By: Emily Pereira Monroe, Guest Blogger
Image from pathtowellness.com.au
Standing in the supermarket check out line, 50 Ways to Seduce Man, The Single Girl’s Man Map, and The Three Surefire Ways to Get the Ring screamed out at me alongside images of airbrushed models, actresses, and reality television stars.
There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought it weird that an entire magazine section was dedicated to strategies to win a man’s affection. Then again, I’d spent most of my life absorbing the unconscious beliefs of the women who came before me. Women who lived in a time where effectively snagging and pleasing a man wasn’t just a matter of happiness or social acceptance, but a reality of survival.
Of course now women are accustomed to the luxuries like: independence, working, voting, and traveling as we please, but the popularity of these magazines underscores how ingrained this idea that we must change ourselves, or resort to manipulation to get a man, is in our society.
For the majority of my life, I tried my best to be perfect as I could be, with the understanding that if I were right enough and perfect enough I would be loved and accepted, and therefore happy. Not only was this a complete illusion, but it also brought me a lot of heartache. The truth is all the scheming and strategizing in the world isn’t going to make someone love you. That’s not how real love works.
What’s more confusing is we get so caught up in what others think of us, believing our salvation lies in the arms of another, when in reality the opinion that’s responsible for the majority of our happiness is the one that we have of ourselves. And, contrary to the “wisdom” inside the pages of these supermarket rags, cellulite free thighs and tricks in bed are not the keys to creating a loving relationship. The key ingredient for attracting love into your life is loving yourself.
Admittedly, cultivating self-love isn’t the easiest thing to do, in a world that’s continually telling you that you are not enough just as you are, but it’s the single most important thing you’ll ever do. Self-love is born from self worth. And despite all of the tricks to make your hair fuller, you skin softer, and your waist smaller, real self-worth comes from authenticity, vulnerability, and integrity.
Authenticity means being true to yourself, not going with the crowd just because that’s the easiest way to win approval and acceptance, and taking time to truly find what lights you up inside; not just doing what you think is expected of you from your parents, teachers, and friends. It means making hard and sometimes unpopular choices, but if you find the courage deep inside of you to do so, you’ll find the authenticity, and power, you never knew you didn’t have.
Vulnerability means expressing the full rainbow of emotions we human beings are capable of feeling, rather than just portraying a picture perfect veneer. Only when we are truly honest with others about who we really are, and what we’re experiencing, can we share a genuine heart connection. If you are being validated for an image of perfection you portray, your performance is being validated, not your authentic self; therefore, you don’t feel seen or loved. One of the most effective ways I’ve found to get comfortable being vulnerable is to create art of any form. Art is effective in drawing out our vulnerabilities because in order to access our creativity, we must suspend our judgment and let go of fears of what other people might say or think of us. In creating (paintings, music, writing, acting, dance) you are removing the mask you may not even know you hide behind.
Integrity is being honest with yourself and others. It means telling the truth, and following through with what you’ve committed to do. Integrity means that your word has value. You do what you say, and you say what you mean. If you say you’ll be there, you don’t accept five other invitations and pick the best one at the last minute. You recognize that gossiping isn’t cool, and people know they can trust you.
I finally resolved to tell the truth, even if my voice shakes. I committed to show up and follow through with what I set out to do; I began creating art, making music, and writing. As I cultivated my authenticity, vulnerability, and integrity, I started to experience a contentment I’d never known before, and was surprised one afternoon when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and a felt sincere love and respect for the woman staring back at me. I found as I shifted into greater love and acceptance of me, I effortlessly attracted loving people into my life as well.
About Emily:Emily Pereira Monroe is writer, musician, artist, and student and teacher of Spirit Nature. She is passionate about assisting others in gaining greater consciousness by shining a light on the unconscious controls that make it difficult to realize our innate creative brilliance and relish the present moment. She believes the creative life is a most adventurous existence that’s intrinsically tied to the essence of who we are as spiritual beings and has discovered beginners have the most fun! Her official website is: www.talesofordinarymagic.com.