What is it that causes so many of us to feel unloveable? Makes us think we don’t deserve love? Makes us chase love externally?
We live in a society, where in many cases we have been conditioned to not love ourself. Many can probably remember their teenage years where jealousies, criticism and passive or aggressive bullying took place. If you were attractive and/or confident in your abilities with things you were deemed “up yourself”. If you were shy but smart or gifted, you were deemed “up yourself”. When you are valued by the way you look, how smart you are, perhaps good at sport or popular, insecurities start to build. We start to equate love from external validation.
Added to the beliefs we develop as a child and taking on perhaps harsh words, criticism, our perception of how others act towards us and feel about us, can often lead us to some voids forming within us, which continue to grow when left unhealed. When unaware of these voids and wounds and what they have done to beliefs and our way of thinking, we grow into adults who lack self love. Looking around I would say there’s a good majority of people who do not love themselves and they never will until they face their darkness and begin the process of healing.
You may think there’s a lot of overly confident people out there with big egos and they must love themselves right?! And I would respond with these people love themselves the least because that ego is there to protect them and these people equate validation, compliments, popularity and a host of other external things for love and happiness. The bigger the ego= the least amount of real confidence and self esteem and a true lack of self love.
Self love is not always easy because it requires a level of f*cking honesty and hard-work to get there and some are unaware of what is required and others just do not want to face it. My journey of self love has been a process and there have been people who have come into my life over the past few years that have provided both beautiful blessings and brutal lessons, which was the catalyst for my inner work. I have had growth and done inner work over the years but nothing like the last few years. For those of you who know of “the dark night of the soul”– this is how I would describe it. It’s been one hell of a ride and I still have much to learn and I know my transformation is still in progress because we never stop growing.
So how do we heal and learn to embrace who we are and love ourselves? Firstly we need to stop filling our voids externally. Relationships, more money, more friends, popularity, bigger houses, better cars, alcohol, drugs and whatever else we as humans use. More money, a bigger house and an attractive partner may make you feel good temporarily but it’s never going to fill the voids within you and make you happy.
Secondly we need to get real with ourselves. We need to go within and understand what our voids are and what caused them. What are we lacking in ourselves to make us look for love outside of ourselves? This is not easy and healing the wounds to fill our inner voids is hard work and it requires you to be fully authentic. It requires you to open up and speak your truth. It requires you to admit to anything you are hiding-hiding from yourself and hiding from others. You can never love yourself if you are lying to yourself or those that you say you love.
Secrets will destroy you because we will never respect ourselves and can never be a genuine person if part of us is hidden. I have done this and it was f*cking hard but holding a secret may protect another from being hurt but if we are truthful with ourself that is not the reason we keep it! We keep it because the ramifications of revealing the truth could affect us greatly BUT if we really love ourselves and the other person, we need to speak the truth. I would rather be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie. This is the only way you can ever really transform yourself. Genuinely heal and love yourself. If you don’t love and respect yourself, you can never really love and respect another.
What happens when we don’t love ourself? We hurt ourselves and/or others. We make poor choices. We project our insecurities onto others. We blame others for our less than admiral behaviour. We look for love from others that we should be giving to ourselves. We stay in relationships and places that we shouldn’t. Some develop huge circles of friends equating this to being a good person. We all want to be liked but sadly it doesn’t matter how many friends you think you have, if you hide parts of yourself from them, wear a mask and can’t speak your truth and be completely honest for fear of judgement, then how good are your friends? Again it’s searching outside of ourselves for what we lack on this inside.
For me, I believe that once you face your shadows and start the healing process, your self belief and love increases. With this you have have a burning desire to be completely authentic and genuine and start to see the facade so many people live and the masks so many wear to hide who they truly are. But you learn acceptance because everyone is on their own journey and will either come to the awakening or they won’t.
Next it was the facing up to any mistakes I had made and anyone I had hurt, whether I thought it was justified or not. The saying “the truth will set you free” is 100% accurate! I am of the belief that people have the right to know the truth, even if its painful and what they choose to then do with it, is their choice. In the same way I have asked for the truth and gone on the journey of forgiveness-forgiving others and myself. Anything we keep hidden in ourselves is essentially a ticking time bomb and will explode in one way or another at some point. For me releasing anything that caused me pain, a lack of self respect and self love was a necessity. Facing up to mistakes, I have learnt takes a lot of courage but it also is a clear barometer in how far you have come on your journey of growth.
As I have mentioned in other blogs meditation has been essential in my healing and path to self love but I really am of the opinion you CANNOT fully heal the wounds within you without help and for me hypnotherapy was what really helped me. I know I have said it many times but transformation is not something that happens quickly and it isn’t easy, what is quick and easy though, is bypassing the real work. Believing you have really transformed happens to a lot of people when they skirt around the edges of inner work and avoid the tough stuff.
So at 52 I love myself. I love the person I was, the person I am now and the person I am becoming. I love that I face my darkness and own up to my sh*t. I love my vulnerability. I love my caring and generous heart. I love my courage. I love that I have found my purpose and am pursuing it. I love that I do not need or want validation from anyone. I love exactly where I am right now in my life.
I love that I was married for 26 years and had 2 amazing kids and when I knew I was staying in the marriage for the wrong reasons, I was brave enough and strong enough to leave. I love that I have spoken my truth to my ex-husband and have subsequently released the pain and gave him the honesty and forgiveness he needed as well as my heartfelt apology for my mistakes. I love that I have the most incredible relationship with my kids. I love that I have this wonderful tribe of people in my life-that I am completely open with-no secrets-no masks, just pure real and raw friendship and love.
I love that I have all this passion and creativity whirling around inside of me, that I am finally doing something about. I love that I am studying something that inspires me and will result in me helping people. I love that I can look at my body and it’s fit and healthy but also holds the signs of carrying my babies all those years ago. I love that I’m comfortable to wear what I want and be who I am. I love that I crinkles around my eyes and smile lines. I love that I’m unafraid to be my weird, beautiful and messy self and what a liberating feeling it is. I love that I follow my soul and will not settle in life.
Work on yourself. Face your darkness. Speak your truth. Release yourself from anything you have buried. When you start to heal yourself, you start to really love yourself and when you love yourself, you will then discover you need no external validation, you have no need to chase things and you don’t need anyone or anything else to make you happy or fulfil you.
“And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”