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In our modern society, we put a lot of emphasis—possibly more than ever before—on taking care of oneself. Most often, when we speak of “taking care of oneself” we focus on caring for the needs of the physical body, such as hygiene, diet, exercise, sleep, and so forth. A more complete version of self-care is self-love. To love oneself means practicing self-care for one’s soul as well as the body. This type of self-care and self-love (which is the only way to truly, honestly love another person) is a solo act; no other person on the planet can do it for us. In this episode, Jodi explains how we can enter and live in this Reality of personal responsibility and love.
Episode 40: Self-Care & Love (Part 1)
PDF Version: Episode 40: Self-Care & Love (Part 1)
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Good morning and welcome to January 2015. This is the podcast for the week of the 19th of January and we’re going to be talking today about self-care, and what a novel concept that is for many, many people in the world—of how to care for oneself and how self-care actually needs to translate into self-love, and so how to do that.
I also want to spend some time talking about where we learned how to care for—or not—ourselves, where that came from, and regardless of what we’re learned in our childhoods we can actually change that, and as adults make different choices that will support us to really learn how to love oneself.
self-care is much more popular in today’s world, more people are paying attention to taking care of oneself than probably ever before. We have gyms and we have all sorts of different activities that we can go out and participate in, athletic events, there’s more emphasis on taking care of oneself. And a lot of times, the focus is on the body. It’s like, make sure that you have good hygiene, you’re eating well, your nutrition is well, that you’re exercising, that you’re eating appropriate food so that you have good blood pressure, and those kinds of things—which are absolutely necessary to provide a healthy body.
The other part that I want to talk about and probably speak more to, is the care of one’s spirit or one’s soul. Caring for yourself is a solo act, believe it or not. Many of us don’t want to subscribe to that Truth because it will mean facing a Reality that might be uncomfortable and at times we are straight-up unwilling to face it, because that that means is that I am responsible for myself: I’m responsible for taking care of my physical body, my emotional body, my financial body, my social body, my sexual body, my spiritual body—anything that involves me, I am responsible for.
It means I and I alone am accountable for me. And sure, there’s an illusion that “makes me” believe or think, or want or desire that someone else should, and can, or must do things for me. And it’s true that people do have the capability of doing physical things for me. However, that is an illusion. Someone can bake me a cake or bring over a dinner for me, but as far as really taking care of my physical body, no one can eat for me, no one can exercise for me, no one’s heart can pump for me, no one can do that. I am responsible for what goes into my system, whether it’s through my mouth, whether it’s through my ears, my eyes—any of the portals in my body I am responsible for what happens to me in this paradigm of self-care.
So, doing physical things for someone does not translate into doing emotional and spiritual or even physiological things—so making another person’s body have physiological outcomes because I want it to. This level of “doing” has no translation, so it doesn’t matter how much I want someone to do that for me, they can’t—it’s impossible. Such as, I can’t exercise for you. We are each responsible for our own compassion, our own love, our own care and respect for our self.
Now, we can have people around us that love us and respect us and that’s really good, but as far as it really translating into me feeling respect for myself, it has to start with me. And then I can people around me that are respectable or respecting of myself. We are to learn how to engage this type of connection with ourselves, for as we all do, it will allow us to naturally give to others.
When we do this we’ll have such a desire to share that connection and value we feel towards ourselves, with other people. It almost seems odd that if learn to and practice caring and loving self that I would then only want to focus on myself, and only think of myself, and only care about myself, and thus become full of myself, full of greed, full of desire, aggression, covetousness, fill in the blank, it would be all about me.
But here’s the Truth. The antithesis is the Truth. The command for us to love others as we love ourselves is the directive and if we will truly—and that’s the key—if we will truly follow its words, we will learn to love others as we love ourselves. To love is without conditions, without motives, without guile, without expectation, without desire for reconciliation or repayment. Without desire of anything from the other person; love is a gift and it’s free. To love is an act of setting free the human spirit. In order to truly love, you must be actively filling and caring for yourself. Filling self with Truth by word and deed, caring and caressing the body as to keep it well and full of health and vigor. Being sensitive to what your senses are experiencing and only allowing into your body things of a healthy and healing and spiritually uplifting nature.
