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The Love that Stays: How To Find Self Love

cheerful woman standing near silver tinsel

Welcome to my valentine’s day post about finding that mysterious self love everybody talks about but nobody seems to know how to do.

This will not include tips on how to make your lover never leave you.

I have a secret to share with you; and it is as beautiful as a sunny day after 5 days of rain. It is as refreshing as a cold cup of lemonade in scorching heat. This secret is an answer to the undying mysterious feeling that something is missing.

Just know that the love that stays is the best kind.

It is the peace beneath every breath be it a short one or a long deep one. Surely, let’s not kid ourselves, some days are so terribly hard and some breaths are suffocatingly shallow. Unfortunately too, some people leave us when we don’t really want them to. Simple.Emotions can get stormy and messy, but know that there is a love that never leaves.

There is Hope for Love

Hopefully, you are latching on to my stream of thought here. You were born with the love that never leaves. It is that breath of life the moment you opened your eyes. Love is always there in our bodies, but our clash with the external world silences it. The love in your heart is always there it just gets mocked, locked up and deserted. Love for the self is innate, and not a solid thing contrary to what you might think, it is like water, it flows wherever there is space, and no matter how much it is pounded it will not get bruised. You could feel like this love can be beaten down, and torn to pieces and shredded because It has the capacity to look like other things. Just rest assured that its innate quality remains eternal from the day you were born until the day you die. The love that stays is absolute and complete inside of each one of us.

You might be thinking: But how come I don’t feel it?

There are many reasons for that, and I will help you look at them.

We place so many layers of protection over that sweet love inside of ourselves. In the beginning that love wants to grow and expand into everything we touch and everybody we meet.

But one bad look here, one disappointment there, a good old heartbreak follows, then sprinkle that with different types of rejection, neglect and egoism. That little love now rests underneath every possible defense system you could develop. We want to protect ourselves from pain.

It is a sad story to see that most of us by age 30 have almost forgotten what it feels like to experience that little childlike affinity for things and people. We start experiencing mind love, you hear people say I love with my mind not my heart and that’s ok; but its also a dysfunction, because mind and heart go together. If you don’t uncover, dust off and free that internal self love, then it becomes difficult to use that heart.

How do you find Self love?

Sit with yourself and truly check how you feel.

Really try to answer those questions

Just know that the more sincerely you answer these questions, the more you awaken the love within. There you find the beauty of feeling a sense of connection to yourself. The more you ask and answer, the answers will get sweeter and simpler. The simplest form eventually will appear to you as the love that has always been there, and the love that will never leave you.

You are there for yourself, you can overcome and float, you have pure potential for explosive beauty. Let your heart speak again, let your body feel again and experience those emotions that keep you locked in.

Love yourself first. Self love is eternal and beautiful; once that is done everything else falls into place.

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How Do We Determine Our Value as Women?

woman in colors

The issue with letting people walk all over you is that you do not truly understand your own value as women.

You grow up hearing many things the top two of which are either you are a smart and strong girl, or you are a beautiful girl. If you heard both, then you were lucky because the system approved of you as a young female. You fit perfectly in the box of useless social recognition. There is nothing more damaging to how we perceive our own value as women as fitting into the box too well.

What does it mean to know your value as women?

Your value as women is born with you.

First accept your value as a human being.We honor the breath inside our body and the heart that continues to beat irrespective of life’s conditions. You are a living being this is your first added value to this earth. Every living breathing being has a place, has a contribution has VALUE.

Your value as a woman is not what others agreed upon only.

We are all so deeply conditioned to be certain people. Parents and friends and the general society you grew up in wanted you to become one or many different things. They transferred value to certain aspects within you and diminished others to shape you into a being that would be accepted and active in the community. People do this out of love. They do it out of ignorance too, and a deep seated fear of having to deal with your difference in a society that generally idolizes sameness. So just because those around value certain things over others, it doesn’t mean that your less acceptable qualities are valueless.

You create value wherever you go.

