How do we learn to love ourselves again?
I say “again,” because we don’t start life with negative feelings about ourselves.
In the beginning, we are happy and filled with love for everyone and everything—especially ourselves. The feelings of acrimony are learned over time.
A lot of unpleasant things happen throughout our lives that create insecurity and self-doubt. Sometimes terrible things happen to us in our childhood that have the potential to completely derail our lives. Children are resilient and capable of moving forward despite trauma.
It isn’t until we are older that we truly grasp the effect that childhood events have on us. Even though we had no control over the situation, we still feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment.
In young adulthood, we are not prepared to deal with the damage. We engage in self-destructive behaviors in an attempt to numb ourselves from the overwhelming emotions that we are not equipped to handle. We blast music, experiment with drugs, and drown ourselves in alcohol because it’s “fun,” right?
Sometimes it’s just an escape from reality. It’s a temporary solution to a problem that isn’t going to go away on its own. We ultimately just make everything worse.
People with unhealed wounds attract unhealthy relationships. We lose ourselves somewhere along the way. If you’re strong, you’ll claw your way back up out of the hole you’ve put yourself in and fight for your life. Unfortunately, we often have to hit rock-bottom before we are willing to do the difficult work of facing our issues and begin the healing process.
So, how do you heal?
First, you let yourself feel everything you’ve been avoiding for the majority of your life. Let all of those emotions wash over you. Feel all of the anger, the pain, and the sadness. It’s scary, but a necessary step to heal all the damage.
Give yourself time. Allow it to knock you down if you must, but don’t pack up and live there. You have to get back up. Remind yourself that you’re a f*cking survivor—not a victim.
Forgive the people who tried to shatter you. Not for them, but for you. Forgive yourself for everything you put yourself through.
Own your part in the decisions that you made while you were broken. All of it wasn’t your fault, but some of it was. Admit that you made some bad choices. Forgive yourself for being toxic to other people. Maybe even reach out and apologize to some who you have hurt along the way. Hopefully, they’ll forgive you too.
Then, you let it all go. You move on.
Release all the sh*t that’s been weighing you down, and let yourself become the person you were always meant to be. Learn from it all, and grow.
Put your energy into something that brings you happiness.
Change your mindset.
Remember that everything that happens in life is a lesson. Bad things happen in order to teach us something—to strengthen us and prepare us for the next level of this life.
As you heal and grow, try to find a way to help others. Transform your suffering into something good.
Realize that the healing process never really ends, and it’s okay to be a work in progress. Things will trigger you; you may take a few steps back.
Just don’t ever give up.
Trust the process, and fall in love with the journey.