Can you imagine a world in which we all know we are loved? What would that world look like? How would we live differently?
I imagine we would be free, free to express who we are, free to come into the center of ourselves. We would spend less time seeking approval and acting a certain way in order for people to like us. We would be less scared. We would speak our truth. We would know it was okay to make mistakes. We would take responsibility when our actions or lack of action hurt someone else, even if it was unintentional.
What do you see in this kind of world? How would it feel to live there?
When I truly let myself imagine a world like this, I begin to feel it in my body. I feel more relaxed and open. I feel warmth, especially around my heart, which almost seems to glow. If I close my eyes and focus gently inward, I can sense energy flow more freely out from my core to my limbs. I feel fuller and more willing to engage with the world around me and with my life.
What do you feel?
In this world, the real one around us today, do we all know we are loved? Do you know you are loved? Do I? Some days I do and some days I do not. Perhaps that is true for most of us. Some days I am caught and can hardly believe that love exists at all, let alone that I deserve it. The truth is even on those days when I am living in disbelief and feeling some version of lack of self-worth or self-hatred, there is love for me in the world. The trick is to remember that even when I cannot believe or feel it.
I remember one time an intuitive healer told me that the universe delights in my existence and in my journey of healing and growth. That is an amazing thing to consider. The nature of the universe is mostly a mystery to me, but sometimes I get a sense of something beyond my understanding and I am comforted. The moments when I live as if there is something greater than myself, I feel more whole and at peace. I invite you to consider the possibility that you are already loved and held. What do you notice?
The Practice of Loving Yourself
I have been reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, the well-known Buddhist monk, titled You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.* In one section he writes about caring for the little kids inside of us who are still with us and in pain. We all have wounds we carry and we have many ways to avoid feeling these old wounds. One way to practice feeling that we deserve love no matter what is to greet our pain with tenderness and care.
Thich Nhat Hahn writes, "You should look at your pain as though it were an abandoned baby. You should come back to yourself so that you can take care of this suffering baby. Your fear, your depression, your despair - that is the baby in you. It is yourself.
"'My dear one, I have come back. I am here for you.' Breathe in so that you generate the energy of mindfulness. With that energy, cradle your baby in your arms. 'My suffering and my pain, I am here for you.' This is the practice."
It truly is a practice. We start where we are. Maybe today we can hold our baby for one moment and then something opens up and it feels like too much. Or maybe we hold our baby and then we feel angry and we are not even sure why. This is part of the practice, too: noticing what comes up and not giving ourselves a hard time about it. Maybe this practice of holding our pain with care feels impossible or we do not want to do it. Even if that is the case, can you imagine that you still deserve love?
What I have noticed is that overtime things shift and change within me. Something opens. I gain more capacity within myself to love and to hold my pain. Then maybe the next day it feels like I have forgotten or lost everything I learned. That day my practice is still to remember that I deserve love. And when I cannot even imagine that possibility, I ask a friend or therapist to remind me. Sometimes we all need help remembering that we are worthy of care and love. May this serve as a reminder: you deserve love. Perhaps in this moment, we can create the world we want, starting with ourselves.
*Nhat Hanh, Thich. (2001) You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Katherine Grigg, RSMT is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist who is passionate about weaving mindfulness and compassion into everyday life. She sees clients in West Hartford, CT and teaches classes and workshops in the Greater Hartford area. To view all her offerings and learn more about somatic therapy, a mind-body healing modality, visit her Classes and Workshops and About pages.