For many years, I have been playing with the word and concept of love. Early on in my career as a metaphysician, I realized whatever a client might believe his or her issue to be, a lack of love was at the core…specifically a lack of self-love.
So I began to concentrate on that in my own life.
To be able to help others find the tools to tap into self-love, I first had to examine my own journey.
It began more than two decades ago when I “left home” and moved in with a friend, while my (now ex) husband and I tried to work things out.
My friend told me that the main thing - the only thing - I needed to do was to love myself, to tell myself I loved myself. Every single day. How weird is that? I never had been told that before. Never considered it either.
A foreign concept…loving myself. Especially when society scolded people, often making them feel selfish or self-centered if they focused on themselves.
Being the good Catholic girl I am, however, I obeyed. And it was hard; I didn’t believe a word of it.
But at the time, I was aware of only one thing – my life of three decades was falling apart before my eyes, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Forget the big stuff – the marriage, the thirty years of birthdays, holidays, families, friends, vacations, not to mention the day-to-day routine, the birds outside my kitchen window, the clerks at the neighborhood grocery store, the post office where I mailed packages to out-of-state family and friends, the men who picked up the trash in front of the house, the DMV where I renewed my driver’s license…all gone.
My friend understood while I was a bundle of emotions inside, when they were finally exorcised, I would be dealing with a vast empty space where I would feel as though all the familiar sights and sounds of my previous life had been erased.
(It would be a long time before I truly understood those things weren’t erased at all – just archived; but at that particular time in my life, I needed to deal with the present.)
My friend, a writer, believes the pen is connected with the unconscious, and vise-versa, so she bought me a journal and told me to write in it. And I did, over and over again. Every day. Being a teacher, I understood the value of audio learning, so I also said the words. Looked into the mirror and told myself “I love you.” Over and over.
How did that work for me? It didn’t. I felt like an idiot. Standing in front of a mirror, telling myself I loved myself when every fiber of my body knew I had been rejected by the only man I ever loved, the man I admired, respected, and trusted with my very life.
If he didn’t want me, why did I want me? Why would anyone ever want me?
But, again, as a teacher, I understood that structure – and discipline – is the one anchor the world gives us to hold on to, I continued to do my exercises – on paper and in the mirror.
It took the better part of that first year before my affirmations of self-love began to settle in, and even then I vacillated between feeling like there might be something in there to love and feeling like my whole life had been a lie.
But gradually, it began to sink in. And slowly, without even consciously realizing it, I began to feel joy again. It came in little snippets, but it was there. I would get out of the shower, look in the mirror, smile at me and say, “Good morning, I love you.”
A few years later, it hit me like an explosion that loving myself actually was tying into my love for God. God created me. How could I not love what God created?
And if I loved God, it only stands to reason I would love myself, as God’s creation. This connection made a big impression on me, making my journey of self-love somehow different and deeper.
Phrases such as, “made in His image and likeness”; and “God doesn’t make junk” took on new meaning. And as they did, my feelings about myself began to shift. Maybe there really was good stuff here to love.
Then the word “unconditional” entered my awareness, specifically in terms of loving myself “unconditionally.” This literally meant…there could be no “conditions” keeping me from loving myself fully and totally. It meant I had to love even the things I didn’t particularly like in myself…talk about taking love to a whole new level.
In order to love myself unconditionally, I began to understand I had to fully accept myself. Right then, in the moment. I had to allow me to be me, and I had to appreciate all of it. Big order!
Besides loving, accepting, allowing and appreciating myself, I had to look at doing it just for the sake of doing it, not expecting anything in return. And I had to look at being able not only to love myself, but also to receive that love.
One of the tools I took into this journey was my innate determination, a gift we’re all given, but one we have to learn to control.
In my case, determination was one of those things I felt I needed to soften, as there is a thin line between determination and stubbornness; but overall, determination is the fuel that keeps us driving when we aren’t “seeing” the things we so want to manifest in our lives.
As I “played” with the concept of love, I realized that I was now dealing with love with a capital L.
This Love was no longer the love society gushes about, advertises out the wazoo, sentimentalizes, defines and approves.
Now, I was on a whole new playing field and, well...loving it!!! And loving me!!!
Trying to define the indefinable can get us into trouble. That’s what happened when we decided to define ‘love.’ We set standards of action determining the existence and depth of the love being offered. We used our minds to define something only our hearts truly know anything about.
In her second book, Love – The Alpha & The Omega, Maryann Pino Miller takes us on a journey of discovering love. We learn love already exists within us. In fact, we are love. We just forgot.
In this easy-to-read and relate-to book, we learn of the seven levels of love:
1. As babies we know we are love.
2. We forget and begin searching, filled with fear we will not find it.
3. We begin using words to convince ourselves we are okay.
4. We begin using uplifting, loving words to reset our energy and awareness of who we are.
5. We realize it’s safe to look at every aspect of ourselves and still accept ourselves as we are.
6. We fall in love with ourselves, allowing ourselves to live and love life fully.
7. Full circle…we now know that not only are we love, so is all of life. We love, honor and respect ourselves and all of life. We live from our being-ness.
Using her life twists and turns, we learn how Miller sorted through her life, using tools she picked up along the way. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
About the Author
Maryann Pino Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Temple University in Philadelphia and a Master’s degree in education from Louisiana State University.
Teaching is her passion. It has been a thread running through her life…from childhood through retirement and now this new phase of her life.
She has meshed her formal training as an educator, business woman, certified Heal Your Life® Teacher, Certified Hypno-Counselor, Certified Emotion Code Practitioner and Reiki II practitioner with her many years of personal self-study and life experiences to offer many tools to help her clients create the life they want, deserve, and the world needs.
Maryann lives in Medford, NJ, where she works as an awareness coach, spiritual teacher and healer. She is co-owner of The Center, Life in Balance in Medford, NJ.
You are invited to visit her websites: