Today’s client came because she was having a tough time going through a particularly challenging divorce and the stress was making her unwell.
We’re 6 sessions into a block of 9. Each one has been peeling back a layer of ineffective coping mechanisms that has enabled her to survive with the resources she had but has also kept her stuck and caused her much pain.
Today we hit the bottom of the biggest unravelling of all – the question of “Do I love me?”
Without love you’ll never do the necessary work to survive, you’d give up and let circumstances take you.
She quite readily admitted she’d grown up in a loveless environment and had spent her whole adult life seeking love outside of her Self. It had never occurred to her whether she loved her Self or not.
I’ve sent her off with the homework to go discover whether she does or not.
Sometimes we’ve taken on so many ideas and beliefs from others it’s easy to come to the conclusion we’re unlovable, especially if it happened early in life. Knowing no better we simply copy the behaviours of those around us.
We treat ourselves with the same contempt, criticism, indifference and ingratitude we are familiar with from our childhood. It’s not that are parents were bad people, it’s just they didn’t know how important it was to love things as they were, choosing instead to focus on us getting a good education, excelling at a musical instrument or sport or getting a well paid job. These are worthy things, but unsustainable sources of love without a strong foundation of Self Love.
Self Love helps you to make decisions in your best interest rather than in the interest of the people around you.
To healthy people Self Love makes you very attractive and someone people like to be around.
However, Self Love doesn’t always make you popular. Sometimes, if we are surrounded by people that rely on us for their sense of identity, then our Self Love would be very threatening to them, because you might leave them – and then they would have to experience deal with the emptiness they experience because they don’t love themselves either. These people can have devious and manipulative ways to get you to stay. They make it out you are as free as a bird to do what you like, but you are not. They use tactics as feining illness, guilt or criticism to make you feel inadequate or to show you how much your behaviour hurts and harms them.
Don’t be fooled! The most loving thing we can do is this situation is lead the way on role modelling Self Love.
Self Love seeks life enriching experiences and life enriching company. Self love tells people no and sets boundaries. Self Love listens to your instincts and champions being your own biggest advocate. Self Love listens to you own inner voice more than those of others. Self Love knows when to stop and when you are being too easy on yourself. Finally, Self Love knows you are worthy and never gives up on you.
At the end of the day the truth is, to get by in life, Self Love is all you have.