Self Love or Nah
Over the years, self love has become an ongoing part of what I like to call a self discovering journey (future post wink wink). Self love is extremely fluid and such a must to grow as a person. It wasn’t until I hit my ultimate breaking point that I truly realized the power of self love. I was 28 years old and in therapy working on healing the scars of my past trauma. I was also in graduate school having the time of my life, learning about myself, and meeting so many people. But there was also a part of me that felt different. And I couldn’t put a finger on it. I started seeing a therapist through the student counseling center and it was the best decision I had ever made besides becoming a Steelers fan (yes…I anticipate losing some followers and no I am not proud of them this season). For any social science major, we are all too familiar with the Stages of Grief by David Kessler and how people experience this after the loss of a loved one. Little did I know that I would be experiencing these stages while making peace with what had happened to me and forgiving the abuser who inflicted such pain. When I tell you it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do…maaaaaaan was it ever! But one thing that stuck with me (thanks to my wonderful therapist) was that the strongest people face their fears and face gut wrenching emotions…the weak choose to keep suppressing.
Mind. Blown. Man did I feel like a new woman. A conflicted one but nonetheless liberated. As a Latina I was always taught that Hispanic women who were strong, stood up for themselves and their families, and for lack of a better explanation, didn’t have time to show emotions because it made us weak. I am here to tell you that this could not be farther from the truth. Now am I saying not to listen to the wise words of your Abuelita Consuela or Tia Mirna? Gosh no! What I’m saying is that it’s time to look at life a little differently (please send my apologies to your Tia Mirna and Abuelita Consuela…I don’t want cinchasos…butt whooping for my non Spanish speaking folks).
Think about it…feeling sad, disappointed, or angry aren’t exactly the best feelings in the world. I doubt anyone wakes up saying, “I can’t wait to hate myself and cry to sleep later!” The truth is, it becomes easier to just brush these feelings aside and conquer the day with keeping busy and not really understanding where these emotions come from. This is especially true for my trauma survivors. We fought so hard to survive our trauma that we became pros at burying feelings or manifesting them in not so positive ways. The truth is, when you actually take a look inside, face these demons, and really deal with what has been holding you back, you become unstoppable. Now is it going to be the scariest thing on the face of this planet? Um…..yeah!!!!
But facing the not so comfortable thoughts and emotions helps you realize the self love you have within. The strong nature to be an advocate for yourself and no longer be controlled by your emotions. The right to take yourself out on a date, surround yourself with amazing friends, and have well deserved me time. Forgiving yourself for making mistakes, for cutting your hair shorter than you wanted, and telling yourself every morning how awesome you are. More importantly, you grow an understanding of your emotions, your worth, and really learn to acknowledge these feelings versus fighting them because the reality is…we as humans will always feel. Acknowledging doesn’t make your trauma or funky emotions less important or okay. It’s more so a way of saying, “hey I know you are there, I have my eye on you, and I will sit with you but you can’t control me”.
So feel what you need to feel, face your fears, do something for you, and remember that fear never physically stops you from conquering it, it just wants you to believe it can. It’s fake, it ain’t loyal, and self love will make you rise above. So ways to feel self love:
- Meditate – have some quiet time and either focus on one powerful word or phrase for 5 minutes.
- Affirmations – start your day with a powerful quote or pump yourself up by saying your a powerful warrior princess (okay that was a previous client’s one and she was 9 lol)
- Get your nails or hair did…enough said!
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Read a good book or watch a great movie
- Set boundaries and DO NOT be afraid to say no…the world will not end I promise
- Celebrate every victory – big or small – I got to work on time today….freakin party!!!
- Take time outs when you need them – not just for kiddos
- Focus on what has gone RIGHT in your life
- Forgive yourself….repeat after me…I am human