Being an immigrant like myself, Self Love has been a concept which is super abstract and somewhat unrealistic. I came from a culture that honored hard work and 10,000 hours of commitment. In comparison to success, self love felt like a sleeping pill that yields no real profit. Over the past few years, however, there are a few things about self love that has shaped my life. On today’s episode, I’m sharing my own growing path towards love, as well as where did I find true love for myself.
Admit that we want to be loved
There is one toxic trait that we are all somewhat guilt of, which is this habit to only start self love when something in relationship stopped working. We all tend to invest in a lot of time, looking for this perfect partner to fulfill ourselves, and make us feel complete. Then after we finally lock down someone, we have to put hard work into the relationship in order to achieve that perfect image of “finding the love of my life”! But the truth is, hiccup is guaranteed to happen and things will fall apart, no matter what.
As a modern day independent woman, our first response is usually something like: “You know what, I don’t need anyone to make me happy, I’m just gonna be happy by myself! I’m gonna buy myself some good food, nice clothes, and hang out with cool friends, to prove that I’m totally fine by myself!” It is definitely an inspiring self talk, however I’ve never witness a soul just like that, found her happily ever after all within herself! Instead it always ended up more like this: one day she met this perfect new guy, they fell in love and everything worked out cause he was the right match!
Earlier this year, my partner of a decade decided to went on a solo trip. It felt a bit abnormal at the beginning, but then I realize this could be a great opportunity for both of us to experience what it’s like to live a life without each other! Usually in my everyday life, I resent my partner here and there for all the tiny difference we have in our daily routine! To my big surprise, after he was gone, I lost all my desire to clean up the apartment, deal with laundry, or even cooking. I ended playing video games all day, ordering food delivery, and leave all my clothes all over the apartment!! I completely turned into my partner and I was so relaxed and happy!! Ironically, all the things I used to be furious about him, turned out to be the exact thing I miss about him. I realize that one half of our life is all about the messy apartment, however the other side of the coin of all the love the we give and received between each other. When the mess is gone, the love was absent too!
Believe it or out, we all want to share a meaningful life with someone, a partner, a closed friend, a beloved pet or a community. As modern culture keep promoting this message that we are fully whole as ourselves, it is only half true. Because it is toxic when we are overly relying on each other and have no idea how to live life alone, on the other side, it is also toxic when we are overly confident about our individual power and ignore the fact that we are all co existing in this beautiful world! It is our beautiful human nature to want to be loved, all the time.
Understand our own love languages
We can only love someone as much as we love ourselves, and we can only feel loved by someone as much as we love ourselves. And if we don’t know enough about how to love ourselves, we can’t really know how to communicate with others about what we truly need, thus we don’t know how to open ourselves to intimate relationships.
So in order to love ourselves truly, first of all we need to identify the precious moments in our memory, surpassing the societal cliches, and recognize events that truly touch our heart! I learned a lot about my heart through my own wedding ring. It was a beautiful ring made with onxy, instead of diamond, which was requested specifically by me. But when I actually saw the ring, with a black rock instead of diamond, I felt super insecure! It was my own choice after all, but I was extremely nervous about not following the conventional path, and afraid of other people’s judgement. The funny thing is, a few years later I became a huge crystal nerd, and with a deeper understanding of onxy, I realize I couldn’t have asked for a better ring!
Alongside my love for crystals, I have also developed a passion of embracing the magical aspects of life beyond the mundane everyday routine. And in order to achieve that, I need to set up special space in my apartment, honor certain rituals in my daily practice, and demand alone time for readings, meditations and journaling. As I establish this lifestyle for myself, I learned that in order for me to share a life with someone, my partner needs to respect the time and space I need for myself to nurture my gift and connection to inspirations. Before I know myself better, when I was involved in environment that is too loud, or when my personal space is not honored, I simply just feel irrigated and frustrated, AKA not loved and heart broken. Now with a clear understanding of my own standard, when my specific needs of time and space is met, I feel loved.
And by tracing back to our treasured memory, it will usually show us a pattern of what matters to us most, which as a result will help you understand what is your unique wants and needs in life, alongside the special love language that would speak to you. It is up to you to figure out your own unique love languages, as well as be open to get to know them from your loved ones. You might be surprised with the love you’ll be able to give and receive all around you!
Open to receive!
Last but not least, are you willing to welcome into your life spontaneous happenings, that’s beyond what you are already familiar with? There’s a cat lady living in my Pre-War apartment building in New York, and this is a story about her.
Cat lady is not the most popular tenant in the building, thanks to her messy interior of the apartment that caused a major rat problems during the pandemic, and everyone was voting to evict her. But just like every tough old lady of NYC, she fought with the landlord with her own lawyer and kept her two bedroom apartment! She seems to hate everyone, and nobody likes her. Somehow I developed a soft spot for her in my heart and somewhere underneath her mess, I saw light.
Shortly after I moved into this building, my dog was almost attacked by her black fairy cat, who slip out the apartment and ambushed us in the staircase. Not long after that, she came knocking on my door, complained about how I was driving her crazy by vacuuming at 6pm. I settled for peace. And then again, she ran into me by the lobby, telling me my dog was too loud, and he should not play at night. I was like oh well, have a nice day. She was a typical annoying neighbor and I felt bad about myself for having a neighbor like her! However as time goes on, I started noticing her creative outfit as she passes by, and out of my art school habit I complimented her multiple times. Everything started to shift with our “fashion chat”, and she started to pet my dog, put a smile on her face for us, and never bothered to complain another word.
We are living in such a competitive society, filled with agenda and scarcity mentality. We are used to being so rude to each other on a day to day basis, or sometimes it’s this sense of fake kindness, that never reaches the heart. We put up walls to protect ourselves against everyone, and before we realize it, we are doing the same thing not only to our neighbors, but to our closest family and friends. I believe the key to happiness, is to build more roads that leads towards our hearts, instead of making it a destination on Mount Everest that even the bravest struggle to reach. It’s a choice that we all have to power to make!
As we wrap up, I want to leave you with some additional tricks for self love: First of all, start to create a nurturing environment for yourself at home, get to understand your favorite color and home decor style. Next, make a list of all the ingredients in your personal happy recipe, treat it like your grandma’s secret cookie formula and refine it every year! Last but not least, build a support system around yourself, with your favorite people and animals!
I truly hope you enjoyed this episode of my take on finding the true love for ourselves. And if you are interested in learning more about this topic, I have a series of workshops coming up, you can follow this link to read about more details and sign up for them! I’d love to connect with you on instagram if that’s your cup of tea! If you enjoyed the conversation, please leave me a review to let me know, as it will tremendously help us reach more like minded folks!!
Thank you for stopping by, and remember you are a star, and you are ready to shine! 😀