"If your Story doesn’t change your lead character irrevocably from beginning to end, no one will deeply care about it. It may entertain them, but it will have little effect on them. It will be forgotten. We want characters in stories that take on the myriad of challenges to change their lives and somehow make it through, with invaluable experience. Stories give us the courage to act when we face confusing circumstances that require decisiveness. These circumstances are called CONFLICTS. What we do or don’t do when we face conflict is the engine of Storytelling.” - Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know
After yesterday`s reflection on my current emotional state, I did an evening meditation again to just be and process my emotions. I would put on some meditation music from Spotify, sit upright, and just be, without any intention, affirmation, or objective. I ended my day by letting it be and telling me what else I might not have seen, felt, or experienced fully.
The first minutes went fine, mostly scanning my body and noticing my thoughts. Then minutes later, images surfaced and I saw all the moments I was by myself. I saw myself being 10 going to a new school after we moved cities and taking a train for the first time in my life (and got discriminated by a group of boys on my first day). I saw myself studying hard, feeling lonely during high school, because everyone hated the nerd, who always got the best grades. I saw myself crying at night, not understanding why my classmates mocked and hated me, for doing nothing wrong, but just what my parents told me, to study hard. I saw myself being an outsider at a private elite university, being funded by a scholarship, while all the others either drove a Porsche or carried a Gucci bag. I saw myself feeling devastated after my first heartbreak. I saw myself after the guy left me standing, and after I even had purchased a gift for him. I saw myself burned out during my move to London, looking for a flat, hustling in a male-dominant work environment, and experiencing my quarter-life crisis looking for meaning in life.
When I saw all these images, I had to cry. I wanted to hug myself and tell my younger self that I, the adult me, have always been there. When I actually travelled back in time, I could feel someone leaning on my left shoulder - I don`t know whether it was an angel or my Higher Self from the Universe or both. It was definitely a comforting and loving presence. I could sense she wanted to tell me that she has always been here, with me. And I saw that it was true during all these lonely moments in the past, too, I just didn`t know.
From that moment on, I knew I wanted and had to give myself all the love I need, deserve, and have given for others. I have always thought of others as the oldest child, as a girl and woman, as someone with a big heart. Growing up with Vietnamese parents, who expressed love in different ways I only understood later, and having been single for a while after healing from the devastating heartbreak, I have learned to be independent, strong, and self-sufficient. While I am proud of my immense strength of tackling various challenges at work (e.g. I wouldn`t have a partner to share all my problems) and not being dependent on others for my happiness (like potentially others who look for a partner to feel complete), I now see other side-effects, that are, however, ready to heal. I can now open up for love to let it in. I can accept others` love and not push them away thinking they would leave anyway. I can honour my own values instead of others`. I can be myself withouth compromising. I can trust love, being vulnerable, weak, and tender.
While my New Year`s Resolution is "to follow my heart, wide open", I have now extended this to "follow my heart, wide open, with love for myself". I have already initiated and taken huge steps towards "more myself" (thank you, Alicia Keys!), such as choosing people who serve me, saying only "YES" when my whole body speaks it, or listening to my intuition. But now I am realizing, I can even do much more and love myself even further. After all those years of building thick and tall walls to protect my young heart, it is not only time to tear down the wall, but also to pour in love, like there`s no tomorrow. Of course, it may be overwhelming and unusual at first, so I do it step by step. It`s time to love myself, to the fullest, in every moment, like there is no tomorrow.
And I don`t mean it like flattering myself all the time or being selfish and self-centered. There is a difference between genuine self-love and ego-centered self-aggrandizement. One is to nourish yourself, accept yourself in all your colours, and treat yourself as your best friend or beloved child. The other is to put yourself superior to others, comparising others to yourself so you can feel better. You can notice the difference in how you feel - in the first case, you feel a sense of mothering, nurturing, gentle, and lasting love, while in the second case, you actually feel drained, exhausted, by keeping up your self-image with temporary and fleeting "love".
This is my wish for you - to never forget to choose love for yourself. Even Oprah says this, knowing that many mothers would furiously counter that it would be selfish to not think of your children. But we don`t say to let your children or others starve, we only say that you yourself derserve love, too. Remember the safety instructions on planes - you need to put on the oxygen mask yourself first, before you can save others, incl. even your loved ones.
If it seems too difficult to give yourself love or you may not know how to actually give yourself love, don`t worry and be trapped too much in analysis-paralysis, just try and do it. For me, it has been an unusual experience, too, not knowing for a long time what love actually is, means, and feels like. So I start step by step - one day it may look like eating a healthy meal, one day it may look like eating that delicious hazelnut cake, one day it may look like not following my negative thoughts, one day it may look like allowing me to cry, vent, and still feel lonely. But on all days, I try to choose a nurturing voice that speaks to myself. Sometimes I call upon outside help and ask the Universe for guidance. So it is not always me taking care of me, but actually an ever-present energy, presence, ally - just like when I travelled back in time and saw my younger self. I immediately wanted to hug myself, and I am sure someone out there is hugging me right now, never letting me go.
How are you loving yourself? Let me know by sending an email to email@example.com – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
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