In 1998 I attended my first black baptist church service. It was about 2 1/2 hours long with singing, different choirs, and people receiving the holy spirit. It was quite an event. My sister-in law, myself and our kids were the only “white” people there. I never felt uncomfortable though; just the opposite, that day I received a gift.

I was brought up Catholic and for those of you who are not familiar with some of the rituals, we turn to the people sitting by us, shake hands and say, “Peace be with you.” It’s a rather stiff gesture and to me it seemed inauthentic most of the time. So when I was at black church I was quite taken aback at their custom. “Strangers” were coming up to me with full blown embraces saying, “I love you.” And boy did they hug hard! One after the other for at least 20 minutes, maybe longer.

At one point my sister-in-law turned to look at me and asked me why I was crying. I shook my head and said, “I don’t know.” I was so overwhelmed with emotions, the tears were pouring down my face. It was something I don’t think I ever felt, and something I’ll never forget.

Looking back now, I know. Love was something lacking from my life, growing up the way I did and not loving myself. (Details in my first book, Fearless Freedom Becoming SoulFire)

I was thinking about that memory today, because no matter how far along we are, how much we have healed and have grown, there are still times when we just need a hug and someone to tell us that they love us, no stings attached- just love.

If you can’t find that from outside of yourself, the best place to source love is from within anyway. Self-care, self-love- is so crucial in these times. A simple “exercise” or tool that you can do is simply telling yourself that you love you. Say it out loud and see how it feels.  Say “I love you “ and then say your name. It might feel weird at first if it’s not something you’re used to, but keep doing it- see where it leads you. We must remember to give ourselves what we need to be happy and fulfilled; then and only then will love be guaranteed.

We forget we are love because… we are love. It’s like when we are searching and searching for our glasses and they are on top of our head. The love we are looking for is not outside of ourselves. The love we are in search of is so close, it is the very fabric of our being, it is us. We are the love.