There are times you struggle to connect to yourself and find the bright, insightful you brimming with encouragement and sheer joy at being alive. Sometimes you feel sad and weepy and you don’t even know why.
When those times come, remember this: you are responsible for your well-being. You are responsible for loving and appreciating yourself.
What does it really mean to do those, anyway?
It means to embrace all of you who are; to take things as you see them and love them anyway because who else is going to do it for you, right?
It’s a conscious decision to observe as fairly as you can and ask yourself how you would act if someone else were you: would you still disparage them as much or as often as you do yourself?
I seem to struggle a lot these days. Loving myself, being compassionate, staying positive even when things are dark: they seem beyond me and harder than usual. There are brief bursts of brilliance and joie de vivre followed by dark periods of doubt and feeling unworthy. The funny thing is I’M the one putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect. How’s that for irony, eh?
At the end of the day, though, it all boils down to how we handle emotional crises. It’s better to let it all out and express ourselves so we don’t curl up under the duvet and just vegetate. It’s healthier to pour out our thoughts and emotions so we can give room for the hurt to heal and fade.
This action right here, talking to myself through my words, writing to myself, is a healthy one. It’s a reclamation of my voice and an affirmation of my spirit.
It’s the beat of my heart and the quickening of my pulse as I learn to fall in love with myself all over again. It’s gently nudging my soul’s muscles to start working and feeling again. It’s saying “I’ll be OK” even when I don’t know how but I believe I will be. I WILL be.
The art of self-love is a tricky one: you have to find the right balance between healthy awareness and egoistical absorption. But most important of all, you have to believe you’re worth loving. Not because your mother does or your lover says, but because you honestly, truly believe in your own worth. Do you? No? Yes? Maybe?
What you believe and what you feel don’t always gel, right? That’s to be expected; even the greatest prophets struggled with their faith at some point. We tend to think that having the right set of beliefs will protect us from self-doubt and fear. They won’t, actually, but they will arm us with the strength to overcome our challenges.
There are times I feel like a fraud for writing and sharing my posts when I’m such a mess myself, times like right now, but I remind myself that I’m only human and can’t be “on” all the time. I may feel like a mess but I’m a big, beautiful, glorious one: a rare tangle of dreams and vulnerabilities and light and shadow. And as I cut myself some slack for feeling down, I realise that it’s all part of living, learning, and growing. You cannot move forward in the absence of an obstacle to overcome.
Think about it: the biggest leaps in human history were over difficulties that ushered in the next level of evolution. The wheel? Getting from point A to B faster and easier. Fire? Keeping us warm, cooking our food, AND scaring away wild animals. Tools/machinery? Amping up our productivity and easing the burden on human bodies.
So what does all that have to do with feeling down and curling into oneself? Everything. Everything. It’s just another hurdle to clear. I don’t use ‘just’ to trivialise the emotions, but to show that they don’t have to overshadow everything and weigh us down indefinitely.
To love yourself, truly love yourself, is to see the beauty that lies within; it’s to be neck-deep in tissues and still be able to smile because you know that all pain is temporary and you are strong enough to get through it.
Loving yourself is about hugging yourself, flaws and all, and marvelling at the wonder of your unique spirit.
It’s about being able to heal from a broken heart because you are NOT broken by it.
It’s about nourishing your soul as an exercise essential for survival, flourishing, living.
Loving yourself is being gentle enough to tend your wounds when you’re hurt and tough enough to get your ass in gear when you’re tempted to let your goals pass you by.
We remain who we choose to be, and loving yourself is the repeated, conscious decision to choose bliss and fulfilment over, and over, and over again.
And me? I may still hurt. I may still struggle. The only difference is that I’m also encouraged to forge ahead and push past the pain & confusion. To paraphrase a quote by Harvey MacKay, I don’t need life to be easy, I just need it to be worth it. 🙂