Doing these types of things are feeding to one’s soul—it feeds you. And it will fill you with light and spiritual power and an intense desire to do good, to be good, to share good, and to uplift anyone who is lacking spiritual strength or stamina. Loving oneself creates fruits of loving others. Loving oneself is the only way to truly, authentically love another.
So the directive is to love thyself. Let’s talk about how to do that.
[00:09:35] Self-Love vs. Shame
Before I go there I want to talk just quickly about what is one of the blocks to loving self. And you probably can guess it if you’ve been listening to me for a while—it is this component of shame. Shame is one of the greatest blocks of self-care. Shame is so commonplace in each of us, our families, our communities, our churches, our schools, our work and in our lives. Why is that—why is shame so ubiquitous? Because people exist in all those dynamics and settings. People, all of us, have and experience some level of shame. Some of us have exorbitant amounts of shame and pride, whereas others the occasional phrases that run through our heads and we reframe the lie—shame—quickly and chase it away with a statement of Truth. Shame or pride is the statements of distortion, lies, fantasy, distraction, disillusionment, and deception that we are first told in our minds, and then if we are not awake and aware, we will believe shame’s fantasy and its delusions. Shame distorts Reality and falsifies the facts and Truth.
Shame or pride are statements, and then they become beliefs that feel permanent and absolute. They speak in terms of I am or you are. They are personal, or they make things personal. They are constant. Shame just keeps coming constantly. They’re dishonest and deceptive and they distort Reality and Truth.
[00:11:12] Statements of Shame and Pride
Here are a handful of statements of shame and pride.
Let me just read shame statements then I’ll read pride statements so you can hear the difference between the two. But they both are coming from the same source, which is shame—it’s kind of under the same umbrella.
- I don’t matter.
- It’s not my fault.
- It’s not fair.
- I’m unworthy.
- I’m bad.
- I don’t deserve.
- I’m unlovable.
- I’m not enough.
- I’m a victim.
- I’m stupid.
- I’m dumb.
- I’m ugly.
- I’m undesirable.
- I’m the worst.
Pride sounds like this:
- I’m different.
- I’m better than.
- I’m the exception.
- It’s not my fault.
- I’m right, you’re wrong.
- You did this to me.
- Because of you …
- I’m special and unique.
- I shouldn’t have to …
- I’m entitled to do what I want.
- I don’t affect other people.
- My needs are the most important thing.
You can hear how one is very aggressive towards self and denigrates self, and the other is this self-adulation of aren’t I amazing?
How do I start loving myself? What is self-love? The way to become acquainted with what self-love is, is you have to first know what it’s not. If you don’t know the opposite or the antithesis of it, you will not be able to know if you’ve got it, if you’re doing the appropriate things to actually create love of self.
So let’s talk about two different things that self-love is not.
Let’s talk about selfishness. Selfishness is pride driven. It focuses on oneself to the exclusion of others. When we focus on what we want, what we think, what we desire, what we feel entitled to, what we believe is ours or should be ours (which may or may not be accurate), and do not think about others, or have empathy for others, or ourselves, or compassion for anyone else, we are being driven by selfish motives and desires; therefore there can never be love towards self. Or you can never give love to another person when you’re in this kind of mindset of me, me, me, me, me, me.
Pride (which is also shame) is the instigator of this type of focus on self. You cannot love self or others if you are in a prideful position. It may appear that the things you are doing are loving, but underneath the surface the lies—your true motives of your heart—those motives will reveal your true character. There’s no way to hide from them. There is no way to hide them from yourself or another, if you are willing to be honest with oneself and responsible to the Reality.
Living in pride will corrupt and taint anything or any intention that you desire to be pure or full of integrity. Selfishness is a destroyer of connection and compassion towards self and then towards others. It is appropriate to think of self and give to self, and take care of self, and love self; but if you’re being aware of self in those ways and not being in a prideful position, you will naturally and very much desire to give all you have and all you can (according to what’s appropriate) to another to support, aid, lift them up, love them, and connect with them without a second thought, without any words of encouragement, without any need to receive anything in return or in reward. No accolades, no acknowledgements, no fanfare, no gratitude.
Your desire to give and your ability to give is the payoff, it is the gratitude, it is the acknowledgement to oneself that another’s load is lightened, another’s burden has been lessened. That is the love. Love forged by you as you live in personal integrity towards self and others, and then you freely give that love to another human being who is in need of a compassionate hand.
