. It’s much easier to be strong in who we are.
As an artist it’s so easy to get caught up in this cycle – seeing other people’s work and instead of admiring it, we instead try to make it ours and recreate it, usually without success. In the beginning this is helpful because it helps us learn skills and be able to draw from that admiration and make it our own. But when it becomes the norm and we are exploring our own way, comparison and expectation can set in. This is when social media can be toxic for some of us. We have to enter that space with boundaries. Knowing that while there, we are admiring and loving what others do, but we aren’t allowing comparison to enter in because we have a deep self love for who we are and what we do and we know we are worthy. Do you see the inner strength self love gives you?
Even for non-artists, anyone can grasp onto something they admire, and try to make it their own and it not turn out as expected. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to do this with clothing. I’d love what someone else was wearing and would go and try to recreate it as my own on my body, only to hate it. The outfit just didn’t turn out right on me, and now those clothes will sit in the back of the closet, hardly ever worn. This occurs when I desire what someone else has and when I didn’t consider and love my body type, my coloring, or even my style. It’s a very basic example but I hope it makes the point clearer.
Instead of taking something and trying to be what the other person is, try admiring it. Your intuition will let you know if it’s truly not for you, then let it go and let it be theirs. This in turn opens doors for what is for you. What feels like you and because you’ve come to love who you are and have done the work to get there, you can more easily come to this conclusion and with strength be happy with it.
Where do you start to cultivate self love? It starts in your heart. And to get there you need to be still with yourself, allowing love and intuition to take fruit there. We often push many of our feelings away and become hard towards ourselves. Comparison is often at the root of this and continues as we continue on the cycle of being hard on ourselves and allowing what others are to matter more.
Consider also your childhood and younger years. We often follow our intuition, trusting it more in this time. Start there and follow that path, awakening your intuition. Get to know and love that child and who they were and you’ll begin to find a joy and love inside that is deeper than any other person can fill.
Know the difference between admiration and desire. Loving something doesn’t mean it’s for you. I love abstract art but for me right now, I know it isn’t in me. There are plenty of times I looked at it and thought how I’d love to make something like that. But when I stop to consider whether I only love it or if it would be a true expression for me, I know the first is true. And I love where I am with it. There is no comparison when we think like this and we have more freedom.
My own inclination is to lean into my spirituality, knowing God created me as I am and as I discover who I am and love what I discover, a feeling of worthiness comes, knowing I couldn’t have done anything better. Many parts of me fit like a puzzle and it’s joy to discover how these pieces fit together. It also makes things much clearer and there is strength as a result.