I Am My Best Beloved
I love myself.
I love myself when I am broken open.
I love myself until I am broken open.
I love myself generously.
I give generously to myself.
I love myself now.
I love myself always.
I love myself just as I am.
My self-love process is continuously evolving. When you grow up in a volatile environment, self-care doesn’t necessarily come naturally or intuitively. Life is more about things like tolerance, survival, placating and escape.
As a child, I often didn’t feel like I had the right to take up space. I spent a lot of time escaping reality through the worlds created by my vivid imagination, through fantasy, through reading and writing, and through play in nature. Ultimately, like many of us, I have had to learn how to really be with myself, care for myself and love myself as an adult — something which I am still learning, and will never stop learning.
Like many, my journey of learning to care for myself has transitioned from letting go of “should,” and the “right” thing, and even the feeling that self-care comes from things (the myth that once I am perfect, and my environment is perfect, then everything will suddenly fall into place and I will somehow finally love myself.) But I have learned, with enormous help from my good friend Stacia, that, actually, self-love tends to happen in the opposite way. Stacia has really helped me to see, through sharing her wisdom and by example, that self-care is more about cultivating a feeling of deep and unshakeable love for myself and every part of myself. It has become about learning to trust myself.
In order to really, fully practice self-care, I have to answer the questions:
Do I love myself? Do I belong here? Am I valuable? Do I matter?
Because, to really love myself, I have to feel that I deserve. My self-care is knowing what I deserve, and what I am worth. I am worthy of care and devotion. I am worthy of time. I am worthy of my boundaries. I am worthy of being treated by others with kindness and respect. I have to love myself to believe that I am worthy of those things and so much more. I deserve healthy foods, and challenging activities, and to adorn myself with clothes and practices that make me feel beautiful, because I am here for the long-haul. Because I am beautiful, not because I am waiting or depending on “the specific thing” to change me or fix me, but because my unique beauty radiates from within, and is an organic part of me, my birthright.
And also, I have learned that a big part of self-care actually comes from community care. I have learned that a life is not well-lived without relationships. In the past, I used to hide myself from people. As a child, I learned that people were not trustworthy, that you should not reveal certain parts of yourself to others. I could not be fully myself, I could not be too open, too vulnerable. That there were only certain parts of myself that were safe to share. Now I know that the more open and authentic I am, the more I open myself up to people who are worthy of my trust, the deeper and richer and more satisfying my life becomes.
I am my primary relationship. I am my best beloved. My self-love is reminding myself that I am stardust, and that I am a child of God, and that I am sacred and holy. I have inexplicably and miraculously arrived here in this moment by the actions and stories of thousands of ancestors.* And here I am, living my own process, my own beautiful and powerful life: I am love, and I am loved.
(*thanks to Lily Diamond for sharing this truth — https://kaleandcaramel.com/living/your-story-isnt-linear/)
Anastasia Renfro is a yoga teacher, singer and all around mighty woman. In her spare time, she is learning to speak Russian, studying Shiatsu, practicing Judaism and author of the blog: www.selfcareandcookies.wordpress.com