It is a gift first given to you by living principles of Truth, and then shared with another. The hope is that this person receives the gift and that they will realize that love is shared and it is only temporary—that they too must create their own love for self, as was created by the person who freely shared the feel-good experience with them.
That is what selfishness is. And when you’re not in selfishness this is what happens, is that you freely want to give to another person. Pride / shame is driving this.
Let’s go to selflessness. A lot of times that word “selflessness” is being equated with a giving of oneself. It’s really positive and it has denotations of good, and God-like, and sacrificing. Selflessness is being driven by shame. The focus of selflessness is on others to the exclusion of self. Selfishness is the focus on oneself to the exclusion of others, and selflessness is the focus on others to the exclusion of self. When we focus on what others think, want, desire, expect, feel entitled to, or believe is theirs, or should be theirs (which may or may not be accurate that it should or shouldn’t be theirs) and do not think about ourselves, what we need, what we think, what we believe, what we’re being driven by (in distortion), we are being tricked into this belief called shame. Shame tells us that we don’t matter, that others are more important, that you’re going to look silly, or stupid, or bad, or inadequate if you don’t do for the other first. Shame is always spewing lies and deception about anything that has Truth in it.
The Truth is we are responsible for ourselves and no one else is. When we are in shame / selflessness, we cannot give to another person purely without wanting something in return—whether we do it consciously or unconsciously—for ourselves. When we attempt to give to another before we learn to give and care for self, we will always, always have a self-serving agenda in the background—that will be our motive, we will want to get something.
What appears to be a gift of caring and love from us, really, if it’s given in this selflessnessm is based in self-loathing, maybe self pity, maybe self-fear, and the conscious or unconscious attempts to receive recognition, praise, acknowledgement, gratitude or another nod of acceptance from the receiver. This type of “giving” is full of distortion and manipulation because the giving is not coming from an authentic place of love towards the receiver. I always want something. I either want them to talk about me in positive ways, I want them to smile at me, I want them to be happy with me, I want them to like what I gave them, I want them to not return it. I always want something.
This type of illusion of connection is very difficult to detect because, like the pride-driven connection, you must also know the motives, your heart, your desires. The initial behavior of the giver will not divulge their motives; however, if you watch the behaviors over time, their motives will be exposed. If I (the giver) am not paying attention to what is driving me—if I am not conscious—I will be driven by either shame or pride. One or the other will drive me.
And so, what I’m learning how to do is really learn how to give self-love. When you’re in either shame or pride, you’re in the other one. So if you’re in pride you’re in shame, when you’re in shame you go into pride, you go back and forth because it just bounces back and forth from one thought to the other. Both positions are full of distortions. One is not more prestigious than the other—other than, most people who are watching or participating in the shame dynamic would say that the shame interaction feels more loving than someone interacting with them in the pride dynamic.
The pride dynamic is overtly aggressive oftentimes, and more openly centered on self. Most people will accommodate the illusion of shame because it feels better to them than pride coming at them.
[00:20:09] Statements of Selflessness
This is what selflessness sounds like, and here’s how it behaves.
- I do whatever I have to do to make the other person _____, or give them what they want or need.
- I say, “I’m sorry” when I’ve done nothing to say sorry for.
- I don’t talk very much about myself, and if I do, it is in a tone of loathing; I talk in terms of not-enoughness and apologetic tones. So I’m either self-loathing, or I’m not enough, or I apologize for myself.
- What selflessness thinks is it’s my responsibility to give to others, to make them happy. I don’t want to offend or hurt anyone.
- And what it believes is my needs are not important or I don’t have needs. I’m responsible for how other people think.
[00:21:08] Statements of Selfishness
Selfishness, which is where the prides comes—this is the exclusion of others for self. Where selflessness is the exclusion of self for others, pride or selfishness says:
- I can do what I want.
- I deserve ______ (whatever). It’s mine.
It behaves like:
- I get to cut in line and take what I want.
- If I don’t get what I want, I get to do whatever is necessary to get what I want—I get to lie, steal, cheat, use, manipulate, step on, etc.
- I talk a lot and often about myself.
- How it thinks is,who cares about the others and how I’m affecting them?
- What it believes is, I’m the most important and they did this to me and it’s not my fault. Or you made me do this.
