5 min read
Self-love is hot. If you have to believe social media self-love is treating yourself to pedicures and spas. It is about physical health and beauty. With some mental health and compassion scattered about. And while all of these can be acts of self-love, they are not self-love.
Self-love simply is loving all of ourselves. And I mean this as literal as possible. All of ourselves. Every thought, every emotion, every fear, every trait, every habit, every pattern, every square inch, every ounce.
It’s that simple. Simple. I did not say easy.
Lately, every morning, my Morning Pages start with “I don’t want to feel this anymore. It hurts too much. It is too tiring. I don’t want to feel this anymore.” This is not how I want my days to start, or how I want my days to go, but it is my reality at this moment.
I kept fighting it. Until, last week, I touched on the wound of abandonment again. This time in relationship to the wound of abuse. It was like opening a can of worms. Feelings of being unwanted, unneeded. Complete worthlessness. And beneath it, a sense of utter senselessness, uselessness. Of life. Not in general, but my life.
There is a deadness inside of me. The absence of aliveness. A barren desert. A vast emptiness filled with nothing but grief. Feeling it is too overwhelming. I want this feeling to be gone. If I could take a knife and cut it out, I would.
But that is not how it works. That is not how we heal. We heal by transcending and including. We transcend by becoming the witness to the experience. And we include by unconditionally loving the experience. Because of this, the healing can only be the result, never the goal.
Healing is the result of self-love. But how can I love this part of me? How do you love the absence of love? How do you witness a void? How do you transcend and include uselessness?
Honestly, I don’t know. This is a new level. And overnight, the game got a whole lot harder. Again. All I can do is build upon what I already know. To love and embrace this experience feels like a stretch. But I can love the girl inside of me who got to experience this darkness. I can stop fighting her feelings. I can stop repressing her grief. I can stop muting her.
We can only love ourselves to the extend of our most hurt self. In order to heal, the part of me that suffered most has to heal. She did not deserve to be abused. She did not deserve to be discarded either. Like all of us, she deserves to feel worthy of love, worthy of goodness, and lasting happiness.
They say the abused become their own abusers. And the abandoned will abandon themselves. In my experience this is true. From now on, I will do neither. She will not be alone, caged in the past of her abuse anymore. I will not allow it. I will love her by setting her free. By allowing her to be.
It is scary. She is strong in me. How can I allow her to be free, and not be assimilated by her? As she did before, when over the course of 20 years, she gradually gained power over me until life was too much to bear. As always, the answer is staring me right in the face. I build on what I already know. I hold her and her experiences in loving awareness. I love her by being present to whatever is happening in each moment.
These days, no matter how painful, I choose to be present to the resistance. To the overwhelm. To the shame and the grief. To the pain in my body. I breathe in love and and life. And with each exhale I try to relax my body a bit more.
I allow myself to be scared. I allow myself to feel all that I am feeling. I allow myself to be all of me. And most importantly, I do not judge myself for it. Instead, it is my intention to lovingly accept myself as I am in each moment. And to allow myself to trust in how far I’ve come already.
I love myself for my courage. I love myself for my resilience. For any progress I make. For my willingness to get up each morning and do my morning pages. To write those words again. To accept that this is where I am now. To embrace the reality of this mess. I may wish for my life to be different, easier. It is not. Not at this moment at least.
At the same time, I am grateful. To be in this body still. For this experience called life. For the beauty and love that surround me every day. For kindness and goodness. For this benign Force in which I breathe and move and have my being, more and more. For the support and guidance I receive.
I know that one day all these parts that make up me will be as one. I will not just patch myself together. Not just recreate my original shape by glueing all parts together as well as possible. No, I want to take it one step further. I want to celebrate the cement that glues it all together by highlighting it, by painting it with gold. Celebrating the wholeness of me, wounds and all. I want to highlight the love that transforms pain into peace. That transmutes trauma into treasure. Lead into gold. Self-love is magic. This is what I know for sure.
If this resonated with you, then consider sharing it with someone who will love it too or could use it in their lives right now. And while you’re in the flow, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter in the footer of this page. I’ll send you an email from time to time to keep you in the loop. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. Scout’s honor.
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illustration by me