Elizabeth Gilbert on dismantling self-loathing
What would you have me know, today?
Not everyone has to like you. Not everyone has to cry when a tree is cut down, as you do. They may care, in other ways. You suffer so and now have bravely placed yourself in a life, in a mind space to elicit great change. But you don't have to lead every charge. Sometimes, dear one, simply planting the seed, walking on, and knowing perhaps it will grow, is enough. You have been battered, bruised, taken for granted, and now, you are practicing self care unapologetically. I hear you using the phrase, "I need" and I feel a hopefulness sprinkled with the green glitter of compassion for you. Know that these things are true. I am in you, I am with you, and always have and always will be.
Lovingly Holding You Tenderly,
I smiled when I read how your self-criticism has mushroomed recently, especially with regards to writing: because out of all the substacks I read yours is, hands-down, my favourite. I’m in awe of how, in relatively few words, you convey all the richness of your inner & outer worlds ❤️
“Dear Love, what would you have me know today?”
How curious that I began to write and somehow deleted my words, just as I was warming up to this writing. This very act of deleting asks of me forgiveness, humor, and a hug. Working with all this technology has taken me to depths of despair, frustration, and feelings of helplessness and crusty ignorance, stupidity beyond rescue. Ok, now that all that is out of the bag, maybe, just maybe, I can receive Love’s letter.
“Dear Love, what would you have me know today?”
Well, I could listen first to what happened in the first paragraph and deliver that package to myself. Maybe for today my mantra is two words, two that I hardly know(though even as I write this, a quiet presence within says otherwise): Heart and Love. Ok, now repeat after me, David, for the rest of this day, Heart and Love. That’s it for today, no more thought and words, Love and Heart. Love and Heart. Love and Heart. Drink my morning coffee with Heart and Love. Shower with Love and Heart. Each step I take today, say Heart and Love. Carry on, here we go, Heart and Love.🏮
Can I be honest here? This prompt is overwhelming for me right now.
Oh how I am loving these letters. My heart, my heart. Thank you all for the beautiful words. Thank you, Susu, for sharing this practice with your exquisite community. I can’t wait for our conversation later!
Dear Love, What would you have me know today? You are 59 this morning! You are enough.
Dear Love, what would you have me know today?
Yesterday your act of kindness towards your son when you took him to his favorite restaurant and gave him organ meats for him to cook for his dogs meant so much to him and later on he text you to tell you that he loved you. You are always thinking of other people and how you can make their lives easier . Even when your life is difficult. Don't ever change.
Dear Love, what would you have me know today?
You are troubled by the dreams you had last night. What caused them? Both were about being left behind. Friends excluded you from a get together. A bus you were riding, left without you after a rest stop. Now you’re asking why? You are married to a man who loves you unconditionally. But you are still afraid if something happens to him, what will you do? Think back now. Your husband and father of your two kids, was not who you thought he was. When you finally decided after 15 years of marriage, you had to take the risk and tell him to leave. You got the divorce and you worked two jobs when he stopped paying child support. When you found another man, who was honest and loving, you were devastated when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. You took care of him and still worked. After he died, you were laid off from a job you had over 20 years. You found another job and got hurt from an accident at work, leaving you with permanent neck and nerve damage. You kept going and working. You took a leap of faith and moved to a town in the mountains, worked at a courthouse and lived with a great guy. Neither of you wanted to ever marry again, but you have now been married to him for 14 years. And you can honestly say that he is your soulmate. So why did you have the dream? Subconsciously you never got past the feeling of disappointment, from other family members and friends. But you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You have proved that over and over. So laugh about that dream. Remember your favorite saying because it applies here! “You Go Girl “!
Dear Love What Would You Have Me Know Today,
Accept the shadows, the unknowing, the relearning and nuances. I know it is difficult to speak out in a world of rambling and clutter. You tap into the hearts and minds of so many eager-celebrate-the road chosen and its power-as teacher.
Dear Love, What would you have me know today? The sky is not falling. There is a soft desire in you that is evident in all you do - grow that. It can so easily get lost and forgotten.
