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Self-love, improvement, growth, crossing to the other side.
Call it what you want, we’re all on this journey. Whether we work on our self-love when we’re single, within a relationship, on an island, at home, or after a divorce, the work is there, 24/7.
But we don’t get to notice our improvements in a day or two. Growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it surely doesn’t come with a prior notice. The only way we can spot change is through fleeting “aha” moments.
When something familiar happens and we don’t react the same way we did in the past, this is when we pause and realize that our self-love journey is yielding positive results.
I’ve been having a bunch of “aha” moments lately with an infinite gratitude to all the bad days I had in the past. If it weren’t for the mistakes, the tears, the stubbornness, the pain, and all it encompasses, I wouldn’t be congratulating myself today for loving my patient, imperfect, deserving badass self.
Here are some signs that tell us we’re on the right path:
Suddenly, you know what you deserve.
I’ve always struggled with this. I know what I wanted, but somehow, I settled for so much less. I accepted manipulative friends, stayed with emotionally unavailable men, and took jobs I didn’t need. Now, the “no” comes natural to me. I no longer struggle to decline, leave, or show others how I want to be treated.
“No” becomes your best friend.
When we lack self-love, we struggle to say “no” to people. We try hard to make everyone happy and forget about ourselves. Personally, I’ve proudly switched from a constant people-pleaser to a balanced self-pleaser. I give what I can, but I won’t go above and beyond to please someone while stepping over my own comfort.
You fill up your own love tank.
My love tank was never full in the past. With all too many sources, it was never sufficient. It took me so long to realize that everything outside me can be quite disappointing and unreliable. But now I understand that I should enjoy whatever comes my way, instead of using it as a means to fill up my love tank. I’ll do the filling, you can sit and watch, or drink from it.
You relinquish self-judgment.
Never before have I congratulated myself for crying, being angry, or momentarily depressed. Because I respect and love myself, I respect every single emotion that comes out of my being. It’s all part of the journey. Loving myself only at my best is the worst thing I could ever do. I love “me” in all my states, especially at my worst.
You understand impermanence.
To love ourselves, but to expect to live on indefinitely would be contradictory. I’ve finally come to terms with my own annihilation. All this self-love, reverence, worth, and growth will one day cease, and I’m okay with that. My inner work is for now, not for next month, not for 10 years later. One never knows what happens. The bigger part of living is to accept the part of dying.
People stop being your source of emotional unloading.
That’s right. You no longer blame your partner, lash out at your colleague, fight with your dad, or consider yourself the unluckiest, most victimized person on Earth. Self-love is the ability to hold ourselves accountable when we’re wrong, without feeling guilty, and at the same time, develop empathy and understanding toward others. It goes the other way round as well.
The list goes on, and our self-love journey never ends. We could have a good day today, and a bad one tomorrow. What matters is to embrace whatever comes our way and be grateful for every single atom the universe throws at us.