My brother-in-law sent me this photo today (photo below). He found it in a box of my dad’s things. It’s me some time in the early 90s at the library where my mom worked.
The older I get, the more I try to embrace and embody this part of myself.
Somewhere along the line, I learned it wasn’t okay to be her.
Her clothes didn’t match, she was silly and ridiculous, she spoke her mind, and according to my grandma, she wasn’t “lady-like.”
There was pressure to “fit-in” to my family, with peers, with society, etc., and I learned not only to silence this part of myself, but to hate her.
In my late teens and 20s, I was very depressed and anxious; I felt like there was something “wrong with me.”
I had journals FILLED with negative self-dialog. I often wrote things like, “I hate myself. I’m disgusting. I’m fat. I’m ugly. I wish I would die, etc.”
Over the last 15 years, I have looked within and unraveled (and continue to unravel) a lot of these patterns.
I have learned (and continue to learn) how to be more gentle with myself.
While learning about myself, I have observed that many people take on similar types of unconscious wounds and self-abuse patterns.
It has been very healing for me to recognize these patterns within myself and to cultivate an understanding of them.
Understanding has inspired self-love and appreciation within me.
I share my experience in the hope that it inspires you to cultivate understanding and self-love, too.
You deserve to be loved and appreciated.
We often seek love outside of ourselves (from parents, partners, co-workers, etc), but it must come from within.
Each of us is unique and we have beautiful gifts to offer the world.
When you love yourself and are gentle with yourself, you allow those unique qualities and talents to fully blossom.
And when you truly love yourself, you find deeper levels of love, understanding, and appreciation for all of mankind. 💜
If you read this whole thing, thank you. I hope it inspires you to be kind to yourself. 🙏💗🙏
Journal Prompts: (You can answer in the comments, or somewhere privately for yourself.)
Can you relate to this experience of silencing part of yourself to fit in? What part(s) did you silence?
Are there any criticisms that you internalized from parents/peers/etc.?
What are some of the negative things that you say to/about yourself?
What are some ways that you can be kinder to yourself?
These are a few of my favorite self-love quotes:
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” — Christine Arylo
“There’s nothing more important on our spiritual path than developing gentleness to oneself.” - Pema Chodron
Do you think self-love is selfish?
Take a moment to read this blog: https://www.livinglovewithlaura.com/post/self-love-vs-selfishness
I hope it inspires you to see the value and importance of truly loving yourself. 💗
May you always feel the LOVE that surrounds you. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