One significant theme that comes up in my art journal time and time again is this: I need to learn how to love myself.
I have struggled with this my entire life. Every time I have an major issue or problem, I can usually always link it right back to the source – my lack of self-love.
How hard can it really be to love myself?
When I think about it rationally, I can often see that I have achieved good things in my life, that I am a decent person with a good heart and a lot to offer the world. If someone asked me to explain what I like about myself I can come up with a few good ideas. I can list them out:
- I have good hair
- And shapely eyes and lips
- I’m a creative thinker
- Who can write reasonably well
- I hold passionate opinions
- And I am always willing to challenge myself in different ways such as travelling solo.
But in the midst of all this is the on-going voices of Doubt and Scrutiny.
These two meanies are constantly interrupting my good thoughts and I can hear them shouting at me from afar…
“Good hair? Bah! It looks like shit today though doesn’t it eh?” says Scrutiny.
Doubt chimes in: “You could probably be a lot more fun – so serious! Thinking way too much…”
“Oh yeah, and hows your dream of being a freelance writer going? Not so well, is it eh! *evil laugh*
It can get pretty nasty inside my head!
I wish I could tell you how to solve this problem, but I cannot. I do not yet know; I have not figured it out. Whether I will ever have the answer to this question – how to love myself? – is unknown.
Perhaps the answer is like a rainbow: you can see it, but can never quite touch it. Will I have to prepare myself to spend the rest of my life searching and digging for the love?
Yes, most probably!
For us to manifest our dreams, we must find the love within.
We want to be successful and achieve. We want that house, that career, the bigger paycheck, that circle of close friendships, and what about the dreamy love-boat we want lying next to us in bed every morning?
We want all day long. This and that, and this and this and that and that and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting everything we dream of.
However, I have come to the realisation that we do not have the slightest hope in achieving and manifesting our dreams if we do not truly love ourselves.
Yes, we may be able to make lists of things we like about ourselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we love ourselves deep down.
To truly love ourselves means for it to come and radiate from within, from our very bones and cells. To be filled with a sense of love and respect for our own selves no matter what life throws at us.
My art journal is a tool for inner excavation.
My art journaling practice is no longer just about bringing me closer to my material dreams; it is about digging for and unearthing an unconscious source of love that I know exists within myself and this is actually more important that anything else I could ever want for.
In her book Inner Excavaton, Liz Lamoreux persuades us to think of our journals as a literal excavation site – a dig site. By engaging in creative reflection, we are essentially digging through the layers and sand and soil. As we push the earth aside, grain by grain, we are discovering and giving light to parts of ourselves that have been unseen. With each art journal page that we complete, we come closer to finding that inner well of love.
Prompt: what is in your self-care toolbox (from Lamoreux’s book)
Excavation can be rough. Peeling back the hidden layers of ourselves is not always going to be (if ever?) an easy ride, so having a self-care toolbox ( the things we need to look after ourselves is important) is essential.
Of course, having a journal and our basic stationary needs in order to participate in creative activities is a given. But what else can we do to practice self-care in our every day lives?
- What does self-care mean to you?
- Do you practice self-care already?
- What activities make you feel good about yourself?
- How do you deal with and soothe everyday stress?
- What activities could you do more of/incorporate into your self-care routine?
Journal it out 😉