With Valentines Day galloping towards horse lovers and webinars set to answer the age old question "does my horse love me?" I find myself circling back to a book I read in 2020.
When my 10 year old son saw this book on my reading chair, he rolled his eyes and yelled "Dad... have you seen what Mum is reading now?!"
The aesthetic force of the cover hooked my curiosity, whilst the content; the power of radical self-love has quite literally transformed my life.
This is my first Valentines post Sonya Renee Taylor's book The Body Is Not An Apology having re-scripted Valentines Day.
Like you I enjoy celebrating my appreciation of my romantic relationship, but please why only one day a year? What a load of commercial croc! So I enjoyed allowing Sonya to give my self-talk an upgrade. Perhaps this blog will be a thread to your curiosity, if you accept my invitation to explore re-framing one of the biggest commercial days of the year - Valentines Day.
It was not the first time I had read up self-esteem, self-confidence or even self-love. But it was the first experience I had with the word radical placed in front of self-love.
What Radical Self Love Is and Is not
"While not completely unrelated to self-esteem or self-confidence, radical self-love is its own entity, a lush and verdant island offering safe harbour for self-esteem and self confidence. Unfortunately, those two ships often choose to wander aimlessly adrift at sea, relying on willpower or ego to drive them, and in the absence of those motors are left hopelessly pursuing the fraught mirage of someday. As in someday I will feel good enough about myself to write that book I have in me or someday when I have self-confidence I will get out of this raggedy relationship".
According to Renee Taylor Self-esteem and self-confidence are fleeting, and both can exist without radical self-love. She gives the example of the forty-fifth US president striking us all as a man with epic self-confidence - "The Donald is not struggling with a sense of self, even though he and others are acting from an exaggerated lack of self-esteem or confidence, I think we can agree not much of their attitudes or actions feel like love."
The book is about internal transformation and how our individual radical self-love impacts those around us and the world.
Instead of red roses this valentines, gift your self some radical self-love and read all about Renee Taylor's14 Guideposts to radical self-love (summarised below):
Be a body-shame-free friend.
Engage and encourage curiosity-driven dialogue, not debate or arguing. Practice the value of sharing and listening to the perspectives of others.
Embrace multiple perspectives. Avoid having conversations from the assumption of right and wrong.
Have compassion for and honour people's varied journeys.
Expect and accept discomfort
Acknowledge intent. It is possible to be well-meaning and still cause harm.
Take breaks for self-care.
Interrupt attempts to derail. Work to keep the focus on the subject being addressed, and avoid the desire to re-rail.
Personal attacks, name-calling, heavy sarcasm and general unkindness are unhelpful
Practice unapologetic inquiry. This includes asking ourselves hard questions. "Why do I believe this? What am I afraid of?"
Have conversations based on what was actually said.
Assume the best about one another. Start from the assumption that peoples experiences are real and that they are the expert on their experience.
Celebrate difference. Identifying difference is a what to embrace how we can all show up as our fullest, most authentic selves without shame.
Make the goal of the conversation radical, unapologetic love.
Now share with us any guideposts that resonate as you travel along your equestrian journey?
Below are the Six Pillars of Practice I created for myself to practice and members of my coaching community - Espresso With Equicoach as we hold ourselves accountable along the journey of horse justice and horse welfare change.
I would love to hear how you have applied any of the pillars and how your step/s to radical self-love has changed/is changing your relationship with your horse, your partner, family and friends.
Radical Self-love is the new love for 2021
Pillars Of Practice 2021
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