What does loving yourself really mean? Does it mean you don’t have an addiction? Does it mean you try to eat healthy or go through a few work-out kicks per year? Does it mean you love your hair color as it is and never dare dye it?
I don’t know.
As we approach the year anniversary of our “two-week lockdown” I remember how excited I was to cook, reconnect with my kids, and do lazy things you get to do at home. Ha. Lockdown is not lazy – I figured that out in about 4 days – lockdown is a mental mind fuck. We protected our physical bodies from the virus at the expense of our souls.
You know what I’ve noticed? That my followers are getting meaner. In the last year the comments on my posts have slowly but noticeably gotten nastier and nastier with each passing week.
I knew I had to save myself somehow.
Let me back up.
I had quite a time in the months immediately preceding the lockdown and I didn’t possess the emotional band-with to weather another blow in the form of social isolation while attempting to balance family+work. I knew I had to get to work right away on loving myself.
I had a great little intro into loving myself. I’d go on my roof and pray… I’d go running when I could… I’d write myself inspirational notes on my mirrors… I blogged… did breathwork… and tried to start meditating for the first real time in my life. Once I even went to a Buddhist sanctuary at the beach and hummed for 30 minutes in front of a shrine to Buddha because they told me to.
Then I rediscovered how much I love being outside.
I said F it and started flying again.
So I flew to Utah – often – and hiked and fished and shot guns and boated and went on more hikes and rode bikes and went on some different hikes. I also discovered baking at altitude is next to impossible.
Then we had an election and collectively we deepened our hatred and finger-pointing and widened the divide the pandemic had created. Oh yes, our bottled-up disdain for the state of our lives was given an outlet of release: We veiled our pandemic-induced anger as concern for our government as we insidiously judged strangers in the name of political hatred.
After that we underwent a once-in-a-hundred-years polar vortex (please, love your planet, she needs us) and sent our already mortally damaged mental health into another tailspin.
Back to me.
Back to loving me.
“But none of that is about you, Megh, you self-centered egotistical self-important idiot with an eating disorder and you’re not even cute and your tik-toks are dumb actually I think something is terribly wrong with you no wonder your husband left you, you deserved it.”
Yeah… that’s what I hear. All. The. Time.
So yep, back to loving me, because I refuse to let others’ darkness imprint on me.
Which brings us to today. I’ve started meditating every day for 10 minutes. I’m terrible, can’t focus, and I have to set a timer. Sometimes I fall asleep. But I do it every day without fail because I’m trying to love me more. I’ve also started doing hot yoga again. It’s like the most beautiful measured pain in the universe – half meditation/half workout. I let my hippy-dippy self pop out for a minute: I’ve started lighting incense, drawing cards, using more essential oils, and forcing myself to eat foods I hate – especially fermented ones.
But the hardest? Looking in my own eyes in the mirror at yoga and saying “I love you. You can push yourself farther because I believe in you.” And looking into the mirror after a shower and saying to my most loathed features “I love you, broad shoulders. You have carried the weight of the world and I am proud you are mine.” Actually, even just looking into my own eyes as if I am an observer who has fallen in love with ME, well that’s hard.
Why is it awkward? Why am I embarrassed to receive love from myself? Now that’s messed up.
I’m sick of living my life in the confines of what I “think” I should do or want. I’m going back to the freedom, innocence, and wide-open possibilities of 6 year old Meghan.
I’m making sure that I get to the point where I’m totally in love with myself and I’ll know when I gaze into my eyes in the mirror and believe it when I emphatically say, “I love you, Meghan O’Toole King, just exactly as you are and everything about you.” I’ll know I love myself when I wholeheartedly expect the love pouring from my soul into my reflection. And I’ll know it when my true love for myself is the ultimate comforting reassurance I could possibly hope to discover in any lifetime.