2018: My Journey to Self-Love

Another year is coming to an end and a fresh start is on its way in 2019. I’m not kidding myself here, 2018 was a tough one for me. I was blessed with abundance in all things that mattered, yes. Optimum health – always most important, I enjoyed seeing my business continue to grow, I made new friends, attracted some former friends back into my life (good ones!), and kicked a couple of toxic ones to the curb – best decision ever!

But this year was also replete with disappointments, headaches, heartbreak, and overall an emotional roller coaster in all things related to my beloved heart. Credit card theft, checking account hacks, a breakup, loss of friends – (yes, the toxic ones), betrayal by those who claim to care about me and, also by those who hardly know me, if at all. You name it, I was blessed with a myriad of life lessons to lead me on my journey of growth in this crazy thing we call life.

Looking back, I get the gist. Coming out of a toxic relationship is one thing. It’s a blessing when it’s over. A sigh of relief. A “praise the Lord!” moment! But this one, this time, this was different. I received my message from the universe loud and clear. Coming out of a beautiful relationship which I thought would last forever, the only one who could get me through that heartbreak was me.

I realized this was probably the most valuable relationship I had ever had. Why? Because it was total bliss that ended in my worst nightmare. It was the most heart-wrenching. Its bitter ending made me aware of just how little I had practiced self-love throughout my entire life. In all honesty, it was very seldom that I remembered putting myself first, if ever. I knew deep down that love was the only thing that would bring me out of this. Love is, after all, the most powerful force in the universe. And I was the only one who knew what I was feeling, what I needed, and could provide what I needed to come out healthy and whole. It was all me.

Throughout my life, my mother, my father, my brothers, extended family, friends, boyfriends, bosses, anyone connected with me always came first. I realized this past year how little I gave to myself, or at the very least made sure I was OK, before tending to the needs of others. I was always on the back burner but very rarely received this VIP treatment from anyone else. So, as I cried virtually streams of tears for a few months and tried to find my “feel good vibes” again, I focused on me. It felt both foreign and refreshing and was long overdue.

Why does nobody teach us how important it is to love and respect ourselves? I do realize that we’re living in a different world now and it’s all about self-entitlement and safe spaces which is a completely different concept than self-love. But growing up in my generation and before, we’re told at a very young age to be kind to others. But why aren’t we taught to be kind to ourselves? Some of us need to be educated on how important this ingrained survival trait is. Instead we’re taught to feel guilty for being selfish. At least I was. Well, newsflash! Loving yourself isn’t selfish! As a matter of fact, it’s THE best thing you could do for not only yourself, but for anyone who’s part of your life.

In loving yourself, you’re given an abundance of love to offer others. And although I’ve always been a loving and caring person, my inner being has suffered immensely for the lack of love for which I’ve craved. Yes, my friends, love starts from the inside. It starts with you.

Something magical happens when you radiate genuine love from the inside out; you begin to attract that genuine love back to you. I now understand why I’ve attracted needy people into my life who have drained buckets of love out of me. They’ve been unable to return love because they’re going through their own journey of learning to love themselves. I was more than happy to oblige because I love to love. Never did I think, “Hey? What about me?” Well, I finally asked. And then it happened; my journey of self-love had begun. It hit me like a ton of bricks but, I think at this point the universe was left with no other choice. It was my time to receive. So how did I do it and what continues to work for me?

My mission to begin my practice of self-love started with the physical me. It’s the least painful and requires the least amount of inner work. There’s no shame in enjoying a little pampering so I’m somewhat familiar with it but decided to make it more of a ritual. I began scheduling time to nourish and nurture myself. In the beginning, I did all things “girly.” I started with home spa treatments – routine facials and manicure Sundays. I made sure to turn off my cell phone and avoid all social media during designated me-times. I committed to a once-a-week girls’ night out where laughter was mandatory. I listened to my favorite “happy” music whenever the mood hit. HULU binging consisted of my new favorite, This is Us, and any movie that focused on falling in or out of love. Through all of this, I once again vowed to come out still believing in love. One broken relationship would not keep me from the joy of future love. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time I’d be determined to be better and not bitter!

