from Jessica Jensen
we carry collected pain from so many moments. like the time during high school when you were first made fun of or when you didn’t get a high enough score to be placed in advanced classes. maybe you lost yourself in the transition to adulthood, parenthood, or somewhere else along the way. or perhaps you are experiencing pain from the present moment as life is unfolding in a way that is different from what you had planned.
we all have these moments. some we continue to know because the wounds remain scabbed, fresh, and open; others are faint scars that have healed over the years.
so we show up in altered versions of ourselves and we act in ways that we do not fully understand. we search for reassurance, validation, and self-worth through other people’s approval, the numbers on a scale, or they way our clothes fit us. and still, something remains missing.
and if any of this holds true for you, you haven’t lost who you are, you’re just finding your way.
there is a deep calling to self-love within each of us, if only we would get quiet enough to listen, patient enough to try, and enduring enough to persevere.
self-love is a fluid process that ebb and flows and because it is ever changing, it’s something we must work on daily.
1. you can start by honoring who and where you are. begin to learn about the messages you tell yourself and gently consider where it is you find your worth- perhaps it comes from the attention you receive from the people around you, in your productivity, accomplishments, or ability to please others. get curious about your sadness, internal pressures, or constant worrying and perfectionism. maybe it is about making a decision to stop allowing your past to dictate your future while still honoring where it is you come from.
2. you get curious about who you are and who you pretend to be in order to meet other people’s expectations. you recognize that perhaps inner growth will take place in the letting go, the moving on. it means you lean into the guilt you experience when saying no to others so that you can start to say yes to yourself.
3. you improve yourself through kindness. kindness towards your body and love to your soul. the movement towards self love is showing yourself the same compassion, understanding, and kindness that you would treat your dearest friend. its a process of forgiving flaws and owning up to mistakes.
4. you practice things that bring you joy, calmness, and energy. you start listening to the quiet inner voice that knows your heart and the sweetness that you need. and when you practice self-love you become selective of the way you spend and give of your time. you stop collecting other people’s negativity and make a decision to be soft and patient with yourself.
5. you allow yourself to heal. and healing can be uncomfortable. our individual experiences of healing will take different paths and different amounts of time, and all of it is necessary for our journey. you welcome the raw and truthful expression of emotion and you promise to be gentle with yourself as you grow. there is no time limit on healing and you allow yourself to take as long you need.
it will be a long and windy road filled with detours of disappointments or a return to old behaviors, but you continue to try. sometimes self-love is about allowing yourself to face your sadness, to speak your hurts, and to sit with your feelings. sometimes self-love is recognizing all that you have endured. its looking for those little glimmers of hope that present themselves to us in the darkest of moments.