I think it’s safe to say that we that there is a “self-love” trend happening in which people are seeking wholeness for themselves by themselves. There is most certainly a positive connotation behind this as many of us are looking to making a change from the martyr mentality and hopeless devotion that we might have found ourselves programmed for in the past. I can relate. For decades, I slipped into false romances in which I was giving way more than what I was receiving and calling it love. Suppressing my true feelings and thoughts became the default as I quietly imploded into a depressed messed. Likely conditioned by my father’s unexplained absence and the dealings of my mother’s trauma, pouring my all into the efforts to be enough for others became a part of my identity. Needless to say, that didn’t last but there were noticeable moments in which that elevation started to turn southeast.
I, like so many of us now, began to awaken and see a better way to live. I, thankfully, had the help of pretty amazing friends, family, and my now husband; not to mention the endless motivational social media quotes and hashtags. However, as I became aware of things on a deeper level, I found myself judging people that did not. In criticizing their ignorance and immaturity, I was inadvertently displaying my own. My ego got in the way of me living the liberated life I really wanted. I separated myself and those who understand true love and compassion know separation is a major contradiction to that. We cannot fully love ourselves if we fail to love others for we are all the same and have been in the same shoes at some point in some way. When we forget this, we take steps backwards. The only way to continue to grow is to heal by way of forgiveness.
Truth be told, the hardest time I’ve had and still have are with my family. It’s difficult to forget where they fell short when I needed them the most and how much it hurt. In the short-term, it’s easier to be self-righteous in my resentment but the best thing I can do is realize where they are and love them there. Yes, even when they are not apologetic. Taking the steps to forgive are some of the hardest but probably the most loving thing you can do for yourself. Forgiveness bumps the ego out of the way. Long-term, forgiveness creates a space for us to learn the hard lessons in the sorrow of it all while developing compassion for others and therefore ourselves. This means that we can develop discernment and know when and how to act in a way that is best for us without carrying deadly hatred and fear in our being.
We cannot not properly conduct self love with hearts full hatred as it will inevitably backfire and manifest in everything we produce. Instead, we can acknowledge our pain and accept our perpetrators for where they are, even if we need to leave them there.