We are all put in similar containers growing up. Good families or broken ones, schools and jobs that slowly either build our self esteem or obliterate it. We explore romantic relationships that range from subpar and mediocre to perverse and violent ones; depending on our self esteem and our boundaries and our need for love. Life has the capacity to kick us straight in the ass, if we allow it to be a beating it will become one. The alternative however, is to put a damn end to the beating and call for a pause, even if it was an internal one. PAUSE and then assess your position if you could. Are you creating value? Do you feel like your presence matters? Is it crucial or are you filling space?

Make decisions that reflect your value and worth to yourself not just others.

We make decisions about everything. Appearance, lifestyle, personal growth, emotions, thoughts, experiences and diet, to name just a few. Do your choices reflect your value? Do they have the weight of accountability and the lightness of awareness? Essentially are you making choices out of love for yourself or neglect? That is the most profound expression of all.

So my dear, the keyword in letting others walk all over you is this: LETTING THEM. We must cultivate agency in the smallest aspects of our lives and then build up from there. Determining our value as women is simple and difficult at the same time. Will you eat this piece of crap or will you honor your digestive system with something a lot better? Then will you love your body or will you think the worst things about her? Automatically, we become better at noticing our nourishing thoughts and behaviors and the damaging ones.

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What Do We Do When We Can’t Love Ourselves Today?

Here goes a rather difficult confession I and maybe you need to make to yourself.

Self love is easy to write about, all you need to do is put nice sounding words one after the other and fool your reader into thinking that its as easy as skimming through those observations and adopting them.

The truth is that self love is hard to teach, but easy to describe. Our brains can agree that self love is important, they could even encourage the pursuit by following orders, making an effort and simply saying that you have found self love. Then a negative thought comes creeping, hidden amongst a group of well meaning criticisms. The negative thought just like a positive one acts like a seed, one that could grow in the right environment. And slowly sometimes without our intentional attention the thought festers and makes friends with one or more of our insecurities, it hides itself under a positive change agenda and the roller coaster begins.

The point of this is not to tell you how to practice self love because to each his/her own ways, methods and skills. Self love looks different to each one of us. Sometimes it is allowing ourselves those weaknesses and self proclaimed defeats only to see that we are never perfect. What we can aim for during those moments of shattered emotions or confusing thoughts is forgiveness. Sometimes we have to learn to like ourselves before we learn how to love.

So in this space I allow myself to look at the cracks within me, and you to see yours. We piece together what we see fit to carry on, learning and leaning on the faith that we can and ought to get better. We are so flooded lately with self love, self help, body acceptance, and every sort of thoughtful trend; which is absolutely incredible but also sometimes unfortunately quite difficult. How can you still hurt yourself although you are surrounded by so many trends of love and acceptance? Well, you can, and that’s OK if you acknowledge how it makes you feel.

It really trickles down to two big buckets that we get to throw over our heads at the end of each day. Think of them as bucket (a for angel dust) which contains all of the magic water that allows me to become better today than I was yesterday, and bucket (b) which contains the equally magic water that keeps me set in my painful old ways. Except I will not tell you to shower yourself with bucket (a) daily. Sometimes my friends, a good splash of bucket (b for bull sh*t) reminds us of why we chose to become better. And after that sh*t shower we just dry ourselves up with a towel and call it a night. Tomorrow we can try again. And slowly we might get some of (a) and some (b), until we become more capable of paying attention to ourselves and our thoughts.

So whether you feel the love or not, what matters really is that you have that purpose of love for you and others; and with purpose my dear reader comes discipline, and with discipline comes achievement.

Some days it helps that we take it easy and find a mellow place to like ourselves, LOVE comes later; it always does.

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On a scale from 1 to pain, how bad are you at love?

One major foundation to my character is my ability to love and be loved in return, I can’t tell you enough how much I love love, except I am not your text-book romantic. I tend to forget “important dates”, and care a little less than my friends and family think I should about the traditional roles of a female in a heterosexual relationship [Que the unnecessary words that usually follow such statement].

