My Journey To Self-Love
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
I’ve fallen in love, without even trying. Without wanting to. Falling is easy. Learning who to give that love to is a little more tricky. Self-love is the best love, but it’s often over-looked.
We experience love differently throughout our lives, but it changes us none the less. Some for the better and some far worse, but there’s always a lesson. Just imagine, if you can love someone else so completely, so blinded and unwillingly, I’m certain you can love yourself. This is my journey to self love.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
— Lucille Ball
The journey of love starts as a child. For most children, love is family. You see it in a toddler’s face as it lights up at just the sight of you! Love is in family vacations and laughing with siblings and it all comes so naturally, so carefree. Just as it should be. Pure and easy.
For Teens, it’s crazy and intense love. When friendships and relationships trump the big love you once had only for family. Since childhood, my best friend and I were inseparable. Rumors even flew that it was something more, but of course it wasn’t like that. We were more than friends though… she was like the sister I never had. We did everything together and we were boy crazy. Love was more infatuation, experimentation, parties, late night adventures. Some sort of puppy love and experiencing as much of it as we can. A type of no limits love. It was superficial. Not so pure and simple anymore. In fact it was this teen love that led to my now 18 year old daughter. Lucky for me, she’s experiencing teen love with a little more caution.
Ahhh nowadays though, love is a little different. Much more tame. Love now, is my hubby clearing off the snow atop my car before he heads to work. It’s the security in knowing that he will always be there and never seems let me down. It’s the unconditional love for my children. I love when my youngest daughter hugs me out of nowhere. And when her face lights up at just the sight of me! I’m also lucky enough to have a few real friendships, the ones with no drama, love those. That childhood best friend I mentioned, she’s one of them:)
There’s also plenty of things I truly love. Not material things. There’s a love for the small window of quietness in the evening when the kids are finally asleep. That’s gotta be love right? And sleep. I LOVE sleep. Oh and food… like crab legs, and Reece peanut butter cups and cheese pizza. I mean who doesn’t love that?
Yep, love is a little different these days. It’s more quality and value. It’s good health and most importantly it is self-love. When I started to fall in love with myself, everything seemed to fell in to place. I’m not a narcissist. It is okay…no it’s super okay to love yourself. For me, it helped in loving others more. I used to struggle with self-love and self-confidence.
In my 20’s, I went from bad relationship to worse relationship and each one seemed to take with it a little more of my self-love. All my life, I put my time and efforts into others- my child, my job, my toxic relationships, and I was left with very little for me! I felt awful about myself and my relationships. But, I knew deep down inside that I was meant for better things. I didn’t want to live like that any longer. Radical measures were necessary for change. So, not even wanting to and fighting it every day, I created my own self-love rehab of sorts.
I moved out, on my own for the first time and focused on me. My place was very small and in the middle of nowhere but it was cheap enough so that I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else. I took care of myself, in every aspect. It took a lot of self control not to fall back into old habits. I can’t even tell you how many times I planned and packed up, ready to go back to my toxic lifestyle, and yet somehow I stopped myself.
The size of my tiny apartment didn’t bother me much because outside was the kind of peaceful scenery I never even knew my soul was craving. A murky gray creek surrounded by old wooden docks and a forest with beaten down trails became my sanctuary and kept me on the right path. The seclusion and dark woods, which I’ll admit were creepy in the beginning, were now a place of healing. Nature has a way with the soul I can’t explain, but little by little I started feeling completely different.
I jogged, hiked, wrote, worked, cooked and wrote some more. I took care of myself and before long I felt something I hadn’t in a while- I loved myself again. And, I haven’t stopped since!
So maybe after reading this, you’re feeling inspired to show yourself and others some love! If you’re single, a couple with kids, or just pets, I’ve got you covered.
Spouse is easy- love is in the little things. Clean out their car or take it to the car wash. Take out the trash, if they usually do. Make their fave dinner with ALL the extras. Back rubs are always appreciated too! Stuck on time? Order in their fave takeaway and add the dessert. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple yet meaningful ‘I love you’ out of nowhere. Little presents are always great too. Flowers, candies, a favorite book or magazine always win my heart.
For kids- My 4 year old is loves youtube, so I’m making a compilation of the funny videos from her baby days and adding it to a private YouTube channel of ours so I can stream it to the tv and she can see herself on the big screen! Also, a trip to the park for a bit of no distraction togetherness is lovely.
If you’re single sans kids, maybe you have a dog you can take on an extra long walk or buy a fave dog bone for. No pet? Hopefully you have a good friend or relative you love enough to take for some coffee and cake. Love isn’t just about romance people!
Most importantly- show yourself some love! Buy yourself some flowers. Have a bubble bath. Eat an entire pie (I don’t judge. I’m probably do that right now). Bake and hike and watch your fave movies:) Some important mental steps in order to truly pass my self love rehab: Forgive yourself! Forgive yourself for allowing negative behaviors in the past.
Quit blaming yourself! Stop blaming yourself for things that have gone wrong in your life! It’s not your fault. Think happy thoughts! Let go of negative feelings like self-criticism, sadness and anger. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Use positive affirmations when negative thoughts arise. Stop worrying! Don’t stress about the unknown. Story worrying about the future and trust yourself. Take care!
Feed your passions. Do what you love! Make sure you are getting enough sleep, and physical exercise. Eat with the intent to heal. Challenge yourself and put you first. Recognize when you’re feeling emotionally drained and fill your cup before it’s empty. Express yourself! Communicate your feelings with others. Your needs matter! Often as parents we forget this and it takes a toll on our mental health. Write it down! Putting your thoughts on paper is therapeutic. And if you experience a tough time you can look back on better days knowing tough times don’t last forever. Get help! Never be too ashamed to seek professional help from a doctor, counselor, therapist etc.
Morgan Jo of barbedwireandlaceblog.com has a great post with more tips on how to take back your power after dealing with toxicity!
Take a day as a reminder that you are worthy of your love too!
Find love… in your friends, family, pets, and most importantly in yourself:)
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