The Revolution Of Self-Love: A Yearlong Journey Of Self-Love: 52 Authors, Stories, And Exercises is an amazing book that takes you by the hand on a journey towards yourself. Thanks to the 52 authors, you can truly realize that you are not alone to struggle with self hate. More than a book, The Revolution Of Self-Love is an exercise assignment, with concrete ways to walk on the self-love path my friend my sister. Here are the key points I take away from The Revolution Of Self-Love.
1. The people around us
Assessing who we choose to surround ourselves with is a first step: “You are the sum of the company you keep. Life becomes better and easier when the people around you are growing in the same positive, expansive, beautiful ways that you are.”
No, it’s not rude to take some distance from negative people. And yes it is our responsibility to really cut cords when people around us are downright hurtful or abusive.
2. Searching inside ourselves
Self-love requires us to have the bravery to take a deep close look at ourselves. Such an inside quest means that our focus has to shift from people pleasing to assessing what we need: “How could I make myself happy if I didn’t know what I really wanted? I was always more concerned about everyone else and their needs because I needed their love; because I was missing my own.”
What do you really want my friend my sister? For instance, I want a man who loves being healthy with me. Yes, I never rejected someone because he was smoking and drinking, but deep down I admit it: I would love to one day meet someone who takes care of himself. It’s new for me to write it clearly like that you know.
3. A work in progress on the path of love
Have you ever seen a woman who had all figured out and really loves herself? Sincerely, there are so many days when I feel sad and desperate my friend my sister.
Self-love is an ever-ending task, a life’s work: “We will always be a work in progress, as perfection is not a human quality. However, we can always choose to walk in the direction of light and love. We can always strive to be a better version of ourselves.”
A little tip? “I started taking “should” out of my life as much as possible.”
You can also take you out for dinner. I did it once, in Paris, alone in a Chinese restaurant. I also went to the movies by myself for many years. It was a joyful experience. “What has been the most helpful way to learn self-love is to date myself!” reads The Revolution Of Self-Love.
Need more pragmatic tips my friend my sister? “Each time you say a judgmental or negative comment to yourself or about yourself, you must give yourself three compliments.”
What about singing? “One of the most dramatic shifts came when I started to sing love songs to myself that I wished others would sing to me.”
4. Another way to deal with rejection
I am the first one to have done that, and I guess I may still do it without being aware of it: building walls around my heart to protect it: “I strategically learned to build walls that would ensure I was safe from more rejection.” Let me tell you sister, this doesn’t help.
The authors of The Revolution Of Self-Love write: “Self-love wasn’t always a part of my vocabulary. I thought barricading and isolating myself were acts of self-love. I thought it was supposed to look like me shutting everyone out. If I never let anyone in then I would never get hurt. Plus, protecting yourself is the most significant act of love, isn’t it? In hopes of blocking others out, I subconsciously built a wall up around my heart.”
You know, I loved someone, very deeply. I removed the walls. It didn’t prevent me from being rejected my friend my sister.
I learned the same lesson, that building walls around the heart wasn’t a good protection, in the great book The forty rules of love by Elif Shafak of which I lovingly made a review for you.
So what do we do?
Can we avoid getting hurt in love?
The secret is to understand that being rejected is not an indication about us my friend my sister. Yes, he did leave me, but maybe he had his reasons, maybe it wasn’t the good time for him, maybe he was afraid, I don’t know. Maybe I just did nothing wrong and someone else would have been thrilled to be with me at his place.
“The biggest lesson that I learned and have taken with me is not to take anything personally. Nothing that other people do is about me or because of me.” It doesn’t mean that the man who left me was bad. Not at all. I still admire him as much as I did when I met him. It’s just that he has his life and I didn’t understand everything. I wasn’t in his shoes.
My friend my sister: “You are never responsible for the actions other people take, you are only responsible for you.” reads the book The Revolution Of Self-Love. Of course, I think of the book The Four Agreements here.
5. Ending codependency
What is codependency? “I wanted him to want me the way I wanted him. I wanted him to be something he wasn’t. And somewhere inside me, I believed that if I cared enough about him and loved him that he would eventually love himself and then me.” You know in the past, I have been attracted to broken and addicted men. Not anymore. I cannot save them. Even more revolutionary: we are not victims: “What I didn’t understand was that, in thinking of myself as a victim, I also saw everyone around me as victims who constantly needed my rescuing.”
Moreover, I cannot make them love me. “I alone am responsible for loving and caring for myself and that I have all the power to do so.”
The dream of belonging to someone else is actually a nightmare. I am not an object. I am whole already. “I would always be my number one, put myself first and tend to my own needs and desires. I was the one, and for the first time in my life, I belonged to myself fully.”
How to recognize that the relationship you are in is not healthy? Easy! “I learned that the moment I start to sacrifice the person I am in a relationship is the exact moment I need to get out of that relationship.”
I am ashamed but I wrote it in my first book The Knot in the Spiral: I almost die trying to please someone who wanted to destroy me. “I can see clearly that I was addicted to this stress, to the pleasing of other people, so much that I nearly worked myself into my grave.”
6. A revolutionary pleasure
Self love is (almost) all I talk about now, yet it was such a new thing to me a decade ago. “Self-love can’t be monetized and doesn’t increase productivity, so I have been told it is worthless. Self-love is revolutionary because it is, in a sense, a hedonistic pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake, for nobody but yourself.”
I do not love myself because I’m perfect, but because I’m human. My shortcomings and inadequacies are something I like too. I don’t want to reject them anymore. “Self-love is loving yourself because of your flaws and your darkness and feeling confident in the fact that your needs and wants are just as critical as everyone else’s.”
Wait! Where do I start?
