Love Letters to Humans (no. 24) – on Curiosity and Self-Love

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Whose gaze deepens your self-love, rather than merely offering validation?

I am still spinning from last night’s Inquisitive Human Salon conversation. It was intimate. Just four of us, asking hard questions, telling the truth about our lives, and digging around in what it means for someone else’s gaze to deepen our self-love rather than just offer us validation.

Since I tend to process slowly, this answer didn’t emerge for me right away, but it’s unfolding….

One of the ways someone else’s gaze can deepen our love of ourselves is through curiosity.

To be approved, validated, or otherwise deemed lovable, worthy, or deserving by someone else is an external judgement—one that can feel good, but ultimately offers us very little agency. Because that validation can be given, it can also be taken away.

But when someone looks upon us with genuine curiosity, without fear, without judgment, and with a sincere desire to know us better, to understand us, to be with what is true about us… something magical happens. Their gaze creates a bit more space for us to behold ourselves. And when we are free to recognize in ourselves the mystery, the power, the beauty, the flaws, the anger, the will, the desire, the capacity for both harm and healing, ALL the things we have never dared to be with (because the full-spectrum of our own humanity can be frankly a bit overwhelming), there is room for expansion, a deepening of the love we hold for ourselves.

This is one of the things I love most about our Salon conversations – the way we hold each other in curiosity rather than judgment, the way we make room for each other to love ourselves more fully while we wrestle with the things that challenge and vex us.

Thank you for creating that with me.