The greatest love story ever told
I fell into a world of hurt. My way out? How about just loving myself
Sounds quaint but think about it for a moment.
We’ve all been taught to love others as we love ourselves. The Bible told us so.
But how many of us truly love ourselves? I, for one, never learned how to do it.
So after years of believing that this thing called Love comes from an outside source, I experienced an epiphany: I suddenly lost all false senses of security.
Here’s how it happened.
It began with an unholy trinity of circumstances. A snapshot of three years ago . . .
In body: An adrenal gland affliction led to a secondary condition called hyperthyroidism. Symptoms included 20 minutes of sleep a night for months.
In mind: A couple of would-be mentors whom I deeply loved and trusted as confidantes kicked me to the curb, so to speak, and kissed me off with the proverbial: “have a nice life.”
In love: I had been living with an ex in the first home where I had ever felt safe and supported — that is, before my ex decided to move in a new-found love interest who despised me. The rest is history.
Junkies of New Age books like The Secret say that we co-create our circumstances; on top of the ones above, I created yet another that was 100 percent of my own making.
I started a new business, solo, and had no savings or financial backer.
7 simple steps to learn how to love oneself
Feeling friendless, I began to transform my life by becoming my own best friend.
What did the Sufi mystic Rumi say? The path to happiness isn’t about one giant step but 1,000 baby ones? Something like that.
I now extended the same courtesies to myself:
1. When I packed my lunch, I drew a heart on the lunch baggie — and put my name in the middle of the heart.
2. I strategically placed sticky notes in my room with inspiring quotes — with the occasional “I love you” tucked in a hiding place like an Easter egg. I’d forget about those stickies, and then find them days or weeks later with a sense of surprise.
3. When I looked in the mirror, I meditated with a mantra of acceptance.
4. I wrote encouraging morning memos to myself with lipstick on the bathroom mirror.
5. When love songs came on the radio, I sang them to myself.
6. I treated my bedroom with some romantic feng shui: rose oil and a rose quartz heart stone, for example, near my pillow.
7. For Valentines Day I bought myself flowers, had my hair colored, and my head massaged.
Risk, Pray, Love — and Road Trips
Later in the year, I took myself on a trip to Naples, Florida. I had a strong desire to be near the ocean and meet with someone who had inspired my healing process.
As I drove from the Naples airport to my hotel that first night, I rolled down the windows.
The atmosphere was intoxicating. I screamed out the window, in a good way. I felt free.
I took a ton of pictures of myself — sea kayaking, swimming, dining on fresh seafood with strangers — so that I could look back at these photos, and see myself through a new set of eyes.
See the eyes of Christ in others; See yourself through the eyes of Christ
Later in the year, I took a second sojourn — this one to the retreat region of Sedona, Arizona. There, I absorbed the red-rock features that had inspired the mysticism of the Hopi Indians, and made the acquaintance of two spiritual teachers who helped me change my life.
They were modest folk of modest means but Marianne and Rollon were channeling enormous spiritual power. And that quality called forth a latent aspect I knew. Call it inner Love. Call it wisdom. Call it whatever you want. It was like looking in a brand new mirror.
A felt-shift began to take place in my energy anatomy, to borrow Caroline Myss‘ famous expression about spiritual understanding. The more I experienced and allowed this love for myself, the easier it was to give love to others, animals, a person on the street — and feel forgiveness around painful experiences from the past.
Jennifer Scalia is a spiritual seeker, healer and animal sanctuary operator who is based in St. Louis, Missouri. “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told” is her first column for Soul’s Code. Visit Jennifer online at Elemental Pet Care.