My favorite motivational words are: step by step. “There is no quick fix to self-love, it is like a muscle that gets stronger with each practice. Survival kept me alive, but it didn’t keep me living.” Practicing self love and exercising are similar. They need consistency my friend my sister: “Self-love is a decision that has to be made every day.”
Falling in love with yourself?
The book The Revolution Of Self-Love has a great tip for us: “I imagine looking at myself through the eyes of someone that loves me.” Can you try it my friend my sister? Can you be your lover, your champion?
A note on addictions
I was bulimic in the past because I wanted to fill a void inside of me. Food seems like safety. However, self-love is a great way to let go of addictive behaviours my friend my sister: “I have felt the resonance of addictive behaviors fall by the side when I can feel the presence of love inside.”
My life is my responsibility
““I am responsible for me” means that, if I don’t take my self-care bath or a solo walk around the block, I can’t point my exhausted finger at anyone but me.” write the authors of The Revolution Of Self-Love.
Is there really a virtue in suffering?
I learned that exhausting myself wasn’t going to bring me the love I craved. Self sacrifice is going to end my life prematurely, not giving me a medal of honor. “I remember when I finally realized that I deserved to take care of myself; that living in pain was not serving anyone, and it did not make me noble to suffer unnecessarily.”
7. The secret of loving relationships
A man I really love once told me that there should be my face in the dictionary next to the word “integrity”. Slowly, I learned to give up when I could see the man I love was not available. Trust me, it was hard at first but it’s a process, a necessary process. “Love is unconditional but relationships are not. A key to self-love is living in integrity. Keep that integrity in your relationships no matter how much the people you love beg you to lower your standards.”
The authors of The Revolution Of Self-Love write: “Just because you lay down boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t love them, it just means the ball is in their court to step up and respect the love you give.”
8. The law of attraction
The law of attraction is having a bad rap sometimes because it’s not understood. It works on all emotions, sensations and visualisation: “I practiced visualizing how I wanted my future to look: how I wanted to feel, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. I practiced and embodied how my future self would act, feel and be and made a commitment to be that person every day. I learned tools to support me in overcoming those moments when my past self would try and draw me back. Every day I practiced, committed and invested wholeheartedly into being my future self until it was more of a habit than being my past self.”
Write it down
I am a big fan of writing down my dreams my friend my sister. It brings clarity to your mind and it just works. Try it. Feel it. Believe it. Most importantly, act as if you had it in your life already.
9. Respect starts with us
I cannot blame the man who didn’t respect me. “I realized that if I didn’t respect my boundaries, then no one else would.”
The Revolution Of Self-Love explains: “Self-love is the practice of unconditionally loving yourself regardless of the situation. To unconditionally love ourselves, we first need to forgive ourselves for all the things we have held onto or punished ourselves for. Use this forgiveness ceremony to mend your relationship with your past selves.”
A way of avoiding myself
Desperate for love, I was trying to save broken and dangerous men. I wasn’t a saint, but an avoider: “Many people enjoy filling others’ cups by way of giving love, or attention or assistance when needed, and this is admirable, of course. However, when you are trying to fill others’ cups when yours only has drops of energy in it, you often experience symptoms such as fatigue, stress, feelings of being overwhelmed or overworked. And it makes complete sense because you are giving everything in your cup to others, before caring to fill your own cup first.”
You are not alone
I am so ashamed of how he treated me. I am so so ashamed. Yet, if I turn my gaze around, I did accept it. Why? Why did I sink so low? I want to share it with you today so you know you are not alone: “(…) why I would let someone, anyone treat me with so much disrespect and disregard. Was I a glutton for punishment? Do I not have any self-respect? Do I not love myself? I would never treat anyone like that nor would I allow anyone to treat my kids the way I allowed this man to treat me.”
The authors of the book The Revolution Of Self-Love write: “I realized I didn’t have to do anything that didn’t feel good to me. I saw that the world didn’t fall apart if I didn’t force myself to do things I felt I had to or needed to do.”
Another great tip for everyday life my friend my sister: “I started to ask myself the question, “What would someone who loves themselves do?” I approached every decision, big or small, from this space.”
10. What we really really want
We have often been conditioned to put others first at all cost. We need to slowly relearn to make ourselves a priority my friend my sister: “My parents and school had taught me that a good girl should focus on helping others, not wanting anything for herself”.
The danger of being perfect
Have you ever experienced the following (I did): “I was walking on eggshells, bending over backward to be the most perfect wife, friend, mom I could be, and it didn’t matter. Another person’s happiness is their choice and if they choose to be unhappy, no matter what you do, you can’t change their unhappiness.”
Identify what you truly desire
Wanting and desiring are positive things. “Many of the things we want will ultimately benefit our circles of family and community. If nobody wanted anything, nothing would ever get done.”
The book The Revolution Of Self-Love invites you to do a little exercise to identify your desires and why you may resist them: “Label the left-hand column: Desire. Label the right-hand column: Conflicting Desire”. It really helps to be clearer in our heads.
Your desires may be different from mainstream standards, so what my friend my sister? I met countless lawyers who had the so-called dream career yet their life was depressing and empty. “I realized how unhappy I truly was, trying to live a life I believed I wanted because it was what everyone told me was ideal.”
You know what? I just don’t care about material possessions, I have a second-hand car I love, I have less clothes and shoes than my kids. What matters to me is fresh produce and loving relationships and I couldn’t care less if I look like an alien to some. I quit my promising career in finance for happiness and I don’t regret it one second.
Finding your own way
I am concluding this great review with my favorite quote from the bookThe Revolution Of Self-Love: “Self-love comes in many shapes and forms, just like we do as human beings. For me, it has been following my heart and not listening to what society expects.”