I started reading more. I wiped the dust off my library card and borrowed books about spirit, energy, the law of attraction, and the importance of keeping our frequency up on a daily basis. I browsed Pinterest for a few minutes every day where I pondered inspirational and spiritual snippets, and I discovered the uplifting poetry of Rumi which is simply beautiful. I researched healthy recipes and was motivated to get back into my healthy eating regimen. Even now, at 49, I still find comfort food all too comforting and I had gained a considerable amount of weight prior to my self-love journey.

I began journaling affirmations which defied everything I was feeling at the time. Affirming “I am happy” while sobbing uncontrollably is no small feat! But, in time, I came to realize that the essence of me really is happy. I was moving through the bad, slowly healing, and bringing myself back into the flow of the good.

My morning ritual now starts with a cup of coffee and YouTube. I listen to one of many inspirational and uplifting subscriptions delving into self-love, the law of attraction, and my recent fascination on the healing power of crystals (or so it’s believed). This has led to my on-going weekly self-readings with my oracle cards which has contributed to my intuition becoming stronger and more accurate. I love my quiet Sunday mornings of sitting down, picking up a deck of oracle cards (my collection is growing!), and tuning in. It’s my “church” and it keeps my line of communication with Spirit open. It’s been a great source of comfort and clarity for me.

Most nights I’d fall asleep to a meditation consisting of healing or I Am meditations from YouTube. I’d wake up feeling refreshed and in a positive frame of mind. It was a huge help in my healing process and I continue to do this. I’ve learned what feeds your mind and spirit at night is a big influence on your experience the following day. And in the morning before my feet hit the floor, as so many wise teachers have preached, I say thank you and begin my day with gratitude.

And so, I returned to my healthy lifestyle. Home cooking brought me back to consciously eating and I then began to drop the weight and feel good about myself physically again. Since beginning small self-love rituals (more than just an occasional treat) to heal my broken heart, I’ve come to add other comforting habits where the focus is only me and so a lifestyle of feeding myself all things healthy has evolved: I thrive on nutritious food, soulful literature, uplifting music, yoga, and surrounding myself with loving, supportive friends. These are things I’ve always done but I’ve learned, somehow, they have more meaning the more I practice them. Making myself a priority has given me more time for self-reflection and I love the person I’ve become. I’ve finally made myself a priority.

What I’ve learned through this phase of my joyful journey, this phase of learning to love myself, is that the deeper I connect with my higher self through simply taking time to care for my own needs and listen to my heart, the deeper my relationship with God becomes. And through that relationship, I’m blessed with even more love. The true miracle is that our relationship with God starts inside of ourselves and so many of us search for this outside of ourselves.

I’m now entering the 5th decade of my life. I know there’ll be more learning, healing, and growing along my journey. I also know there’s an abundance of love in my future coming from all different sources which now includes myself. My most recent past has given me new tools to help recover from the rough times and, also, to enhance the joyful times.

So, farewell 2018! And here’s to 2019! This year I’m welcoming more self-love. This new year is more about caring for my own heart. I’m looking forward to radiating this love for I know, through it, I’m now attracting only healthy and positive relationships back into my life.

Sharon – Embracing My Joy

“The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.” – Rumi

Crab Cakes – Veggie Style!

This dish tastes like summer!  To be honest, I don’t remember what crab tastes like but I made these for a guest and she didn’t know they were veggie until I told her. The secret ingredient is hearts of palm which mimics the texture of crab. Add a little sea kelp seasoning to the mix and viola! Mock-crab cakes. I also added a few pieces of artichoke for additional texture, and I just happen to like artichokes. Gluten-free breadcrumbs work well for the coating on these little cakes. A side salad makes this a light summer meal. I’ll be making this one again!

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