On February 10th, I was fortunate enough to present at Queens Talk, a monthly empowerment meet-up for Women of Color in Boston. There we discussed self-love and what it means to pour into our own cup. My favorite part of the session was at the end where we gathered in a circle and each person completed the phrase: "I leave here with ______." Every single woman left with something positive whether it be a new awareness of self, new friends, community, different tools on how to take care of themselves or an overall sense of genuine love. A huge thank you to Samantha Casseus, the founder of Queens Talk for creating the space for us to commune, share openly, learn from each other and to connect with women who understand or wish to understand who we truly are.
Below is the story I shared, highlighting a bit of my journey of self-love. I don't believe I have the answers to anything... I can't tell you what will or will not work. I can't guarantee that if you do x,y,z you will be blissfully happy. What I can do is speak my truths and shine my light. I can only hope that my story resonates with yours somewhere and shows that real love IS possible- no matter where you've been or what you think you deserve.
I also attached the activity we did as a group, reflecting on our true selves and our shadow aspects. If you are interested, feel free to complete the worksheet and share it with me! I would love to discuss it with you and answer any questions you may have.
Something I wrote and recently found again: “You are on a journey of transforming and changing your vibration. Your world is shifting. It will be uncomfortable, for sure. It will be challenging but God gives you what you can handle. You are built for this. You are here for this. You know you deserve more than what you’ve been scraping for. Go out and take what is yours. Say yes to more things. Say no and set boundaries. Above all, love.“
I began my journey of self-love out of survival… I was in the thick of my battle with depression and anxiety and I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. Rather than fighting the things in darkness or letting them have complete control over me, I began to sit with them and allow things to come to light. Although I am trying to no longer identify myself with my past traumas and fears, I continue with this journey for it is where I find freedom.
It consciously began New Years Day 2016 and my only resolution was to do all things with love. Think with love, speak with love, act with love, eat with love. I started to be more aware of my thought process and realized how conditioned I was to immediately judge others rather than meet them with kindness and compassion. It was often trivial, physical things like “why is she wearing that?” or “he’s so short for a man”.. even certain personality traits I found undesirable rather than accepting people fully for who they are. I had to take a step back and ask myself “who am I to judge?” I had no idea what people go through, where they come from, who loves them… That was something I acknowledged about myself and had to forgive. From there, I could heal that part of myself that projects negativity onto others.
As my journey continues…I can embrace shadow aspects of myself and know that I have the ability to heal and transform. There is nothing inherently wrong about me… it just makes me human and complete. I’m not saying that this is an easy or linear process. I’m faced with things I don’t know how to navigate or can’t accept but there are so many tools I can use to help me through rather than run away. Therapy being a monumental one for a lot of people… food as medicine, art or friends. I know some things aren’t accessible for everyone but we can find what nourishes us and let it. Know that you deserve it.
I recently came to the realization that I was living life subconsciously believing that it was mostly pain + disappointment with moments of happiness rather than life being a journey of happiness with moments of pain + disappointment. That goes back to what I mentioned about not identifying myself with fear + trauma. My story is not one centered around overcoming depression but one of love and service to others. I choose the narrative and I can always re-write.
For some time I was living for my family (as many immigrant children do): I was doing what I thought they + society wanted me to do and I achieved everything I was told I needed to be happy. I never felt more alone and isolated, even though looking back simply wasn’t true. I reached a point where I didn’t want to wake up anymore. If I wasn’t working- I was sleeping. All of my days blurred together. All of my nights were unbearable. I wasn’t pouring into myself. I wasn’t aware of my truths.
I AM LOVE. That is my truth. I had to un-learn all of the things that were blocking me from that truth. “I’m not pretty enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not successful. I’m not worthy of all of the good things that come to me. It’s selfish to practice self-care.” All of these things are NOT true. In addition to my thoughts, I was telling myself I was not worthy of love through places I’ve worked, men I’ve dated, food I ate, projects left unfinished, information I was consuming… my body knew my intentions and followed that- whether or not I was able to admit it to myself.
Just how we can create negative realities for ourselves, I had to see that positivity IS possible and very much real. Why was it easier / more commonly accepted for me to believe I was NOT worthy or love? I was born out of love. I was born to love. I am here to spread love. No matter how I look or what I am doing / not doing… I am love. I don’t need external things to validate that for me which means that nothing can take it away from me.
On the count of 3, say out loud: “I am love.”
One.. two... three:
Now on the count of 3, silently in your head say: “I am love.”
One.. two... three:
Who’s voice is that?
From unlearning and removing myself from things that negatively influenced who I thought I “should be”, I’m able to hear this voice more clearly. When I listen to my higher Self and allow myself to be guided by Her… where will She take me? She tells me create. To love, always. To find purpose in all that I do. She tells me I am loved as I am. And I don’t fight it anymore. It can be really disorienting when you go against the grain and tune into yourself… there have been so many times I ask myself “am I crazy or straight up delusional?” But seeing all of the seeds I’ve planted with love, I’ve come to find over time that do indeed grow into fruition and I’m able to give to others without depleting myself. Whatever your truths are, they vibrate higher than anything else somebody can try to convince you of. Stay rooted in them.
I know I deserve to be in loving, healthy relationships. So when something clearly presents itself as problematic or if it feels heavy… I can let it go knowing it isn’t for ME. I shouldn’t have to compromise myself in order to fit into a situation where I can’t live that simple truth. Sometimes we want something so badly to work that we ignore the fact that it doesn’t. I think all of the times I’ve been in really painful relationships- it was because I wasn’t accepting the situation for all that it is and only focused on what I wanted it to be. It was not love.
Another affirmation I tell myself is: “I radiate love and respect and I receive love and respect”. I work as a server in cafe and encounter hundreds of people throughout the week… not all of them are always loving or kind and sometimes my initial reaction is to be spiteful towards them but I can choose love and respect. Who they are and where they are should not affect who I am. And it makes me appreciate all of the good people even more.
At the beginning and end of everything… it’s ultimately my relationship with God, nature and spirit that carries me through. Loving myself is only a tiny fraction of God’s love for me. Nature teaches me that I am allowed to just be. When I am being- not doing - not thinking about being… I bloom effortlessly. I am beautiful in every stage of my journey and each phase serves a purpose. So I trust that I have everything I need to love + be loved in every moment.
Some questions I want to leave you with are:
- What are your truths?
- What needs to be removed in order for them to be revealed?
- How is energy flowing?
- How is energy being blocked?
In science, they say there is no such thing as darkness- only the absence of light. In order for darkness to exist within you, there has to be light. Focus on that.