My mind has been slightly blown this morning, reading these entries. Both the fact that the Dalai Lama had no frame of reference for the concept of self-hatred and the idea of writing yourself a letter from LOVE every day have given me something to think about, as I head into a busy and stressful week. Thank you for sharing! ❤️
Also, Suleika, I'm totally stealing your response of, "Don't talk about my friend like that." What a great way to shut down self-depreciation amongst the people you love most! 🥰
Thank you Suleika and Elizabeth for this mornings poignant prompt. So many many thoughts going through my mind. The first thing that came to mind was Elton John’s “Love Song”
Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean?
Have your eyes really seen?
I see so many beautiful humans and I think how can they not see his amazing they are. Love should be the easiest thing in the world. I, myself, have struggled with self hatred and low self esteem. Love was not abundant growing up in my dysfunctional home. I remember my best friend in grade school reminding me that I was a human being. I think my parents didn’t love themselves either and the projected their feelings to me. I always projected the love I felt I didn’t deserve on to animals. And animals gave that love back. Animals are the best teachers in love. No overthinking in their world. They just live and love in the moment.
So, I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes in my life. I’ll continue being a flawed individual. But my intent in life is never meant unkindly. I have a lot of defense mechanisms. I do my best to survive the way I was taught. I wake everyday with the intent to radiate love into the world. I visualize love flowing from my heart into the world. It’s very hard to embrace myself the same way. But I am worthy with all my flaws and emotional scars. And if I stumble I get up, forgive myself and carry on.
I hope to join Suleika and Elizabeth on zoom. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity,
Dear Love What Would You Have Me Know Today: Sherri you are so worthy as a human being, Your kindness and love exceeds expectations, you just are. You have let go of "the dirty Jew" shame and that was a gift (you did not want to receive at age 7), and as a result of your toxic family and being raised with self hatred and shame, you've let it all go and are now of benefit to yourself and others. You are here with your self love to inspire, support, and have no expectations to receive anything in return. You have become a shepherd --guiding people, in your personal and business life, to not be afraid to share their shame with you (without any judgement from you), to receive your support when folks along the way "want to give up"--you show them a way out, if they are open to it. You saw how little love was in your family growing up, and you vowed you would learn from this and be the most loving, kind and compassionate person you can be, even to people you do not know. You fall down and pick youself out and begin all over again. Even though you are finding challenging in this age of only text and email--no phone, you have found a bigger way to communicate through your standup storytelling. Your love has exceeded anything that you ever realized, and you bring light to wherever there is darkness. You have experienced so much violence, unkindness, and being a family that did not understand about self love and compassion, that you fought your whole life to get to this place of loving yourself and others without expectations. You still get scared of riding on the subway, traveling to new places, being shot, but it doesn't stop your fearlessness of living your best life. You have learned not to compare yourself to others because that is a. setup to fail and at this stage of your life you are still willing to experiment with trying knew ways of storytelling, taking chances, and not being afraid to fail. Everyday you wake up you say "thank you"--I'm alive today! What great gift of love is to serve others and that's what you are doing. The greatest lesson you have learned is unconditional love--love without expecting anything in return. Wow Sherri, it's taken you years to fight for you to be who you truly are and you are spreading love daily, sometimes with your smile to a stranger in the street, or caring for a friend who's not well. "I want you in my corner forever"! Till death do us part.
My Dear Love what would you have me know today letter:
To my mace face-
You’re doing the best things that you know to do. You picked a path & you’re on it, I’m so proud of you. I know it feels heavy sometimes, but I’m carrying the load with you. I’m with you in each step you take. I see you in the dark and the light. You are not abandoned. I am your blanket when you’re cold, I always have been. I am your shield when doubt comes. I am here always, in all ways. I am a tap Or type away, even when you can’t see me. Just take a deep breath & I will be your oxygen, my mace face, always.
(Thank you for a life changing experience today Suleika 💙💙)
Though it resonates, and makes sense, I can't help shake the feeling that this love-lettering the self is the practice of the lonely.. that we've come to live in a world and are perpetually co-creating it, where we need to fully self-resource our worthiness, our value.. Me included. I will hopefully join the workshop, but I wish there was opulent mirroring of love all round so we wouldn't need to confirm that (in the wise words of Bjork..) all IS full of love..
We can build trust together. You can let go. Loosen your grip. You can have faith in me. Believe in me. You are not alone. You are seen and I love you deeply. 💜