When you read the word `Self-Love` what is the first thing that you think of? Probably loving yourself, right? But what does that mean to you? What does that look like for you?
I`ve been wondering this lately.
I`ve been thinking about self-love. I`ve been thinking about what it means, and even what it means to me. `Self-Love is regard for one`s own well-being and happiness.` So, that is what it means, but how does it relate to me? For so long I have spent my life thinking there was something wrong with me, and feeling shame for how I felt. Feeling different, and isolated were just feelings that I felt on an everyday basis. I worried about everything, all the time, and I am NOT exaggerating.
From the young age of 4, I remember specific moments even, where I was overflowing with anxiety.
Back then I obviously didn`t know it was anxiety, and the world didn`t talk about mental health. I remember trying so hard, even as a child to just not be like that. I would try so hard to just be carefree, and stop worrying. I would think to myself, why does a child have to worry so much?
I`m sure I grew up faster than I needed to, because I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I worried about things that weren`t even my worry. It was the way my brain was wired. I lived with guilt every day of my life, and would lie awake at night replaying everything I said during the day and completely overthinking it. Maybe I said something wrong. Oh no, did I offend them? Oh no, now I will be in trouble. And, it was just a vicious circle, over and over and over. Needless to say, sleep and me did not get along well. From the age of 5 I remember just laying awake at night thinking. I didn`t want to. I wanted to sleep. My mind wouldn`t let me.
What I have learned in my adult years was that I clearly struggled with Anxiety my entire life. The world just didn`t talk about it back then. I had never heard the word Anxiety until I was 20 years old. For some of my adult life I still lived in denial. I thought if I worked hard enough, I could change it. I am in charge of my mind, right? Therefore I can change how it works.
No. It does not work that way, as I am sure you know.
So, my journey of healing and self-love began about two years ago. I use the word healing, and often use the word wellness, because recovery to me, means I am going to be all better. I won`t be all better. I will always have these things. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Bi-Polar. I use the words healing, and wellness because I won`t just not have them one day. I will always have them.
My journey has been up and down, and even more down. It has been filled with potholes and rainbows, and many times I just felt like I couldn`t do it anymore. However, my desire to just get to a point in my life where it was okay. It was okay to talk about. I wanted to be comfortable with my mental health, and come to a place of confidence when I could openly talk about it and feel no shame.
I wanted to love myself, and even my mind, and the way it works.
I think self-love is so important in regards to our mental health. Accepting ourselves, and even the cards we`ve been given, and loving ourselves is so important. We all have so much to offer, and so much inside of us. I devoted time to myself, and learning who I was, and who I wanted to be. I had become so lost that I didn`t even know what I liked to do anymore. My darkness had completely taken over, and there had been no light for so long.
Self-love looks different for everyone.
I have had to cut people out of my life to protect my mental health. I`ve realized some people are toxic to me. This was self-love for me. To care about myself, and my mental health, and to be able to act on it, and do it because of the respect I have for myself, and again, my mental health.
I tried being a stay at home mom for about 2 months. To all you mama`s who do it, I think you are superhuman amazing, wonderful people. I was going insane. I felt like my brain was dying (no offense to my children). I just felt like I needed more in my life. Finding a little part time job, I was able to leave home for work and work around my husbands schedule. This was self-love for me. While my kids miss out on having a stay at home mother (I am home Monday-Thursday), they receive parental support every day of the week, and I get that adult stimulation that I was craving. I get to leave the house, and go to work.
This was self-love for me.
This is definitely a journey. To come to a place where you can value yourself enough that you can recognize what brings you happiness and what doesn`t. When you can recognize what is good for your wellbeing, and what makes you feel good. This is a journey. You are not going to just wake up and have life all figured out.
I urge you though, to pay attention to how you are feeling. Spend a few days, and really be with yourself. Practice being in-tune to your mind, and your body. I used to want to run away from my mind because it was so awful. It took so much practice to actually enjoy being alone. Sometimes it is still too much to bear, but this journey is taken in baby steps. When you are alone, and with yourself, listen to what your body is telling you.
Watch your life, and be mindful of things, and hear your body.
I think learning to love ourselves is something we all need to do. I`m not sure when we stopped loving ourselves. Most children have excellent self-confidence from my experience. Maybe in teenage years, when we begin to compare ourselves? Or perhaps we were the victim of bullying, and our self-esteem went out the window?
Everyone has a different story, and a different healing path, that is what makes this all so beautiful.
Healing comes in so many forms, and it is a form of self-love also. To take time, and put energy into being purposeful in creating a life that brings you happiness. It takes so much bravery and courage. I really urge you to practice self-love. Even just in small baby steps. Do something for yourself each and every day. Even just small little things.
Bring happiness into your life, each and every day.
While self-love will not cure your mental illness, and no it did not cure mine either, I think it will improve mental health. It shows us that we are worthy, valuable human beings, that deserve the same treatment we give out.
We give love to everyone else. We are kind, caring, and compassionate people. This is our nature. We never want people to feel the darkness that we feel. But, if we took time to indulge and invest in self-love, and show ourselves, that we also, deserve that kindness, that caringness, and the compassion, perhaps it would bring some light through the darkness. Perhaps in time, this would just become normal, and it would feed, and build our self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
And then, perhaps in time, our mental health could improve dramatically.
Self-love comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes. Bring yourself happiness. Call in happiness to your world, and to your life. Create an atmosphere to allow happiness in. And then, when you get it, and you feel good, don`t let guilt, or anxiety take it away. Feel it. Feel the effects of investing in self-love. Even just for a moment.
We are all worthy of devoting time to ourselves to create a world, and a life filled with happiness and joy. Let`s take time to devote more time to this, and giving ourselves the love that we deserve.
Love Always, Enn
P.S. Spring is upon us, and are you ready for it? I have created a Spring and Easter guide and it has the cutest things! From gifts, to amazing wreaths, it will definitely help you add some spring into your house! Also, I found the CUTEST scrunchie holders so you should definitely stop in –