Did you know that quotes about “self-love” are one of the biggest search terms on Google? Why do you suppose so many people are searching for inspiration to love themselves?

I have a theory. In a culture where children (especially girls) are encouraged to be nice, not to brag, and not to “be too big for their britches,” learning to love yourself is a radical act.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. ~ Brene Brown

Last week, the new moon was in Sagittarius. It brought an expansive energy brimming with optimism and dreams for the future.

At a new moon ceremony, we were guided to set an intention to tap into the power of the new moon. Here is the intention I set:

To create a writing community that provides a container of support for people who want to write their life stories to uplift, empower, and inspire others.

During the ceremony we asked the Universe for a symbol of the gifts we would be receiving from this new expansive energy. I gasped when the image that appeared was an iridescent red heart, much like the one in this photo, except it had sparklers shooting out from all sides.

This very same heart had appeared to me in a dream the night before, when I was standing on stage in front of a huge audience beaming love out to everybody in attendance.

That dream was puzzling on many levels. First, because I could never see myself doing anything like that. Second, because what on earth did it all mean? Third, because where was all that brilliance coming from?

So I asked the Universe for an explanation, and here is the message I received.

You need to act from this place of brilliance. Your gift is to radiate love and positive energy to everyone you meet, but it all starts from the power of radical self-love.

Gulp! That sounds like a tall order. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. My whole purpose in helping people share their stories is to mirror back the brilliance I see in them, to help them see themselves in a more positive light and embrace their authentic gifts so they can inspire others. I can only do that if I fully embody the divine love that heart represents.

My act of radical self-love is to give myself the month of December to reflect and integrate all the joys and sorrows this year has brought. Winter is the season to go within, to embrace the quiet of the season and nurture ourselves so we can go out in the world and bloom.

So during this busy holiday season, I wish you the gift of time for silent contemplation and self-care. Let’s sanctify our own holidays with love, grace, and respite from the busyness of our lives.