Self love is the best kind of love
I recently had a breakthrough in therapy, which, to be honest, while I’m going through it, feels like a breakdown. As I was speaking, all my psychologist said was, you can cry here, and as she spoke those words, I thought, ‘But I don’t need to cry’, and before I knew it, I was bawling about why I don’t matter.
But more important, than my incredibly vulnerable admission, is what came next. The realization that I do not love myself (more vulnerable admissions), and while for the longest time, I ‘knew’ this, I didn’t actually know it.
Following our appointment, where she allowed me to cry and talk for 15 minutes after my allocated time, she sent me multiple links about self-love, and how to develop self-love, which I then binge watched when I got home.
I think I had spent a lot of brain power rationalizing and trying to understand the origins of self-hatred and what happens when you don’t love yourself, and what it looks like. And a lot of cerebral thought analysing my behaviour, and relating it back to feelings of self-hatred. It was all educational and in my head.
But finally, in the month of love (when I said recently, I meant February), I realized what it felt like to not love yourself. And why I didn’t love myself. And how I allowed myself to remain in situations that continued to validate my feelings of self-unlove.
But the real work begins now. I bought myself a beautiful journal with a motivational message about thriving on the cover, etched into a colourful image of plants and flowers (always start with a beautiful journal). And I took copious notes from the youtube videos from my psychologist. I did some desk research on sites like psychologies, and school of life, and this is what I learnt so far:
The academic stuff
According to Psychology today, self-love is comprised of four elements: self-awareness, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-care. What this means, is that we need to become aware of our bodies, and our feelings, and how they are expressed within us, and how to identify our emotions. Self-worth is then acknowledging what the good parts of us are – we all have them, but the world we grew up in tells us that it’s not enough, it’s reconnecting with what you deem to be your good parts (they’re in there). A high self-worth leads to a high self-esteem. Self-esteem is all about how comfortable you are with yourself and where you are in life. It’s being ok with yourself and your good (and bad) parts. Finally, self-care is all the activity we do to keep ourselves (both body and mind) healthy.
A journey starts with the first step
I’m in the beginning of my self-love journey, and so far, I’ve been focusing on getting to know myself, by doing things that I enjoy, or enjoyed in the past. It’s almost like starting to “date myself”, well at least, using the same principles of dating. When you start dating someone, you spend a lot of time getting to know them, and what makes them tick, figuring out if you like them or not. So, I need to spend time with myself, to learn who I am, and what I like and don’t like.
Feel free to follow my monthly series of “Love yoself” posts, as I continue along my self-love journey, and share what I learn. Watch out for the first post of each month.
Some further reading: