Self-Love is not impossible. You already do it, you just haven’t noticed.
It’s 10 p.m. and I’m having my first session with my therapist. Probably apt, since I just ended my relationship a few days ago.
My ex-partner was all that I’ve wanted in a man—he’s ambitious, intelligent, empathetic, sensitive, genuine, and very, very, very romantic. He insists on picking me up and sending me back even if it’s from one end of the country to the other—and not obligingly. He genuinely wants to. He wakes up at 6 a.m. to send me good morning messages if I have to go to work early, then goes back to sleep after. (I later told him that the messaging app Telegram now allows you to schedule messages.) He once spent two days reading relationship books before having a tough conversation with me so that he wouldn’t make me feel like I needed to change for him.
As I was sharing with my therapist about my ex-partner, I started crying.
“What do these tears mean?”
“I don’t know, I guess I miss being around him.”
“Why? How do you feel when you’re around him?”
“I feel loved no matter how I look or act that day. I feel like I don’t need to be my professional self; I can whine, be a kid, be myself.”
“Rae, do you allow yourself to be you around you?”
Damn. That question got me. No I don’t. I work around 16 hours a day. It’s just more productive for me to not act like a kid and whine. Having my shit together just means I can be more effective in my work. I rarely celebrate my wins. I always wish I did better after a coaching session or training. I feel guilty when I fall asleep while working late.
I am actually really bad at loving myself. Wow. I am a bad lover to myself, honestly.
Think of a child you know—it could be your own child, it could be your friend’s child. If this child fell asleep while they were studying, would you scold them and guilt trip them when they wake up? If this child were to trip up while presenting in school, would you start telling them that they’re good for nothing and will never be as confident as others?
If the answer is no, then why do we do it to ourselves? Why are we so mean to ourselves?
We compliment and encourage others, but rarely do it to ourselves. We encourage others to get rest and have fun, but we rarely do it ourselves. We celebrate the wins of others, but again, we rarely celebrate ours.
What if we can love ourselves the way we want to be loved by our significant other?
We already show love to others, so we KNOW how to love. Now, we just need to do it to ourselves.
Here are some questions that helped me better exercise self-love:
- How do I wish to be loved?
- What are the actions that others do for me that make me feel loved?
- How can I do those actions for myself?
- How can I plan time into my schedule to just be me, stripped away of all my professional titles?
- How does loving myself help me love others better?
You deserve love just as you are. You don’t need to earn it. You already have it around you, you just need to be willing to receive.