illustrated woman hugging herself on painted background

How I learned to love myself

If there is one thing that sped up my transformation these past years, it has been learning to love myself, all of myself. It wasn’t exactly an overnight kind of experience, it was more like a cha cha cha. And it still is. It is an ongoing process, and it will not be complete until the day I die. As much as we want to, we cannot go from loathing ourselves to loving ourselves in one step, unless perhaps in an NDE, but I do not recommend that. It is much easier to be a bit kinder to yourself each day.

My first step towards self-compassion was understanding that we always do our best. No matter how screwed our thoughts or behaviors may be, we always do our best, even if we feel we don’t, especially when we feel we don’t. So I would go around, saying to myself: you did your best, if you could have done better, you would have done better. This mantra caused my body to relax a bit, and because I didn’t slam myself over the head every time I did something wrong, my mind felt safe enough to highlight the areas where I could do better, and handed me ideas on how to deal better with these situations. After some time, I noticed that I had become less self-critic, and kinder in general.
Slowly, my mantra changed in: you did well. See how I still spoke to myself in the second person? You did well. These words brought relief and comfort. They allowed me to make peace with my past. This helped my body and mind to relax even more. And next to being aware of all the things that I could do better, I started to notice the things I was doing well. That felt indescribably good.
I started saying to myself: you are doing well. It was then that I started to gain momentum. You are doing well, allowed me to relax in the moment. Not completely, but a bit more every time I said it to myself.

Fast-forward to today: I love me. Today, I AM perfect as I am. I AM owning my god-given perfection. I AM enough as I am. I AM worthy as I am. Every moment, I AM doing better. I AM a work in progress. I love my body, and my body loves me back. I love my life, and life loves me back. I AM appreciating this life experience. I love it when I ‘slip up’, when I fall back in old behaviors, because it creates the desire to love myself even more. My life is working out perfectly. I am not flawless, nor would I want to be, I don’t need to be perfect anymore. All I want is to feel good about myself and my life, and I decided that that is the starting point in stead of the finish line. What I know for sure is that Love changes everything.

Image by Hermien

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