My path to Self-Love.

get elephant's newsletter
art work by Lori Portka -

I think I finally love myself.

Looking back upon the changes that I’ve made in my being and in my life, I smile.

For a long time, I was stuck in a big rut.

I used to ignore myself.

I used to ignore my desires, my thoughts, and my intuition.

I used to put everyone else first.

It is important to honor the needs of others.

It is important to be of service to others.

But I’ve learned that in the midst of honoring and serving others, sometimes I was not honoring and and serving myself.

In the past, I used to think that I loved myself. On some level, I probably did.

But, not completely.

Relationships and how to maintain a healthy self while in relationship have been key learning points in my life thus far.

You may be wondering, how did she not love herself?

Well, let me tell you.

I ignored my needs.

I let others decide what was right for me.

I gave in to the wishes of others far too often.

I did not vocalize or express my true feelings.

Sometimes I didn’t even know what my true feelings were.

I hold no one else accountable.

I find no one else at fault.

I do not blame anybody.

I am not angry.

Clearly, I needed to learn how to love myself.

Here’s how it all went down. [the abridged version.]

First, my marriage dissolved. Of course it was a long time in coming as the emotional connection was not nourishing, but we stayed together far too long because, well, I didn’t love myself enough to create something better. I do love this person, but not in a romantical kind of a way. Then, I became a single mother. My children were 1 and 3 and I was alone all the time with them. I did not have weekends off. In fact, it felt like I was bothering people by asking them to help me watch my children. Some people gave me a hard time about it and did not want to help me. This is unfortunate.

This may not sound so bad on paper, but several times I had discussions with a close relative about having her raise my children. I would lock myself in the bathroom and sob and scream and sob and scream. I was angry then. I can understand the choice that some women make to leave their children or give them up. Society is not set up to provide proper support for single mothers or support for mothers with babies and young children. As a society, I feel we need to look at how we support mothers. My experience was such that I did not have what I needed; I was not nourished. I always wanted to be a mother, but not  like this. Of course, I am grateful for those who gave what they could, but I did not feel supported or nurtured and becoming a single mother forced me into a very deep dark place.

This deep dark place was called: Learning to Love Myself.

Learning to Love Myself involved asking:

-What makes me happy?

-What brings me joy?

-What does my body need?

-What does my soul need?

-What does my heart need?

-What can I do right now so that I will be happy?

First, I took care of my body. The local fitness club had childcare and they watched my children while I ran, biked, swam, danced, toned, and showered. This became the priority in my life (besides my children) and I felt so much better! I even became a zumba instructor and completed a duathalon. I made some new friends who I could socialize with and have kid-free time. I enjoyed dancing and traveling and hanging out. Then, I found soul nourishment through an amazing teacher and learned how to see myself more clearly and learned how to heal my wounds. I even married myself! I discovered Reiki and treated myself, moved cross-country, wrote and published a book of my poetry, founded a non-profit, flourished into motherhood, and now I assist others on their own paths of healing – all in a span of less than two years! Most importantly, I learned to love and honor myself. I feel that the healing process is ongoing –  as life throws obstacles into our path – but I feel confident that I will meet these challenges. Why? Well, because I want to. Because I want to love myself. Because I choose to love myself. When we love ourselves, suddenly it becomes so easy to love everyone.

If I were to write my personal mantras, they would be:

I can express my needs and true feelings.

I express from my heart.

I make my own decisions.

I recognize mutual respect in relationships.

I embrace authenticity.

What are your personal mantras? How do you show love for yourself?

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Helene Rose

Helene Rose, MS, is passionate about supporting women to live brilliant lives and founded Be Brilliant Network LLC to serve as a portal for women to step into their radiance. Her life experience provides her with a deeply compassionate perspective and understanding of the modern woman’s struggle for mindful living and feminine empowerment. She lives in Boulder, CO with her family. Read more about Helene >>> HERE.


21 Responses to “My path to Self-Love.”

  1. This is heartening. I’m walking this same path. I’m in the dark spot before the self-love comes. I am practicing sitting and being in acceptance without judgment as all these feelings arise from within. I’m behind you on the path, but I’ll look forward to seeing you when I’m out of the woods.

    • Priscilla Wood says:

      Just when I think I'm the only one feeling like this i see others in the same situation. We will learn to love ourselves once we are, like you say "out of the woods".

  2. Helene,
    Sharing the depths of your soul like this will help others.
    Much love,

  3. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for sharing… as someone who has been on a similar path, I am grateful.

  4. Lori says:

    Thank you so much for using my art to go with your beautiful words. This was exactly what I needed to read today. Feeling very grateful…

  5. Chelsea says:

    It takes a lot of courage to not only recognize and accept the dark times, but to share your experiences to let everyone who has been in the same positions know they're not alone. It sounds like you've come a long way and you did that by being true to yourself. You are an inspiration!

  6. helene_rose says:

    I appreciate your comments. breathing deeply …

  7. Rachel Manning says:

    Hi Helene,
    thank you for sharing that! So happy to feel the happiness you bring!
    my feelings are coming out slowly. I do love myself. I have bursts of love and inspirations.
    just need to make them last!! much love,
    Rachel M.

  8. debra says:

    this was just what i needed to read. i've become so convinced that my lack of self love is the root of everything that is "not quite right" in my life. i am on the path, some days are better than others and it often feels like three steps back for one step forward, but i believe self love is the answer. thank you for sharing your heart….namaste

  9. Jen says:

    Bravo! We all tend to hide in our darkest moments, or not necessarily share them. And yet, much of it is a truly human experience, and one that we all share. Thank you for your honesty and your inspiration. Namaste

  10. Such an inspiring story, Helene! Sorry you had to go through all of that. I'm forwarding this to a friend who recently split up with her husband of 13 years + has a 2yo + 10yo. Thanks for sharing. ~Cheers!

  11. helene_rose says:

    My heart is warmed and I am humbled knowing that sharing the words of my heart has been helpful to those also on the path.

  12. […] When I was in my mid-20s I felt a call to motherhood as well. I just graduating from engineering school, had taken my first job and was making an excellent salary. I did not enjoy the work that I was doing and had always wanted to be a mother. I love babies! My heart was saying babies, but my head was saying career. At the time, I choose to follow my head – to establish my career. As my readers know, it has been a healing process for me to choose to follow my heart. […]

  13. […] which allows us to embrace the past that has shaped our experience while empowering us to choose who we are in each […]

  14. catnipkiss says:

    When I became a single mother, I wished my kids were little. True, they are more demanding then, but they also love you beyond reason, love spending time with you, and trust you. My kids were eleven and thirteen years old, and that was so difficult I didn't know how I would do it. But, one day at a time, I did. I admire your tenacity and strength. Blessings to you and your children!

  15. […] not that I was ugly necessarily. It’s just that I wasn’t special. On this particular trip to see Grammy she would coin the phrase that I would embrace as my whole […]

  16. […] was thinking over this quote just the other day, as I pondered over the true meaning of unconditional love. Sometimes, these much bigger thoughts poke their way through to my much smaller spiritual head. I […]

  17. deanna says:

    Wow you are such an inspiration! Reading this made me scared silly about all the changes you made in such a short span, but for the past year now I've been wallowing and stuck and lost because I'm afraid to take some similar 'leaps.' Thank you for showing me it can be done!

  18. Johnc639 says:

    Very well written article. It will be helpful to anyone who usess it, as well as yours truly daeebedgegbc

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.