Hold on, this needs a cup of coffee, I can tell its going to be good, not just for me but you too.

What if I tell you that I am training myself to be better at love? What if I tell you that you could also teach people how to love you better?

If you knew that already, then really you might as well not continue reading, I don’t want to waste your time. [This statement comes from a place of love without attachment-yes i went there, I love you enough to not waste your time]

I am not just talking about love for my fiance, but love for my parents, my family, my friends, my cat, strangers and the world in general; there is a certain subconscious order to the list I suppose. The point is, I thought that I was locked into a certain pattern of intrinsic and acquired emotional baggage, I thought that was it. To my tragic surprise, I could learn to be better, and to have higher respect for the process of unlearning almost everything I knew about love, and loving.

I doubt that we recognize that a lot of our acquired concepts and ideas about love come from books, movies, and stories that we hear, we almost rarely weigh it upon ourselves. Not our egos, and what we would like our love to look like, but our deepest needs and attempts to feeling like we are unique and unsubstitutable cornerstones of someone’s life. How freeing is the concept of loving beyond understanding, beyond attachment and ownership, beyond need and lust? What if you are able to completely see the other person not in their utility but in their own existential value?

I suppose the notion might sound somewhat naive to some, maybe even foreign in our current day and age when people’s utility has been marked painstakingly high. Try to go along with this:

It starts with you, it always does.

Many have toyed with romantic love that eventually and surprisingly leaves them consumed, it leaves them wondering who they were in the beginning and what they have come to be after time has passed.

Shallow love is coupled with a certain melancholy. It holds love’s hand a little tighter every step further down the road to self mutation. Shallow love lets you believe that you have merged with the person you love until you discover that there is so much left to deal with. You start throwing your “stuff” at said partner, hoping that they know what to do with them, sort them out, categorize them and make sense of them, while simultaneously they throw their stuff at you. Shallow love looks normal and reciprocal when you are taking part in it, well because it is to some extent. Yet, it strangely leaves you hurting. All that hurt is then quieted down by the power of social influence, when movies, stories, books and people tell you its OK, love hurts. And then you see a picture on Instagram of two people parading a seemingly beautifully drawn loving relationship. And you are confused, and unsure what the truth really is. Am I happy? or am I unhappy? PAUSE HERE

This is your thread, grab it.

What does happiness look like to you? What does love mean to you? Is your partner your emotional errands boy/girl, do they fill some deep holes drilled in you by other people who have crossed your path? Are they capable of making you happy? Are you capable of making yourself happy?

Some of the questions you will ask yourself will suddenly become scary as though you are getting closer to a ledge, so you start holding onto the stories you are used to telling yourself and each other. Except, how much love will you have for yourself without the stories, without the partner, without all your stuff, and your comfort possessions? Do you forgive yourself, and learn from your mistakes? Do you believe in your abilities and your capacities as a human being? Do you do unto others as you would like to be done to you?

The Keys

Training yourself how to love begins with acceptance, it begins with anticipating the negative thoughts and the emotions that tag along, and having the right comfortable accommodation for them. Self love is mind, body, heart and soul combined in taking responsibility and remaining accountable for the life you live. Learning how to love yourself and others requires compassion and a small dose of faith mixed with heaps of courage and warrior worthy decision making skills.

Learning how to love will not only reflect on your face, but on the life you live. Your ability to love will act like a sun, you have no idea how bright you will burn, but you will spread without bias and foster gorgeous forests, and shine on weeds as well. Immense power exists in choosing to love better, and allowing it to yourself in your short life span will be the best thing you ever do for yourself and everyone else. Misery in its usual form is a sign of apathy, a lack of appreciation to all the possibilities that life might hold. Misery is lazy and easy, love isn’t.

My cup of coffee has gone cold, and my word count has surmounted what I had in mind, so I will leave my two cents on teaching others how to love you better for another post.

With Love,

Nour