The thing about loving oneself that I’m still learning is how to remind myself what I’m worth. Where is this learned? From trial and error? From books? From the way my loved ones treat me? From my childhood? Maybe an amalgamation of all those things? If you spent most of your life thinking you were unworthy of being loved, not perfect enough, where does that revelation come from?
I can say in all honesty that I do love myself now but five years ago? Eh, not so much. Ten years ago? Definitely not. I was taking baby steps towards self-acceptance but it felt like I was making NO PROGRESS. It’s easier to see how far you’ve come when have something to compare it to. For me, it is a daily commitment to choosing to be healthy, choosing what nourishes me, choosing to be kind to myself like I am to just about every other person on the planet. I falter a lot. I make poor choices out of my own need for attention, drama, validation. I struggle with taking actions that would send mixed messages, give me a (false) sense of control, or skew my focus so that I am distracted from my purpose.
It is an imperfect process but you learn as you go.
Like last night I got lost in West Seattle. It’s a part of town I am not as familiar with and despite having printed directions, I missed my turn off and got turned around to the point where I practically drove back to the beginning to retrace my path to find where I’d missed something. After about forty-five minutes of wrong turns and guesses and map checking, I finally found my destination.
When I thought about it, even though getting lost is very frustrating and one of my testy internal points (along with suffering from low blood sugar, being hurried/late or being told to calm down when I am clearly freaking out- NOT HELPFUL, just some tips), I now know my way better. Next time I am there, I will remember not to turn left on that side street or to take the first exit not the second because it’s more time efficient. Next time, I will know more and make different decisions.
The journey to loving oneself is like that. There are a lot of wrong turns and shortcuts that never work and confusing signs. There are times when you are screaming at nobody out of sheer frustration. There are times when you throw the map and huff, feeling dumb and directionless. There are times when you want to give up because you just can’t figure out the way.
But you keep driving. And eventually find yourself at your destination. . . only to realize you have more road to travel.
And so you set out again but this time with new eyes.
“For all that we struggle/For all we pretend/It don’t come down to nothing/Except love in the end/And ours is a road/That is strewn with goodbyes/But as it unfolds/As it all unwinds/Remember your soul is the one thing/You can’t compromise/Take my hand/We’re gonna go where we can shine…” –Shine, David Gray