November 26th, 2012 | by Beth Barany
I recently met author Christine Arylo at a FEM Talks and was inspired and challenged by her message. More about that in my next post about Christine and her book on Dec. 7th.
About her book Madly in Love with Me:
Most of us know that loving ourselves would be a good idea, but we have no clue what that really means. Self-love feels too vast, too esoteric, and frankly like something you should keep under wraps.
This breakthrough book on self-love changes all that by taking you beyond the idea of loving, valuing, and caring for yourself into daring acts that will help you experience it. Christine Arylo provides practical, fun ways to explore and embody the ten branches of self-love every day and in every part of your life. Reading this book is like receiving permission to treat yourself as a best friend would. Imagine having the power to:
* Give to yourself first, without guilt
* Shower yourself with loving words instead of criticism and comparison
* Go for your dreams with conviction and courage
* Choose the situations and relationships that make you happiest
* Discover and explore your deepest thoughts and desires — and act on them
If you’re up for all this, then read on for my interview with author Christine Arylo. Enjoy!
Some day I will petition the dictionary people to change the definition for self-love, but for now to set the record straight, here’s a truthful definition for self-love: Self-love is the unconditional love and respect you have for yourself that is so deep, so solid, so unwavering that you choose only situations and relationships – including the one you have with yourself – that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.
In our culture, there are a lot of words other than self-love that people are much more comfortable using – self-esteem, self-awareness, self-care, self-worth, self-compassion – words that many people mistakenly believe are the same as self-love. While all the ideas expressed by these words are components of self-love, none alone is a synonym for self-love. Love is a specific, un-paralleled, and all-powerful vibration, and none of these aspects of self-love has that power on their own – but put them together and WOW! You’ve got a tree of self-love!
Once a person gets that loving themselves is a good idea, and they get past all that fear around it being selfish or vain, they always ask, “How do I love myself?” Self-love can feel so vast and esoteric and it can get thrown around casually, “Oh, sure I love myself,” when if you were to look at that person’s life you would see the areas where they do choose love and where they don’t act lovingly towards themselves. Loving yourself isn’t black and white, as in either you are a person who does or doesn’t. It isn’t some nirvana state you master and achieve and then can just forget about. Loving yourself is a choice you make, or don’t, in every moment of every day for the rest of your life.
The first step is to become aware of the ways in which you are a rock star at being a best friend to yourself and the ways that you have a hard time making choices and taking actions that align with love. To make this accessible and tangible for people, I teach the 10 Branches of Self-Love and guide people how to identify where they are weak so they can GROW their self-love in this place, and also how to identify where they are strong, so they can make KEEP the love flowing, and also make sure they don’t over-rely on any one branch, which will throw you out of balance.
You say that it’s possible to have too much self-esteem. What do you mean?
Self-esteem is the strong belief in and regard for yourself. It is a strong confidence in your ability to do and be anything. And while we definitely want to foster self-esteem (it wasn’t that long ago that self-esteem wasn’t a common culturally acceptable ideal), self-esteem on it’s own is not enough – it’s only 1/10th of the self-love equation.
Without self-compassion, you can have tons of self-esteem, but you will be extremely hard on yourself. We are creating a culture of hardened high achievers failing to use the power of the tools of the heart – equating confidence to strength and compassion to weakness, which just isn’t true. Today, women and children are extremely emotionally hard on themselves, driven by the unrealistic expectations to do, be and have it all. And with little training and understanding of self-compassion, they silently beat themselves up, all the while appearing like they have it all together to the outside world.
You need all 10 branches of self-love – self awareness & honesty, self-acceptance, self-care, self-compassion & forgiveness, self-trust, self-esteem, self-empowerment, self-respect & self-honor, self-pleasure, and self-expression cared for, nurtured and fully blooming.
With SO much attention given to Feb 14th and Valentines Day, and frankly a day that currently causes more suffering than happiness, I knew we needed the day before to be a day when people could take their love power back – to get that they are loved even without a romantic partner – and a day when people could fill themselves up first with love so they had extra to give.
On Feb 13th, I invite people to choose one branch of self-love and make a promise to themselves that will help them grow that branch all year long. These promises give people an anchor point to come back to during their day to day life, to choose love. For example, if your branch is self-pleasure, your promise might be “I choose to have fun and do what brings me joy no matter how much work there is to do.” Or if your branch is self-care your promise could be “I promise to ask myself what I need and then take action to give that care to myself.”
Every February, our team, Team Love goes on the road and holds self-love-a-poolza’s, and our Love Ambassadors around the world throw self-love parties of their own. Last year 500 people threw parties in 31 countries and 41 states. Which makes for a lot of people taking and keeping the promise to love themselves all year long.
What advice would you give to a mother raising her child, to teach them how to love themselves?
Love yourself, she will watch you and follow your actions. Tell her how sacred she is. Encourage her to follow her heart. Teach her to source love from within. Talk to her about comparison and why it’s crazy – there is no on else like her and that’s a good thing! Show her where her value comes from by valuing being as much as you do doing. Listen to her, and teach her to trust her inner wisdom, even over your own opinions. See her, really see her for who she is, not a reflection of you, but a unique imprint of divine love. Empower her to follow her heart, even when it makes no sense to anyone else. Make her feel loved, no matter what.
For an excerpt of Christine’s book, go here to read an excerpt on Scribd: http://bit.ly/T8z5in.
For more information about Christine’s Self-Love day and movement, and for lots of goodies: MadlyInLoveWithMe.com.
About the Author
Christine Arylo is a transformational teacher, an internationally recognized speaker, and the author of Choosing ME before WE. She is the founder of the international Self-Love Day, February 13, and the cofounder of a virtual self-love school for women, Inner Mean Girl Reform School™. She lives in Northern California.