Ahhhhh February….the month of LOVE
It seems so simple doesn’t it? To say “I’m going to love myself” and then it just happens right?
For me, that was a hard no.
I was beginning from a place of self-loathing. When I got sober nearly four years ago I was in a place of confusion. I was full of guilt and shame and I despised the person I had become.
Thus began the unraveling that had to take place to get to the core of my being.
I grew up with a lot of confidence. Most of which was due to being such an overachiever and receiving outside validation. I based my self worth on what I was capable of accomplishing and how the world around me reacted to it.
Basically, my self worth depended on whether you liked me or not. If you didn’t, then I tried harder to please you.
That cycle created an incessant need for approval. When I hit my rock bottom and realized that I had disappointed everyone around me, I had nothing to fall back on because my sense of self was enmeshed with everyone’s opinion of me.
As I started to strip away the layers of damage, I began to take a hard look at who I was.
The good and the bad parts. I did a personal inventory and made a list of behaviors that I deemed unacceptable (i.e. lying, judgement, gossip, comparison).
Then I realized that all those things that I disliked were behaviors that I was participating in on the daily.
I hate being judged yet I was judging others. I hate people talking about me behind my back, but every relationship I had was very shallow and revolved around gossip.
I hate being lied to, yet I had lied to everyone.
I constantly compared myself to others. I was always better or worse.
So changes were in order here, and that had to start with me. It was difficult to really take an honest look at myself.
I had a great Therapist and a Life Coach and they were an integral part of that healing process. I bought Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life and I started her daily affirmations. SUPER awkward to stand in front of the mirror and give yourself pep talks.
I wrote in my journal and made gratitude lists and felt true gratitude for everything in my life (I had taken so much for granted before).
I learned to sit in meditation and be alone with myself.
I changed my thinking. I honored my body by eating healthier and exercising. I went to bed earlier and got up earlier and made time every single morning for a daily practice.
I learned what it meant to show up for myself and what self care really looks like. I committed to honesty in every area of my life.
I cleaned up the wreckage of my past and do my best to never cause harm to others.
Slowly but surely I began to feel better. I started to like the person I was becoming.
I was able to lay my head on the pillow at night without any guilt because I was living with integrity.
Today, I can honestly say that I love who I am. I am able to be the best version of myself because I choose that each day. I don’t ever want to go back to my old ways.
A huge part of self love is the ability to hold yourself accountable.
I think we all have a tendency to compartmentalize parts of ourselves and only love the parts that are deemed “acceptable”. No one is perfect! We are human and we make mistakes. But we are all worthy of love no matter what. That love starts with ourselves and then branches out to others. I found that the more I loved and accepted myself, the more loving and accepting I became in general. That is growth.
Self love is a subtle art. Little things that add up to big changes. It’s worth the journey. YOU are worth it. I love you and I root for you. Keep going.