Can I cradle you in the nook of my arms? If you were here, would you let me? Hold you I mean? I don’t just want a hug. I want to hold you so we cry together. Kiss the top of your forehead like a mother would. On the shoulder of comfort, let your tears drench my shirt and I will love you like an infant. Can these words hold your head up? I do not want the soft spot of your pain to blemish the fragile newness of the warrior you are becoming. Your critics will look at what you are, but I see what you can become. But you’ve got to let me do my job. Let me hold you. Cradle you in my arms with these words. Cradle you in my arms with this pen. This is not a blog. Not today. Today this is air. This is breath. This is permission to breathe. These are words wooing lullabies for the exhausted spirits of the broken.
I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It’s slow, a little boring and I find the portrayal of submission and authority and the use of scripture to verify abuse offensive, filled with all of the stereotypes and misconceptions the world has taught in regard to a woman and man’s divine role. But, there is one perfect example in the series that illustrates why self-love is so important.
The TV show is based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood and is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women, June (Offred), is determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, and find the daughter that was taken from her.
Self-love is important because you can only love others to the extent that you already love yourself.
When the wives of the wealthy men abuse their Handmaid’s, it’s because they hate themselves. They hate themselves for not being able to bear children. They only show love (if we can call it that) to the Handmaid’s when they love themselves and they only love themselves when they have conceived (through the handmaids) children.
Love Yourself. Know Yourself. Be Yourself.
Self-love is not being arrogant and prideful, it is not about the clothing you wear, not about how many likes and comments you get on a post, not about the amount of money you make or what you do for a living. Rather, self-love is a state of appreciation for yourself that grows from actions that support your physical, mental, professional, and spiritual growth. When Self-love is present, we begin to accept better our weaknesses as well as our strengths without thinking badly about ourselves. We are not easily provoked, popping off and cursing people out every time they say something bad about us. We have less of a need to explain our actions and decisions when we know who we are and what our intentions are. We are not quick to over-intellectualize our shortcomings in an effort to get people to understand us. We have more compassion for ourselves instead of beating ourselves down when we do something wrong and we are more centered in our life purpose and values.
Self-love also gives us the discipline to deny what we want for what we need. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
When we love ourselves, we expect more of ourselves and of the people around us. No longer does it become acceptable to treat us any differently than we would treat ourselves. When we love ourselves, we demand more and we give more. When we love ourselves, we become more productive professionally, spiritually, and physically. Our cup runs over and we are able to give more to others.
Self-love is important because you will otherwise hate others in the same way that you hate yourself…
…which leads to abuse. Abuse of your friendships, abuse of your relationships, abuse of your career, abuse of your children, abuse of your family. People who hate themselves destroy everyone and everything around them. In turn, they cope by deceiving themselves into thinking it is someone else fault. The truth is that relationships are two-sided. It is never 100% the other persons’ fault but each person has come with their own set of issues. But if you don’t love yourself, you’ll lack accountability for your actions. You’ll tend to always make other people the villain and you, always, the victim.
Remember, without love, knowledge is nothing. Without love, prophecy is nothing. Without love, the truth is nothing.
Now, Enter the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest before July 31st!
Win money. Win books. Get published. Get noticed.
The theme for this year is: Self-Love, Self-Care. Write a poem that talks about self-love or self-care in some way and email it to yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot) com
Don’t forget to read the full rules and guidelines HERE to learn more about this year’s prizes and how to enter.
That’s it! 3poem max per poet. Enter BEFORE 12:00pm EST on July 31, 2018. Winners announced on August 22, 2018.
Today’s episode is about being patient and gentle with yourself. We already spoke about responsibility and discipline. If you set a goal and you didn’t meet that goal, don’t beat yourself over the head. We need time to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally in whatever we are doing. This is a process. It even takes time to heal. Give yourself that time. Don’t verbally abuse yourself and talk down to yourself. There are plenty of people in the world who will do that for you. Spare yourself the added abuse by being gentle with yourself.
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Episode 6 – Be Gentle with Yourself
“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people.”
– Huey P. Newton
The way you treat people is only partly for them, but mostly it’s for you. To bestowe mercy on others, to show love and compassion even to those who aren’t showing it toward you, this is for you. To not judge others harshly helps them sure, but ultimately you are made better and your growth increases. To be tolerant, and sympathetically aware of others feelings is to be understanding. We need more understanding and not fall victim to judging people without compassion because then we easily prove ourselves to be fools, and the same judgment we give, is what we will be given back. This is why it’s not just for others, but also for ourselves.