Those are two different areas that many of us, most of the time, fall into. The selfishness or the selflessness. And a lot of people will go into that selflessness and they will really believe that is a form of self-love and it just absolutely is not. And the only way to know if you’re in that stuff is that you’ve got to be really honest with yourself, emotionally honest, and then you have to look and take responsibility for the choices you’re making. Am I in this kind of martyr position of, look at me, or poor me, or I’m not enough, or I don’t matter, or I need to give and give and give until I fall on the floor—that’s really what a spiritual person does or a loving person does. You’ve got to really look at all the choices that you’re making and assess your agendas behind each one.
[00:22:53] Self-Love and Self-Care
Here’s what self-love or self-care looks like.
- When you engage in self-love you are awake and conscious to what you think, what you feel, and what you’re choosing. You are willing to take care for yourself in emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, financially, sexually, and in any other way that creates peace, connection, and Truth. In other words, you’re willing to live in emotional honesty, personal responsibility, and humility.
- You understand that you are the only one who can meet your personal, emotional, and spiritual needs.
- You’re the only one that can meet your physical needs and expectations. You and only you can do that.
Now, you might have a need that someone could help you with. I was in an accident several years ago and I could not clip my toenails. I couldn’t bend over. So I had a need or I had this desire for somebody to do that, so I took care of that need by asking someone. That’s my responsibility. If someone in your life is not willing to provide that for you, or even if they are willing to say that they’ll meet your needs, and then they can’t—so they change their mind and say “I will meet your needs,” but then they say, “Oops, I can’t.” Here’s the Truth: they are not responsible to meet your needs, you are.
And they’re not able to meet your needs because they aren’t “in you” to meet them—you are the only one who can accommodate yourself, you are the only one who knows what to think, or to feel, and perceive, and if you want to think or perceive differently. No one else knows that.
When you are honest within yourself and take responsibility for yourself, you feel connected to yourself and love for self. The only way love, respect, honor, value can be forged is to be willing to tell yourself the Truth about who you are, what you think, what your motives are. When you are willing to live in this manner you will feel connected and respect. And you’ll feel an incredible value and honor for yourself. No one can tell you how valued, how loved, how wonderful, smart, special, needed, good, fantastic, and on and on you are, and have do you feel those things. No one. Those adjectives must be earned by your willingness to be emotionally honest, by your willingness to be responsible for your choices and your feelings and your thoughts, and how you affect other people by your willingness to stay open, transparent, honest, humble, forthcoming with yourself and others.
No matter what the consequences bring, this is the only way to truly love oneself and then to be able to love others as God describes.
Self-love sounds like this:
- It says, I love me and I love you.
- I’m really good at tennis; I’m not as skilled as golf.
- You are better than I am at _____ (any skill / activity), … and good for you.
- I’m curious about you and how you think.
Self-love behaves like this:
- I give to you freely because I have fully taken care of myself first.
- I can ask for help when I need it.
- I don’t take offense when someone behaves inappropriately towards myself or another person.
- I behave in validating manners.
- I’m happy for your success even though I wasn’t successful.
Here’s how self-love thinks:
- I must live in honesty responsibility, and humility in order to stay conscious of what my motives are.
- Nothing people or life presents is personal.
Here’s what it believes:
- I’m divine and so are you.
- I can do anything I put my mind to.
- I am responsible to give to me and then give to others.
- Being vulnerable is powerful.
I want you to think about the power of what I just shared with you and we’re going to end the podcast there. I’m going to do another one this weekend on self-care as well—where it comes from. But I want to stop right here and I want you to think about am I loving others or loving myself in this manner? Am I doing it from a “selflessness” manner or am I doing it from a selfishness manner? Or am I truly loving—where I take care of self first, I live inside my integrity, I nurture my spirit, I stay congruent with my values, and my morals, and my beliefs. I am also nurturing and taking care of the body as well because we are not only physical, we are also spiritual. And both entities must be taken care of very deliberately in order for the whole person—the whole being—to be cared for and honored. So look at that in yourself and I will talk to you very soon.
Hopefully as you think about these questions you’ll be able to feel vulnerable enough to get to the Truth of what the Reality is around you—that’s my hope for you.
We’ll talk to each other soon and in the meantime, stay connected. Bye bye.
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