Of all the seasons I’m most connected to, it would be autumn. This association has changed over the decades. I’m in my 57th circle around the sun and autumn calls me home over and over. The subtle changes in the weather where those dog days of summer recede brings an appreciation to the transparency of autumn.
Aging isn’t only chronological; it is also soulful. I’ve rediscovered my true self in my emotional aging. Life’s tutelage has given me wisdom to see how I won’t accept any strikes against my being.
I stand without any leaves covering my silhouette. There’s less and less to hide and my autumnal self stands stronger as each season has led me to self-understanding. My symbolic leaves are frequently changing.
Life has changed me.
My hair is greying at the temples where my thoughts dwell in a sea of clarity. All I feel are the zeros inside of circles. Such as the seasons, time, the earth, which turn me into a Tree, I am.
Skies see me and blink in earnest, nodding as I walk my way.
I’m learning to understand who I am.
Mistakes are my wisdom. Unknowing what I thought I knew, teaches me more than pretending. Asking for help to reach what I am unable to do, isn’t weak.
Sensitivity crafts me a vessel and we sail over seas not only to think but to weep. I’m not alone when the answers are few. More have come before me. That’s why the oceans are so salty.
And so, with this bit of overthinking, I can still smile and laugh with myself which lends me to poeticness too.
Let’s turn down the sun and let’s turn up the moon. Let’s trace the stars with our eyelashes. Let’s listen to the circles together. Let’s dream a wide dream.
Because we are all intrinsically interconnected — equally belonging to the circle of loving, living and dying.
Let’s make this world more true.
What is self-love? How do we learn to love ourselves? Are we born with this knowledge? What are the influences which teach us to love ourselves?
I’ve often wondered how some people can be comfortable and love who they are. How they respect their ideas, ways, and choices. They don’t seem the least bit bothered by their quirks; instead they embrace them. So, it would seem, self-love also needs a dose of self-worth and self-confidence.
When I researched about self-love, I pulled up over 1,240,000,000 sources. That’s a lot of humans seeking, writing and explaining the meaning of self-love.
As a licensed mental health therapist, I have discovered that for most people, self-love is a skill we develop during the course of a lifetime. We learn to love who we are and accept our faults as well as our gifts.
Over the years, I’ve learned the most about self-love from a small handful of trusted mentors, therapists, teachers, and friends who I admire for how they love themselves. Their modeling and guidance have helped me find my own inner appreciation. When we see what self-love looks like in another person — and through a lot of practice, acceptance, and encouragement — we eventually see it in ourselves.
To demonstrate the concept of self-love, I read through hundreds of quotes from my research and decided the following seven quotes captured the essence of self-love and what I’ve learned from each.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."
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