It's a word being tossed around quite a bit these days.

But what does it really mean?

Self love is more than just self care: eating healthfully, exercising regularly, and being committed to your morning routine. Self love is truly about radical self acceptance. It's about accepting any and all parts of your beautifully intricate wild soul. 

What self love is not? It is not self improvement, reluctant resignation, sheer willpower, or "becoming a better person." Constantly reaching for something that we are currently not is just another manifestation of the scarcity mindset. It's a subtle way of saying, I am not enough just as I am. Self love is realizing and supporting the whole perfect being you already are

The ever present paradox is that there is always an evolution of self that unfolds, bringing us closer and more aligned with our deepest essence. But the absolute starting line of this unfolding is a space of completely and totally accepting where we are in this moment

And those parts of ourselves that actually need the most self love? They are those that we love to hate. Those parts of us that contain the most shame, the most guilt. They are the parts we want to completely hide from others, those parts that make us feel most vulnerable to face and reveal. 

Self love is, at its core, about turning toward and really LOVING those shattered pieces of ourselves. Those pieces that hold the deepest shame, and guilt, and grief, and anger, and fear. It's about integrating and becoming whole again. It's about gentleness, gratitude, and grace. 

And this isn't a something we will automatically have down pat tomorrow. Like any skill, it takes practice to make second nature, especially after a lifetime of programmed response. 

It takes conscious awareness to be awake to when you're used to falling into the trap of playing small. It takes baby steps to walk ourselves out of the corner of self loathing and into a spaciousness of total, gushy, heart-bursting self love. 

Begin by waking up to the way you speak to yourself, the way you hide parts of yourself, the way you choose smallness and silence over fullness and speaking your truth.

Embrace your darkness. Dredge into your depths and open your heart to those shunned, repressed, much loathed parts of your wild soul.

For there you will find the greatest love of all.