What would happen if we all fell in love on the same day, this time with ourselves? Would we call in sick and take ourselves out to brunch, only to find lines out the door because everyone else also craved baked leeks with eggs en cocotte? Would we, once seated with a white linen napkin, write ourselves the love letter no one else thought to send us? What would it say? Would we bother to put on a stamp and mail it, just to get the official postmark? Would we look back and say “that was the day that everything changed?”
Because I know every detail, every secret message, every unwritten love letter, and every unlock cheat code to my heart. I’ve memorized the KONAMI up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right to my clit like no one else.
Only I know all the ways my soul craves to be loved. Even if I could write all the rules down in a three volume, red-leather-bound set, a) no one would want to read it and would rightly run for the hills when I finally got up the courage to bust it out on the third date, but even more importantly, b) my fickle heart changes too quickly to ever be documented like a piece of project management software. What fun would that be anyway? My wild heart’s desires are as fleet as the wind. One moment it craves sitting on the floor delicately painting pink dots on paper, the next I’m restless and want to walk to the market to get pork chops. It’s all these moment-to-moment details that add up to happiness.
“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves” as Lord Chesterfield advised his young son.
So here’s when everything changes — when you decide to be deeply in love with yourself. Damn the bills, damn the boss, damn whomever wishes you ill, damn everything you perceive is blocking you from happiness, because the only person who can prevent you from loving yourself is you. Even damn your own damn self if you’re not sure you even know what your heart wants because you’ve been ignoring it for so long you’ve become numb to your own desires and dreams.
But I’ve got worse news… not only CAN no one love you like you can love you, no one WILL. This revelation greeted me like a bucket of cold, green slime from the 80s. (The only thing worse than a bucket of cold green slime would be a bucket of warm green slime.) I was crushing hard on an actual PhD in relationship psychology who landed in my living room. I was so grateful the universe had seen fit to plant him in the middle of my path. “Holy hell,” I thought, “he is truly the man of my dreams. No more emotionally unavailable, low EQ bullshit for me.” Yah… no, that didn’t work out. It turns out that relationship therapists have really great practice setting boundaries, and he had zero interest in loving me in ways I hadn’t been willing to love myself.
I finally got it — I am “the one” I’ve been waiting for. TA-FREAKING-DA. Put a red sequin tutu on me, and whack me with a magic wand. I love me in all the ways I want to be loved. If other people show up and want to love me too, that’s all gravy. This right here — this moment, this me––is as good as it gets until I decide to change my relationship to myself. I stopped waiting for someone else to love me.
What if the moment where everything changes is when you surrender to the idea that there’s nothing that needs to change for you to fall in love yourself? You don’t even need the red tutu or the magic wand. There is nothing that you need to achieve or fix about yourself before you get to treat yourself like someone you’re deeply in love with. Nothing.
Here’s the lie.
You think you’re unhappy because of your toxic asshole boss, your manipulative ex, your current partner who doesn’t fuck you enough, or whatever other bullshit drama is going on in your life. “Why can’t they be kinder, goddamn it? Why can’t they love and understand me better? Why do they keep hurting me so much?”
No, those aren’t the reasons you’re unhappy. You’re unhappy because you believe those other people are keeping you from falling deeply in love with yourself. You think your happiness is tied to your external circumstances. It’s not. You believe you‘re not allowed to tell your heart it can have whatever it wants and more.
Not only do you get to write yourself a permission slip to have what your heart wants, yours is the only goddamned signature on it that’s valid.
No one else CAN give you permission to be happy and love yourself – no one, no one, no one. Even if other people try, if you don’t believe you can give yourself permission, it won’t happen until you realize the authority is in you.
So let’s stop fucking around. Decide to treat yourself like someone you deeply love. You can do it right here sitting in your chair or waiting wherever you are. Do it right now. Imagine how you would feel being taken care of in that way. Imagine it’s already true that you care for yourself in that way. Put it on like a new suit of clothes. Go ahead and try it on. You can take it off if it doesn’t fit. If you put it on and it feels pinchy in a few places, notice and accept those too. Even if you can only feel the truth of this for a few moments, it will change you forever.
If nothing and no one changed in your life, what would you have to shift to treat yourself like someone you’re deeply in love with? What’s stopping you from making that shift right this minute?
If you absolutely can’t give yourself permission to love yourself right this minute, then pick a date on the calendar. Email a friend and tell them “Come hell or high water, I’m giving myself permission to love myself on this day.” Make the subject line “I’ll love myself on (DATE).” Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and yours will be the very next email I reply to.
Whenever you do decide you get to treat yourself like someone you’re deeply in love with, make sure you do something to remind yourself — hey, everything changed.Save this upside-down wheel of fortune card to your phone. Open the image and rotate so it is face up. It was only ever an illusion that your fortune was upside down or that your external circumstances dictated your emotions. Wheels have no right side up anyway! You have in every moment the ability to love yourself, no matter the circumstances.
Rotate the image. Save it and make it your phone’s wallpaper. When you’re tempted to beat yourself up or do anything that doesn’t honor your heart’s desire, remember — everything’s changed. Because the day that everything changed… that day is today.
See the shadow reversal > Rejection