The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. ~ Diane von Fürstenberg
The calendar tells us that today is a day for love, a day to celebrate love, specifically romantic love. Instead of celebrating romantic love, I am choosing to celebrate self love because I truly believe that loving others starts with loving ourselves. The more love we give to ourselves, the more love we have to give to others and the more we love from a place of abundance.
I have been conceptualizing self love through symbols. Last weekend I was immersed in a yoga teacher training weekend. We were discussing The Yogic Life and one of my teachers, Bianca, drew this diagram for the group to illustrate this concept.
relationship to self
I was feeling a wee bit troubled that that top triangle was so small in relation to the whole, that in this diagram, the life affirming practices one does to cultivate a positive relationship with oneself was small in comparison. Sure, our relationship with ourselves is foundational and informs how our lives unfold, but if we wish to grow positive feelings toward ourselves, I think many would agree that we certainly improve how we feel about ourselves and have a better relationship with ourselves when we increase our life affirming practices.
What do life affirming practices look like? Yoga. Meditation. Mindfulness. Time in Nature. Sacred Ritual. Connection and Communion with others who share our values/passions/beliefs. Therapy (mental health, physical, massage). A slow, leisurely walk. Gazing at the Stars. Enjoying a cup of tea. Lighting a candle. Playing with kids. Volunteering. Gardening. Cooking. Sharing a meal with loved ones. Singing. Dancing. Retreat. . .
I was turning Bianca’s diagram around in my mind and re-conceptualizing it when this wave of geometrical inspiration/insight flowed through me.
I continued to play from this place of balance. What I discovered in shifting and re-framing the diagram was a symbol for sattvic love.
sattvic love ❤
Sattva, the “highest” of the three gunas (strands of existence, primordial energy), is one of my favorite Sanskrit words and its meanings include tranquility, peace, and happiness. Energetically, sattva is luminous light. Here I have to pause and marvel at my own “genius” / intuitive wisdom. Luminous light and love…this is *exactly* what I wrote about in “Maui Magic = LOVE.” In my symbol, I saw an energetic play of sattva; I saw balance, harmony, love.
My contemplation of symbols representing love continued throughout the weekend. I began to think about love through the symbol for infinity. What I saw taking shape is something I call the rebound of love, the idea that the energy we send out travels back to us.
the rebound of love ❤
I believe our inner dynamic shapes the outer dynamics of our lives. Do we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion? If we have difficulty offering ourselves kindness and compassion, how can we offer this to others genuinely and from a place of authenticity? If we are impatient and irritable with ourselves, those we interact with are likely to be met with impatience and irritability. The laws of attraction illuminate that “like attracts like.” If we are angry and irritable inside and out, we are likely to attract angry and irritable people into our lives. However, if we are kind, loving, giving, and caring toward ourselves (and others), we are more likely to attract kind, loving, giving, and caring people into our lives. This is one way we experience an energetic rebound, by attracting someone into our life that mirrors our inner and outer being.
Another way we experience an energetic rebound is to use the loving energy we have cultivated within to shift an interpersonal dynamic without. I have seen this play out in several relationships in my life. Over time I have cultivated love and warmth in relationships that were previously difficult and because of this difficulty I suffered. In places where I might have acted impatiently, I slowed down inside and breathed space into the moment and moved from a place of patience and equanimity. I began to bring lightness and humor into our interactions. I began to sprinkle expressions of care and affection, even if these expressions were as simple as “hey, I like your orange shirt.” I began to infuse more love into these relationships in various forms, shades, and colors. I showed up and continue to show up differently in relationships – from a place of loving presence. I have begun to feel the changes. More love and warmth and care is flowing back to me which affirms for me that we have the power to shape our lives and our relationships by first loving ourselves.
This 14th day of February, I invite you give yourself some love, to do something for yourself that is life affirming, to continue loving yourself throughout the year, and allow the love to flow / bounce back to you.
It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!
― Robert T. Kiosaki