By Natalie Kusturic
Cover photo by Rochelle Brown
Love is the most powerful force on the planet. We all desire to feel loved and be loved. This need haunts our lives.
We want it in our families, with our friends, at work, and in our intimate relationships. We scan our environment for proof that we are loved. When a family member wants to be the first to wish you a happy birthday you feel loved. When a friend calls you when they are having a hard time and trusts you with their deepest feelings you feel loved. When you get your work review and it is filled with words like reliable, caring, team player, or creative you feel loved. When your lover looks at you first thing in the morning after a sleepless night and says you look beautiful or handsome your heart sings and you feel loved. These are all wonderful and life-affirming moments.
Yet life is not always like this. Life will test you and ask the question how much do you really love yourself? Yes, there is more to self-love than external validation. Self-love is an internal process of learning to love all of you. It is the willingness to shed light on the dark so real transformation can take place. It is the moment when you say “Yes, I lied. Yes, I did not follow through. Yes, I let you down. Despite all these shortcomings I love myself.”
Yet even this is still not enough. That’s right – you’re human, and your ability to screw up is infinite and runs deep. I’d even say you are hardwired to believe the worst about yourself before you ever believe the good. This means you will often throw in the towel and give up on yourself.
Wait, what?! How do you give up on someone you supposedly love?
You do it all the time. It’s that little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. It is the frozen stance of “It doesn’t matter if I do it or not.” Self love means breaking through all of that.
Self-love is a struggle and it is real. To cultivate self-love one must be willing to hold herself accountable to herself everyday. It means that when the negative voice emerges and tells you that you are worthless, you argue with it. You find 100 different ways that you have value until the voice is silenced.
When you are stuck, you confront yourself and you move. You become your own drill sergeant. Get up and take action! Go the gym. Make the call. Offer help and show up. You do this until you move without effort and the feeling of stagnation lasts but a second.
Self-love is an act of wholehearted living. It is a willingness to stand up for who you are when you do not believe in you anymore. It is nothing less than act of daily courage and a willingness to mess up and do it again tomorrow. I hope you will wake up everyday and work to love yourself ferociously. I promise that if you do, you will change. Your life will become the dream.
That is a reality worth fighting for.
About the Author:
Natalie Kusturic is the founder of Natalie K and Company, a business committed to increasing self-awareness and raising the consciousness of the planet through exceptional mental health services and investment in conscious business. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and is a co-creator of Casa Mannabliss, a conscious living center in Delray Beach. She is currently a member of the Wise Tribe advisory board. You can learn more about her at https://www.nataliekusturic.com
Photo Credit: Milcho