When I was a teenager, self-love was not something I thought about very much. I don’t think I grasped the concept. I remember one day, being alone in my room and cutting myself on the breast to punish me for hurting a boy who was in love with me. I was not able to receive love, so I hurt the ones who offered it to me. I did not like myself very much. So I hurt myself.
I think I started my self-love journey the day I asked for help at a local health clinic. Where I live, you are able to receive free psychological help and I went and asked for a counselor. At that time, I was drinking heavily and smoking weed to numb my angst. I was referred to a center for young addicts here in Montreal. The first step to getting help was to stop using.
I think that taking the decision to quit drinking and using drugs was the first step towards self-love, although I was far from achieving it.
Later in life, I went back into therapy to heal the wounds of sexual abuse. My therapist quickly realized that my feeling of self-worth was directly tied to my professional success. Work was the only area in my life where I felt my competence and my worth. My self-worth was a house of cards, and without professional success, I was nothing. It had to change.
I went on a soul-searching journey in the deep ends of myself, searching for my self-worth. With the help of my therapist and my life coach, I figured out that I was taking care of myself, of my health, of my wellbeing. It should mean that I felt love for myself! This was a true revelation. I did not feel self-love, but I was acting as a self-loving person.
I’ve already written on this blog that I believe happiness is a choice. My coach told me that self-worth was just the same. I could choose that I was worthy. And so I did. That moment, that choice, changed my entire life.
Now, I will not pretend that self-love is easy now that I’ve made that choice. No. Self-love, just like happiness, is a constant struggle. I have to perform acts of self-love on a regular basis, reframe my inner narrative when I am hard on myself, let go of perfectionism and of my need of control. That is what I am working on at the moment. To learn to accept my imperfections and appreciate my strengths as a whole. Like the two perfect sides of my being.
Why am I telling you all this? A great lady that I admire, Kelly-Ann Maddox, hosts an event on her blog and Youtube channel each year called Self-love September. This year, she asked her subscribers to share their own stories of self-love and I thought that it would resonate with my audience. Self-love and happiness are closely tied, don’t you think?
Now is your turn. I invite you to share your own self-love stories. On your blog, on your Facebook page, in the comments below, using the hashtag #selflovestories. Share with the world how you see self-love, how you work towards it, your struggles, your successes, inspire your community to embrace their beings and to love themselves. The world will thank you for it.
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