Sometimes you must step back and look at your actions as if stepping outside yourself. Stepping back and looking at the whole picture. Anyone can respect those who respect them but it takes a uniquely special individual to be kind even when other’s are not. It is not then just about how we treat those who are good to us, but also those who are not. This is what makes us special and sets us apart. What I’ve learned in life in general is to always be teachable. Not always teaching, but always teachable. You can’t think you just have it all together and be so quick to criticize and bash others. Just show love. Be merciful even when people may not deserve it, not necessarily for their sake but mostly for yourself.
In “A Child is Born” a great photographic look on life inside the womb, Lennart Nilson and Lars Hamberger begin their work with love:
“Love is an incredibly strong, enduring force and has been since time immemorial. The pattern is recognized in every culture in our world: two people are mutually attracted and feel the irresistible urge to unite.”
Love is a very powerful verb. It overcomes all things; it endures all things. Every culture around the world and every people can understand the language of love. If I traveled to Germany and saw a man having trouble standing up straight I will be moved to assist him, along with other bystanders who will immediately drop their current endeavors to assist this man—this is the language of love. We do not need to speak the German tongue to know that he needs help. This is the power of love. Sometimes love will cause one person to separate from another, not because they hate them, but because they love themselves too much to allow another person to continuously cross them because just as love is beautiful, love is also discipline. Even in war, the army that loves is always the army that wins because love overcomes hate. It possesses a very strong and immovable purity. If a man fights for a cause he truly loves, that cause is better able to grow because of his love for it. For this reason we should not think that discipline is not love. Sometimes love will require you to do away with those things you enjoy doing because it’s wrong or is just not healthy for you. After all, you cannot love anyone else if you do not love yourself first.
The world teaches us that anything (to which it promotes) truth or no truth, must be accepted as truth or else that rejection is void of love. Just because I don’t agree with you does not mean I don’t love you. It does not mean I won’t offer you the same love that is due everyone else. But if asked I’m going to tell you the truth, and I’m going to do it without judgment because “it is rain that grows flowers, not thunder” (Rumi). At the same time, when it get to the point where we can no longer walk together, this will not mean that I don’t love you, though that’s what the world teaches. If I cut you off it does not mean that I hate you, it’s just that I will not allow myself to be disrespected, nor will I conform to the contours of lies for the sake of peace, because I love myself too much to be willingly led astray. It is only logical, that when two people can no longer agree, the two must separate, but they can still love each other in the process. As a result, if there’s anything you need that I have, I will give it if given the chance because that’s love. I don’t have to agree with you, but I can forgive you of all your transgressions against me, and if you need the shirt off my back I will give it to you because that’s love. If you look around you however, you will see that this understanding is absent in the world. Too many people are filled with pride. They walk around holding onto grudges as if they themselves have the power to save and to condemn. Men have grown cold and the thought of his heart is only evil continually.
Have you ever wondered why children are so precious? Do you ever wonder why they speak to everyone? Why they want to hug and cling onto everyone they see? In this world we have to shield them from that, touching and speaking to everyone, because people have become so defiled with hatred. The reason however, children touch and feel is because they have a genuine love for others. It is only when we age that we lose some of that virtue and we become just as cold and hateful as the world around us. The world does not know love. The world does not teach love. The world does not love. Instead, in many ways the world has robbed us of love; like a child who loses his innocence, we have lost track of how to love. It is our life source yet it is missing from our lives. It is the umbilical cord that connects us to our creator and to the rest of mankind. It is both essential and necessary for mankind to surround itself with love. It is the air we breathe and without it we suffocate. In fact, mankind today is suffocating and have been for a long time; suffering silently because it does not have love. Man searches for it, but he is unable to find it. From the moment we emerge from our mother’s wombs we are looking for love. Many of us search for it, yearn for it, and even act out because we do not have it. We know it mostly by way of its relation to relationships. This is just one of the primary ways to which we seek to find it, in the embrace of another person; because mankind was made in the image of love, so in each other is where we often seek it.
If as a result mankind cannot love, then the very thing that makes us human has failed us because we do not know love, cannot find love, and cannot exhibit love. It is a love that is so important to have that it is required before we can ever attempt to define what it means to be human, for humanity itself requires it. That’s why some people just wake up and decide to murder an entire family. They are so imbalanced that they explode, go crazy, and become deranged; they lose track of their humanity, and all because they do not know love.
When mankind loses the ability to love or to be loved by someone else, mankind is no longer human. That’s the power of love, and it is the answer to every question.