I'll Love You When ______
The words ‘unconditional love’ were commonly used in my household growing up, whether speaking of God or my parent’s love towards us children. It wasn’t until recently that I flipped the concept and asked whether I unconditionally loved myself. The answer wasn’t so easy to swallow.
I became aware of my tendency to think, ‘I will love myself when ______ happens.’ I’ll love myself more once I land this job. I’ll be proud of my progress once I hit 100,000 subscribers. I’ll be content in who I am by the time I’m 30. As I’m sure you know by now, the list of prerequisites never stops growing even after you meet the mark.
Unconditional love is a beautiful concept, but I believe we can’t fully give to others what we haven’t learned within ourselves. If you place expectations in front of freely flowing love, you never experience the fullness of grace. When you withhold love from yourself, you subconsciously withhold it from those who surround you as well. Love with expectations isn’t a desirable package deal and doesn’t feel good for either parties involved.
Loving yourself, here and now, is a vulnerable state. It opens you up to the possibility of failing and not being able to beat yourself up in return. But it unlocks your ability to engage in real love that actually embraces imperfection. Love that celebrates the highs and the lows, wins and loses. Love that allows you to be who you were created to be, nothing on hold.
If you find yourself in a rut of self-doubt, pushing away love, or letting your inner critic run the show - walk up to a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say “I love you exactly where you are.” When I’m in a tough spot these words are enough to make me tear up as my heart begins to soften and I remember I’m human. Be kind to yourself today and love the process of growing.