Self-Love versus Other-Love


First, let’s define the versions of love that we’ll be talking about here: 

Self-love is when we learn to partner/couple/marry our own ego with our own spirit or soul. 

      Ego being your rule maker, the part of you that keeps you oriented and in line and on time; it is grounding.

      Spirit is more like your rule breaker – or rule ignorer. The part of you that wants to create and express and remember that you came from, and will return to source; it is transcendent.

Other-love is when we partner/couple/marry another human.


One is not better than the other, but it is vital to understand the distinction because many of us ignore self-love in search for other-love. Which is traumatic for both self and other because we are essentially outsourcing all that internal partnering that needs to happen and projecting our missing pieces onto another person. We are showing up incomplete and, chances are, because we are incomplete, we are choosing someone who is incomplete. 


While the below applies to all genders, more often than not, the case is that a woman is looking to be completed by another as a result of millennia of women’s oppression. We can look several places for evidence of this, but a good place to start are Disney’s fairytales where the female character has been disabled or locked up in one way or another and needs a man to come save her, release her, wake her up, light her up, or turn her on. Or else the intelligent woman has to submit herself to beastly behavior as she tries to love the beast into a tamed state where they can actually be equal and loving partners. 


Regina Thomashauer author and teacher chares a story in one of her books where childhood friends who’ve grown up together reach an age where hormones are flying and they share an unexpected kiss. They walk home and nothing is different for him – because he has been raised in a culture that tells him he is enough and possesses an internal flame that is his to light or turn off as he wishes. But what happens to her? She goes home and starts doodling his name in her spiral notebooks, she starts writing “Mrs. Soandso” in the margin of her text books, can’t concentrate in class because she’s daydreaming about how many kids they’re going to have when they get married. She follows him around like a puppy dog while he looks over his shoulder at her like she’s crazy. Well, she’s not crazy, she’s just misinformed. She was raised in a culture that told her one day a prince would kiss her and wake her up, be her flame, light her up, and turn her on and be the puzzle piece she’d been missing before he came along.


So she’s not crazy, she just mistakenly thinks he’s responsible for what she felt and that he’s the only way she’ll feel it again. This story breaks my heart. It is age old and is also probably happening to a young girl right now as you read this article! 


What is the antipode to this? Reclamation. Reclaiming & Re-membering your self by finding your own light. No one else will do this for you. No one else can hand you your passions, desires or joys. Well, they might, but what they hand you will lead you where they want you to go, not necessarily where you want to go. So, to end up where you want to end up on the map of your life, your love, and all other maps for that matter, you need to create your own.


This means you have to find your radiance, desire, & turn on. Where does radiance and desire live? You have to re-member to find it. Much like the dreams we talked about last month, you’ll have to tell yourself and your deepest desires that you are here to listen and learn and want to reconnect with your own desires.


You must discover and live into your own passion, joy, & desires. 

*Stop outsourcing and waiting.

*Stop waiting to be fed your passion, opportunities, turn on.

*Stop outsourcing your joy or happiness, or letting someone else tell you what you do or don’t desire.


Knowing your desires can only come of your own self-excavation so retract those tentacles that reach to someone else to infuse you with – or take away – your desire. 


Self excavation exercise:

-Sit down with a journal in a quiet space, take a few breaths to get grounded. Remember that you were born into a body to have a carnal experience full of sensation and capable of experiencing so much pleasure. That puritan story of suppressing your connection to your senses being holy is an old patriarchal myth that was devised to keep you small and oppressed.   

This is about remembering that you desire and what you desire. 

Reminisce on what really used to turn you on and excite you and make a list, see what still resonates and start pursuing that again or wearing that again or listening to that again or….

-What opportunity do you wish you had and keep waiting for someone else to create it for you? How can you create that for yourself? Even if it’s a smaller version of that opportunity to begin with?

-Know what turns you on. How can anyone else know how to turn you on if you don’t know? Get comfy with self-pleasure and participating in whatever brings you turn on whether that’s getting to know your own sexual preferences, an art class, adorning yourself in a certain way, cooking in a certain way, flirting in a certain way, etc.

-What brings you joy? Why should anyone hand any one of us happiness on a silver platter? It doesn’t work that way and even if it did, think how dependent we would be on the person who gave it to us? 


We’d be like the girl in the story who doesn’t realize it was hers all along! 


List out what you desire and begin a process of reclaiming these things for yourself. Period. Couple with yourself, find union with yourself, and soon you’ll see that you are in the driver’s seat of your own side of the relationships you have rather being dragged along behind someone – or feeling worthless if there isn’t a someone right now.


A few things to be aware of:

*Does reconnecting to your desires feel like you could become a wild version of yourself? You might! Clarisa Pinkola Estes reminds us, though, that wild means we are in our natural state…not out of control. So, remember you are just looking for your natural state…not looking to change so much that your life or your nervous system couldn’t contain the desirous version of you.

*If you are in relationship with a person who is intimidated by your newfound power and desire, it might be a clue they are not the right match for you. However, before you write them off completely, try teaching them. Often, we get mad at each other for not knowing how to be in a certain situation, when we could actually use it as a teaching moment. (On the other hand, you might find that your partner is loving seeing you tuned into your turn on and most powerful self. Enjoy!)