In the Spring of 2004 I visited the artist Frida Kahlo’s house, La Casa Azul, named for its stunning, cobalt blue walls. I remember there being a slow, steady pace to enter the house-turned-museum; this was a house you didn’t rush through. As you can imagine, there was a lot to see—from her famous, colorful skirts on display, the ones she used to conceal her underdeveloped leg after contracting polio, to her elaborate kitchen, to her elegant bed, fashioned with a mirrored canopy she used to paint her many self-portraits while bedridden, to at last, her art, both fantastic and disturbing.
Frida Kahlo was a complex being. But then again, aren’t we all?
Beyond her complexity and self-declared strangeness, lies a woman who loved herself.
Kahlo spent much of her life in extreme physical pain. Psychologically, it is said she struggled many hardships, too. But despite all that, if you were to study her life, I believe you would agree that Frida Kahlo did in fact, love herself. That is, she learned to love herself.
Of course I didn’t know the famous artist personally, but I have a strong sense that I know where her love of self originated. I feel very confident that during the 1920’s and 30’s she did not attend workshops and seminars that taught you how to love yourself; no such things existed in Mexico at that time. No, what I believe is this: Kahlo declared it so. She decided to love herself, declared it, and whether it was true or not, over time she came to believe it.
And once we believe something, it is our truth.
Our beliefs make up who we are. You may choose to show the world a certain you, but what you believe about yourself is your reality, your truth. In short, what you believe about yourself is who you are.
What will it take to believe you are lovable? And I don’t mean lovable by others, but capable and deserving of loving yourself?
As complex as we are as humans, is it too simplistic to declare your love for yourself and have it be true? To declare your love for yourself vehemently and fiercely?
Close Your Eyes, Feel
After reading this section, close your eyes and imagine yourself standing in an open field with only soft grass under your feet—no trees nor shelter in any direction. Now imagine a steady stream of rain begin to fall. You have no umbrella. There is no cover in sight. Don’t bow your head down. Instead, tilt your face to the sky, allow your throat to be exposed and caressed by each drop of rain.
Feel each raindrop on your eyelids, soft and smooth. Raise your arms, turning your palms to face the sky. Keeping your eyes closed, feel each raindrop as a tiny, individual vial of medicine, each containing a serum called love. With the power of your mind, have the love-raindrops bathe and coat your body softly. Now, with an unexpected force, feel the raindrops as they pelt your forehead and throat; love beating to clamber inside you.
Raindrops, showering you both soft and hard, as you declare your love for yourself vehemently and fiercely. As you allow the love to penetrate you.
Decide to love yourself. Choose it. Declare it. Visualize it. Then trust.
What Comes After Trust?
Deciding, choosing, declaring, visualizing, and trusting all help to establish our belief system. Once we believe we are lovable (not think, hope, or wish we are lovable, but BELIEVE we are), it’s time to show our self-love through our actions.
What does that look like? Well, we touched on that last week in “Are You Constantly Searching For Love? Here’s One Sure Step for Finding Love.” But here’s where I’d like to hear from you. I would like to share in my next post not only ways that I’ve found to love myself, but also how you choose to love yourself. What does loving yourself look like?
Leave a comment below that you don’t mind sharing with others on how you love yourself, what it looks like. Or if you’d prefer to keep your identity confidential, send me an email at email@example.com and I will not disclose your name.
I look forward to receiving your self-love practices! Often times it’s the small, daily things we do for ourselves that show our love of self, so send me whatever pops in your mind…no act of self-love is too small (or too strange) to share. You never know, what you offer may be the exact thing someone needs to spark their own self-love practice.
Whether you are Frida Kahlo, Jane Doe, or John Smith, believe you can do this, you too can learn to love yourself (or love yourself more deeply).
Until next week, I send you much love and peace.