As a teen and in my early twenties I was insecure, fearful, fake, and confused.
I hated pretty much everything about myself and I walked through life focused on everything that was wrong with me. I constantly compared myself to others and beat myself up when I didn’t measure up.
When I heard people talking about ‘self-love’ I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded selfish and narcissistic. I rejected self-love in exchange for self sacrifice. I believed that if I made everyone else happy, they would like me, and I could finally be happy.
I proceeded to sacrifice myself for others hoping that it would be the answer to true and lasting happiness. I did everything others asked of me (and even things they didn’t) and I would pretend to love it. Little did I know that doing this would dig me deeper into the darkness I called ‘the pit’.
During this time there was moments of happiness. When I could see that I made a difference in someone’s life, it made me feel good. But with the high came a devastating low. I used food, shopping, and alcohol to cope and I became depressed, anxious, and suicidal.
After years of this battle, something switched, I stopping chasing happiness, numbing sadness, pleasing others, and sacrificing myself.
It wasn’t an overnight thing; it took me years to climb out of the pit. Slowly, I started to see that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. There were four realizations I had that helped me begin my journey out of the pit.
It was time I learned how to love myself unconditionally.
It was time for me to make peace with the past.
It was time for me to heal the broken little girl inside of me.
It was time for me to integrate the fragmented parts of myself and become whole.
I knew, deep within myself that I could no longer accept some parts of me (my eyes) while rejecting the rest (my thighs). I could no longer pretend to be one way (sweet) and really be another (pissed!). I could no longer sacrifice what I needed (love) in order to get what I wanted (approval).
I had to learn to love myself fully and completely, including all the parts I wished were gone. I had to learn to love my anger, my thighs, my depression, my confusion, my fear, and my insecurity so that I could stop spending all my energy trying to hide them.
I had to learn how to shine light on who I really was without worrying that someone may see it and not like it.
Self-love is not about loving yourself once you are perfect, beautiful, or rich. It’s about loving yourself right now, for who you are in this moment. It’s about living in alignment with who you really are and not pretending to be something you are not.
Self-love is not a destination; it is a journey that never ends.
I had to learn that my past did not predict my future, my past was like a set of ski tracks, they simply marked where I had been and had no influence on where I was going.
During this process I began to understand that self-love is completely different that being selfish. In fact, I eventually learned that it is incredible selfish not to practice self-love.
I finally realized that if I didn’t practice self-love it meant I was hiding my true self from the world. What I know for sure is that the world does not need more people pleasers or pretenders, what it really needs is you and I fully living our truth and shining our light.
To deny the world our brilliance is the ultimate act of selfishness.
I had didn’t have a journal when I was in my darkest moments in the pit, but knowing what I know now I would have. And these are the questions I would have journalled about to help me move from self-sacrifice into self-love,
- Who am I?
- What do I need to do to remove my masks?
- What inspires me?
- What makes me truly happy?
- What holds me back?
- What am I afraid of?
- What’s important to me?
- What are my values?
- What kind of life do I want to live?
- When come to the end of my days, what is it that I want to leave behind?
Wishing you heaps of unconditional self-love,