Self-Honesty and Self-Love | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Self-Honesty and Self-Love

Evelyn graciously asked me to share some thoughts about self-love for a compilation of posts she’s putting together.  I thought I’d start by sharing a story about a moment just a few days ago when I showed myself some love.

I must have looked a little mopey, because my friend asked me whether I was all right.  At first, I decided I didn’t want to “burden” her with my problems, and I told her I was fine.

But my friend, thankfully, wouldn’t let me off the hook.  “No, really, what’s going on?” she said.

Finally, I dropped the façade and told her what was up.  “I haven’t been getting enough done,” I said.  “I’ve been sitting around watching boxing matches instead of focusing on my projects, and I feel really embarrassed about it.”

The Truth Will Make You Laugh

Suddenly, I found myself laughing, and my body felt lighter.  There was something about telling my friend how I was actually feeling, without making any effort to look “okay,” tough or reasonable, that felt so liberating.  The grim story I’d been telling myself about how irresponsible and bad I was started melting away.

This is a good example of what I think self-love is all about, because — for me — it’s about letting go of my resistance to what I’m feeling.  I’m most loving to myself when I fully accept my experience, without demanding or pretending that I feel differently — even if what I happen to be feeling is embarrassment and shame.

Self-Love Isn’t Easy

What this story also illustrates is how difficult and vulnerable self-love can be.  It can feel risky to admit to ourselves, or to someone else, what’s actually in our hearts, rather than pushing away our anger, hurt, and sadness, and acting like everything’s all right — like I did when my friend first asked me how I was.

After all, many of us worry that, if we told someone we were feeling grief, fear, or some other “negative emotion,” they might criticize or reject us.  Many of us also fear that, if we just let ourselves feel the hurt that’s present, rather than running from it, the pain might go on forever.

But I’ve found that, when I’m willing to fully accept how I feel in this moment, no matter what it might be, that’s when I get access to the joy and lightness I want in my life.  Any energy I was using to avoid what I’m feeling gets freed up and becomes vitality.

Loving Our Unloving Moments

It’s funny — this is even true in moments when I’m being hard on myself.  By acknowledging that “I’m not being very compassionate to myself right now,” without pretending to be happy or confident or anything else, I honor myself, and open the way back to wellbeing.

I think real self-love, at the core, is about caring for ourselves deeply enough to be honest — with ourselves and others — about what’s going on inside us.

17 thoughts on
Self-Honesty and Self-Love

  1. Patricia

    Great post Chris and I will say sometimes the blog world just all touches base with similar energy – I think my post right now is very similar to what you are saying here.

    I am working at modeling change for people….even the tough and hard parts…because I know that emotions are such a key to being whole and that self-love is as important a habit as brushing and flossing the teeth in the care and maintenance of one’s living.

    I was just being grateful for my resolved blood pressure issues and nearly resolved blood sugar issues and how wonderful it feels to be able to breath deeply again after the torn ligament in my side….and then I said to myself – “Why am I not losing weight….something is still wrong with me…” 3 steps forward and 5 back! The good news is that I can now laugh at myself…what a relief

    Great words here Mr. Edgers
    Can’t let perfectionism get in the way!

  2. Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition

    HI Chris,
    Self love doesn’t come easily some times! Especially when we put conditions on it such as if you’re productive and finish all your projects you’re lovable, and if you don’t you are not lovable, etc. I think this is a common human theme though. One day you feel you love yourself then something happens and you feel you don’t. I think the trick is to do exactly as you say Chris is to be more compassionate with ourselves. Great post!

  3. Evan

    A kind of joke I heard once, and have never forgotten, helps me with self honesty. It is the definition of “fine”.

    I’m just fine; you know F.I.N.E. = F@#*kedup, Irritable, Neurotic and, Exhausted!

    I pass it on in the hope that it may stick with you too.

  4. Evelyn Lim

    Your story made me laugh! I know exactly what you mean. I find myself laughing at some of the madness I put myself through. It usually happens when I start to tell my husband what’s not going well in my world.

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong in spending time watching matches. I veg out every once in a while too. I engage in the mindless activity of watching some silly TV show. Because I know that I’ve been hard on myself, I allow some self-indulgence. It’s not as if I watch TV continuously.

    Thank you, Chris, for participating in my project. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on self-love. Well said and truly authentic!

    With love,
    Evelyn

  5. Robin Easton

    Dear Chris, This is just beauuutiful! I love it!!! I am a great believer in doing this. For me, it is the only way. And it is the simplest, cleanest and most ease-ful way. Just being who I really am. The hardest part of it all, for me, is to allow myself to STILL be me, be honest, be real, even when the other person doesn’t want me to be myself.

    There are many unspoken rules in our culture (probably in most cultures), and sometimes people can be uncomfortable when others break those rules (or break with convention), and start being themselves. Anyone who is uncomfortable with this rule breaking can be taken into new territory that may not have any rules (and silent supposed to(s) of behavior. It is a new territory that requires the opening and use of the heart.

    I’ve noticed lately that when I “break with convention” and just be myself, that I seem more confident even if someone rejects of scoffs at me. I am finally understanding (with my whole being) that how they respond is THEIR business. What is MY business is that I BE myself. Of course it is ALWAYS pure joy if the other person is open and can laugh or understand with me. Either way, I am learning to love myself for the unique being that I am.

    I forgot to tell you that this story just moved me to tears (you sweet honest nature) and it made me laugh out loud over the wrestling. I LOVE IT!!! Isn’t life grand!!! I just love that. Wrestling!!! You go dude!! Fabulous. Hugs and love, Rob

    PS: I totally agree with EVELYN LIM!! I think sometimes we just need something mindless. We go back refreshed. The key I’m trying to remember is to NOT feel guilty about it. But instead, when I need to be mindless to be FULLY mindless. LOLOL!!! :) :) I mean why be half-assed mindless? Whatever I’m going to be, I might as well experience it fully! :) :)

  6. Jeffrey Koconis

    This is indeed more than a wonderful reminder of our common understanding in loving ourselves, but the positive energy I feel in everyone communicating so openly, with no fear about it is rather profound! Thank you all, it truly helps me have a comfortable feeling of belonging to the human race.

