Several years ago I was part of a group called CODA. I had a sponsor and she gave me an assignment to write a paper about love and what it has to do with anything and everything. I never wrote the essay because I could not understand that concept. I kept telling her I would do it and even attempted the project but never completed the paper. Now here I am, 8 years later ready to put on paper or in this case the internet, what love has to do with it.
Let’s define what It is. It could be you, It could be the way we interact with others, It could be just about anything in our lives, family, friends, pets, ourselves, the list goes on and on. I think for me It became realizing I am a person worthy of self-love as much as I love my family. Learning to enjoy and love myself has been a long journey through the dark, stained areas of my soul and finally getting to the good part.
So looking at myself right now I am far more heavier in weight than I have ever been in my life. What have I learned about this horrible reality? Well, for one, I have found over the last year that even though I am a wide-load the number on the scale does not define my character. I am who I am and this is me for now and only in this moment because each day brings new opportunities to make better decisions. I have learned to accept myself in all my faults knowing that my positive traits outweigh the not so good ones; the good ones are who I strive to be. Also, I know that I surely will find more negatives traits as I continue on this journey, its not the end of the world. I have learned allowance. Allowance to be happy and to be free of the never ending burden of crap I carry around. All that old baggage really doesn’t matter in this moment and it is very heavy so giving myself leeway to move more freely within my own thoughts and not feel like I have to carry the whole world on my shoulders, (thanks Atlas) is freeing. The crap will still be there tomorrow so why not enjoy the here and now. I’ve also learned I’m able to be loved by others, and that is OK. I don’t need to worry about whether I’m good enough or not because it really doesn’t make a difference. If someone loves me, then they love me fat or skinny, and all things in between.
I think learning to love oneself is so important to the healing process, especially since we go wherever we go. We can’t leave ourselves behind. We have to live with ourselves until death do I part, and the yucky stuff in our past will always be there, challenging us in every way possible, but knowing that I am important and valuable is a great way to combat those demons inside our heads. As much as I would love to say being a loner is cool, and it can be for a short while, I don’t think humans were meant to be alone forever. So being important and valuable by finding your own self worth and being able to give that same feeling back to another person can be very fulfilling. I love my husband and kids but saw how damaging my self deprecating attitude was affecting the people I loved. I personally had to self-reflect to find new ways to better myself.
Love has everything to do with everything. Through self love and respect I can grow emotionally stronger to be better equipped to handle some of the smaller crisis’ in life. Some of the tools I use to grow is self-reflection, mindful meditation, logic, exercise, time to myself, music, art, and the list goes on and on. Self-respect and self-love comes in many different forms and there is no one right way to find it. Whatever helps you and moves you forward is good enough.
Most things seem to either start with self or eventually have me finding my way back to self. What I mean is that when I’m facing an external issue I end up looking inward to see how I played a part in the issue and try to correct my behavior rather than focus on the other persons contribution. If I take each moment as they come, and try to do better the next time around, then I feel like I’ve succeeded; even if it doesn’t seem like it in the big overall picture, that doesn’t matter, small steps collected together make miles. I feel like sometimes I only learn in hindsight. What does this have to do with love? Well, I think, everything. To love another person you must love yourself first. When conflict arises love still exists but emotions can run rampant causing bad things to be said or acted on. So by learning to love myself I can become a better person for me, my kids, husband, friends, whoever by choosing to act in love and not anger or blame. There is nothing to dwell on and make me depressed or anxious when these short lived events happen. I think this sounds like I am acting in purely selfish motives but I’m not. I’m trying to love me and allow myself and others the freedom to make mistakes and get back to regular life quicker than usual.
Everyone has some kind of issue they are dealing with and learning to love myself has given me a better insight to others. I am glad that I can share my stories with others, especially since I can see the struggle. I could say a lot of really cool affirmations but they make no difference until you one day in your own experience feel the love for yourself. Then those little quotes and stuff will actually have meaning to you. Your journey to love yourself and others is inside you regardless of what baggage you carry around. Every heart has the ability to love, but the question is will you allow it to be loved?