Self-love is a concept I never contemplated until after my divorce. It didn’t occur to me that caring for or about myself was important in any way. I spent my entire life up to that point caring for other people, hoping that by doing so I would earn their love. I truly believed this was the way to feel loved.
All my life I felt inferior. I felt less than others. I felt unloved.
I’m not “cool.”
I’m not good enough.
Other people matter more.
I grew up with these labels and believed it was wrong to put my desires ahead of other’s, that it was selfish to want what I didn’t already have. When I had money, which wasn’t often, I would use it to buy ice cream for my “friends” or presents for my sister. I wanted them to have everything they wanted, hoping that by giving to them they would love me in return.
When I started reading about happiness and what it takes to truly feel happy the concept of self-love came up again and again. At first it made me uncomfortable. It went against everything I had done my entire life. Take time for me? Treat myself with compassion?
I didn’t even know how to begin.
The past six years have been turbulent, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. They have been years of tremendous personal growth and the idea of self-love is no longer a new one. I am learning to balance my needs with those of others. I have learned to take time for myself without feeling guilty.
And yet I listened to a guided meditation the other day that made me realize perhaps I haven’t come as far as I need to. The meditation is called “I love you; I’m listening.” During the mediation you’re instructed to repeat these words aloud to yourself. The first time I did it, it brought tears to my eyes. It was in that moment that I realized that even as far as I’ve come, I’ve never stopped to actually feel and acknowledge self-love.
Have you ever said the words, “I love you” to the one person who needs to hear them the most?
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Narcissim