On the way to her engagement party, a young bride-to-be, Christine Arylo, 30, was confused when her fiancé was not
talking to her. He pulled the car over to explain to her that he no longer wanted to marry her, that he was no longer in love with her, and that he had been cheating. In her despair, Arylo realized she had been wrong to rely on someone else to “complete” her, and she began her journey towards “self-love.”
Self-Love was the topic of the “Madly in Love with Me” workshop held Tuesday, Feb. 3 in the Cowell Conference room by Christine Arylo, author of Choosing Me Before We and founder of Girltalk: Taking it Deeper, an online forum for girls and women.
Mills College career counselor Neepa Parikh hosted the event in hopes to explore the concept of self-love with the Mills community before what was coined “Madly in Love with Me Day,” on Feb. 13.
“I’m all about redefining this month and having an alternative to Valentine’s Day,” Parikh said.
Arylo endearingly referred to the “Madly In Love With Me” workshop as a “self exploration adventure,” intended to encourage women to be wise and to develop a serious loving relationship with the inner self.
Pop Quiz. What is self-love?
a) The ability to look yourself in the mirror and say “I love you” 50 times every morning,
b) Skipping or galloping from one place to another,
c) Being happy with who you are and putting your own well being before anything else, or d) Any (and all) of the above? If you answered “d”,you are half way there, according to Arylo.
Arylo believes self-love can develop in many ways. If not verbally reminding yourself in the mirror, or skipping down the street, self-love can develop by simply accepting compliments or rocking out to inspirational music. Arylo suggests “Private Party”
by India Arie.
Over light refreshments of cookies and iced tea, nearly 30 women described their reasons for taking interest in “Madly in Love with Me.”
Many were there to rekindle an old flame of self-love lost in a broken romantic relationship. Others were attempting to overcome hardships and self-doubt.
Courtney Booker, a senior, said her interest in “Madly in Love with Me” stemmed from the anticipation of graduation.
“I need to know this to tackle the outside world,” Booker said.
Angelica Addison, a freshwoman, went expecting to do some soul searching. “I’m trying to get through a lot of stuff in my past,” Addison said.
Arylo shared her “Self Love Manifesta,” wherein every woman is “empowered to love herself simply because she is.” The Manifesta describes in detail what a “Madly In Love With Me” woman might achieve.
“Self love is to be, love, and live. you,” said Arylo. “Never apologize for who you are.”
Arylo had each person in the room find a partner in order to explore “being real” by talking about the lows and highs of self-love. She described these as “self-love dumpers,” and “airplanes of love.” Everyone was expected to think of a moment of total self-loathing, and a moment of extreme self-love, and share them with their partner.
Moments of lows included those triggered by terrible academic slumps, breakups and other moments of self-dislike. The women were asked to recognize why the situations made them feel this way, and what could be done to relieve the negative effects of difficult times. The group’s experiences of high self-love included moments of achievement and independence, which the women were also asked to evaluate.
Arylo stressed the importance of women supporting one another’s efforts towards self-love. She explained that it was vital other women never shoot down self-love and she said she vowed to never judge another woman again.
Near the end of the workshop, Arylo challenged participants to vow to fall in love with them selves. In love letters to themselves, each group member wrote down one promise to themselves. For instance, “Dear Me, I promise to spend more alone time with you” or, “Dear Me, I promise to look you in the eyes when I tell you I love you 50 times each morning.”
Arylo encouraged the women to “know yourself, be honest with yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, and then consider the he/she/we. Never settle for less.”