How can self-love be an ally?

My love for Lucille Ball is not a secret to many who know me. Considered one of Hollywood's greatest TV icons of the 1940's and 1950's, I would spend hours in my youth watching the "I Love Lucy" show mesmerized by her silly antics, her use of physical comedy, and those doughy expressions when her husband Ricky wouldn't allow her to shine on stage. She devised many ways to get what she wanted, and much to her surprise it seemed to all work out in the end. I was always struck by her need to prove him wrong. All she was seeking really was validation. When her husband would exclaim, "What's the matter with you? Are you crazy or somethin'?" she would fight for what she believed in. She knew she was a star in her own right even if the outside world didn't quite agree.

Although the show was scripted, there was a part of me that took many cues from its message. It was the basis for my understanding of what self-love really is. Ancient Greek philosophers believed that if loving one's best friend is considered virtuous, then loving ourselves should be the same. Modern psychologists state that self-love is comprised of four aspects - self-awareness (ones thoughts and emotions), self-worth (the belief about ourselves), self-esteem (that we are valuable), and self-care (the acts that keep us healthy).

My road to self-love has been a bumpy ride to say the least. I often vacillate from feelings of confusion to those of great clarity.

💓 In this moment however, my heart is full. It feels like it has graduated from a really dark place. It is tells me I am free, but warns me not got caught up in the external trappings - that summer body, the adulation derived from others, and the need to be liked.

🧠 My head is seeking wisdom to understand my needs vs. my wants. My rational mind knows the difference between what is good for me vs. what is harmful. As I attempt to breathe into my head, I realize that I must always lead with the heart when it comes to satisfying my needs because the wanting will never cease.

🤰 My gut is recalling all the times in my life when I confused self-love for selfishness and selfishness for self-consciousness. I see an image of a white dove fluttering its wings in only one direction because it knows where it should ultimately land. It's telling me it takes courage to love yourself especially when facing a heap of doubt.

So how can self-love be an ally in your life? How can self-love be your BFF?

Every Monday morning at 10 AM EST I will post a powerful prompt which can also be synced to your smartphone calendar here and follow it wherever it leads. The aim is to resource all "three brains" — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.