I recently wrote about self-care and the mindfulness that I find so important to go along with it. Tonight I want to write about self-love. As I spent a long day caring for my father as well as supporting his wife, I realized I was feeling exhausted and had neglected my morning run. I’m grateful for the beautiful, rural area in which my father lives. Though it’s difficult when it comes to doctor visits and hospital stays, it is key to my mental health when my dad is in need of extra support. I can run without crossing paths with another person and I appreciate that level of solitude.
Tonight’s run included listening to an audiobook by Mandy Morris. Though the book is about manifesting, what I most appreciate is her work with patients in Norway who have PTSD and a history of trauma. Mandy’s approach of unconditional love resonates with me and the work I have done with my clients, both those who are survivors of trauma as well as those clients with other needs.
I find it important not only to have unconditional love towards others, but also for myself. What does self-love look like? Is it establishing boundaries? Using the block feature on your cell phone? Is it walking away from a toxic friendship or an abusive relationship? Perhaps it’s taking down walls and letting love in? Or maybe it’s finally scheduling an appointment with a therapist. Self-love can look differently for everyone.
Several years ago after losing both of my maternal grandparents and going through a divorce, I decided to meditate on unconditional love. Each night my meditation practice focused on unconditional love as I drifted off to sleep. During this time in my life I was caring for people with dementia who lived in their own home and my primary clients were an elderly couple. This couple each were at different stages with Alzheimer’s and I enjoyed every minute I spent with them. On one particularly difficult morning with her, I sat at the breakfast table letting her roam around their small home while he ate his morning meal. At one point she entered the kitchen and her clouded gaze immediately went to her long time love, a love that was not clouded by memory loss. It was in that moment that I recognized what I had been meditating on for months…unconditional love.