  7. Chris - Post author

    Hi Patricia — I loved hearing that you can laugh at yourself — it sounds like that was a moment when you popped out of the “why am I not losing weight” story you mentioned — I think that’s totally modeling change and having fun with it to boot!

  8. Chris - Post author

    Hi Angela — that feels very real to me when you say that self-love is something that seems easier on some days than on others — I can definitely relate to that. I guess life wouldn’t be such an adventure if we could always predict where we were going to be at emotionally! :)

  9. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evan — yeah, getting away from saying “fine” is definitely part of my work on myself. And being okay with moments when I don’t get away from it.

  10. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evelyn — it sounds like there’s healing power, for you, in telling your husband what’s really going on for you in the moment. I liked it when you told me that you sometimes veg out as well — I like it when in the blogosphere we get to relate on a “messy” level, which is really just a human level.

  11. Chris - Post author

    Hi Rob — that sounds awesome, that you’re feeling more solid in those moments when you feel like you’re “letting it all hang out” and the other person seems to be rejecting. I’ve noticed that happening for me as well — I’ve been practicing for those moments by letting it all hang out in the blogosphere. :)

    My guilty pleasure is actually boxing, but that would be even funnier if it were professional wrestling! And I definitely agree that “whole-hog” mindlessness is a wonderful achievement — next time I take a break and watch some match I will prohibit myself from jotting down ideas while I am watching. :)

  12. Chris - Post author

    Hi Jeffrey — good to meet you. I think that’s a great way to put it — that self-love is about feeling comfortable being human, as opposed to only being comfortable when we do something that gets approval, or we don’t make any mistakes, or whatever other condition we put on our acceptance of who we are.

  13. Robin Easton

    I’m laughing out loud. !! It is SO funny how I read “boxing” but by the time I got to the end of proverbially long comment (LOL!) the “boxing” had turned to “wrestling” (in my mind – almost mud wrestling LOL!)!!! :) :) Oh maaaaan, you gotta love it. I saw those HUUUGE dudes with the little leotards on and the wild hair and the animalistic facial expressions and growling and thumping their chests. LOLOLOL!!! :)

    Even if THAT were the case I still think it’s absolutely FAAAAAAABULOUS that this totally intelligent, wise, down to earth, earnest, highly educated guy is watching boxing!! That tickles me no end. You always had my highest respect, but it just went through the roof. I love people who are full of dichotomies. They REALLY intrigue and inspire me. I see them as very well rounded. I find them often VERY alive and full bodied in all aspects of their life.

    Maybe that is because I am that way myself. People are often shocked when I have a outrageous sense of humor, and they will say, “I always thought you were so sensitive and spiritual and wise. I’m not sure I know how to handle this goofy side of you.” (And there again, I tell myself that is THEIR business how they handle it or not, not mine. I just have to be me.)

    The same thing happens when they see me whip out the power tools and start ripping wood with a skill saw or chop saw. LOL! :) And I chuckle to myself because I can just HEAR their thoughts going, “This does not compute. She is supposed to sweet, sensitive, fragile, spiritual woman.” And there I am Chris with ear protectors, dust make, and eye goggles, saw dust flying, legs braced, baseball cap on backwards, a look of all business and tough determination on my face, the saw screaming, and me silently chucking as their brain goes into overload, gets stuck and keeps say, “This does not compute. Error. Error. This does not compute.” LOLOLOL!!! Aaahhh, life is truly great!

    Have great day Chris, and revel in that “mud wrestling”!! (it too makes you unique) :)
    Hugs,
    Rob

  14. Chris - Post author

    Hi Robin — thanks for the appreciation — I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’ve also done tae kwon do for a while, including competing in tournaments (not the kind of tournaments where we’re trying to knock each other out — I’ll leave that to boxers and mixed martial artists). So there’s actually a lot of fighting in my life, both as a participant and spectator :)

    I can totally see your wildly humorous side — I can feel it come out even in blog comments, so it’s got to be something to behold and relish in person! I don’t think I’ve ever had an image of you as fragile or shrinking from anything. Do you have pictures of yourself with a chainsaw? I also totally get this vision of you crafting your own tools from wood and flint!

  15. Sara

    Chris,

    I had my comment all prepared and then I read your comment to Robin. LOL sometimes your humor just blows me away…I like the image of Robin with a chainsaw.

    Now, to the post….I think it is hard to share what we hide from others — those parts of ourselves we feel might end up scaring someone away. By sharing them, we come to realize what seemed like a prison, keeping us trapped, is just made of paper.

    To me, you are a hero. You are an emotional dragon slayer. You take fingers to the keyboard and with a swift click of the “publish” button, send the dark dragons of our doubts to their death:~)

  16. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — oops, it seems I overlooked this comment somehow earlier. I love your way of putting it — that by admitting the hangups we’re experiencing, we’re really breaking down the walls around what’s possible for us. I do like your description of me as a champion and a dragon slayer — that’s definitely what I’ve aspired to be since I was a kid! :)

  17. Lynne Quintana

    Without self-love you lack the confidence of knowing that you are able to provide basic needs and desires for yourself. As successful a woman as you may be (as a parent, in your role at work, as a sibling, friend, or mentor), without self-love you continue to struggle with feeling worthy and emotionally independent. You rely on others for evidence of your value and self-worth, and continue to question evidence even when it is presented to you.

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