“Your art is the master. You need to be the student.”
“Love Thy Self”
Fiction. Based on a True Embracing of Myself
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
What is loving one’s self? How do you show love to yourself? Everyone has a different opinion about it, and everyone tells you that you should love yourself.
No one really talks about the how.
We’re given examples of how to love other people. So wouldn’t those same guidelines apply to ourselves?
Love is patient, so shouldn’t we be patient with ourselves? You know you mess up and fail, so have leniency and show yourself grace that you would show to another.
Love is kind. Kindness towards yourself gives you the capacity to accept those failures and mistakes. It isn’t easy when you’re your own worst critic, but you spend the most time with yourself, so shouldn’t you give yourself caring praise rather than belittling criticism?
It doesn’t envy. Why be envious of others and put that kind of pressure on yourself to strive for a life that isn’t meant for you?
It doesn’t boast and isn’t proud. You can puff yourself up all you like with accomplishments that don’t matter, but in the end, there will be emptiness. Instead, acknowledge what you have done not for the sake of making yourself greater, but to see how far you’ve come and how far you still have to go. False pride leads to disappointments, and the need to always be proving yourself over others. Know what you have done, and be humble in those things, not placing those things above what truly matters in life. Take pride in good work, hard tasks accomplished, and the fact that you have made it to another sunrise.
Rudeness doesn’t exist in perfect love. If you talked to others the way you talk to yourself, would you still be friends with that kind of person? Quit breaking yourself down. Treat yourself the way you would treat your friends.
It isn’t self-seeking. You can do things for yourself, but if those things aren’t meaningful to your growth, it’s just soul-rotting.
It is slow to anger. Learn to have patience with yourself because you are still growing and trying to be the best you that you know how to be. Take it one day at a time, correct what needs to be corrected, but remind yourself that you are a work in progress, a piece of work with cracks that need to be healed and given time.
Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. You know everything you’ve done wrong, even the small embarrassing moments that replay through your head years later. Learn to release them and don’t hold them against yourself. Most likely you are the only one who remembers those things while others have forgotten them. When you can release them, those wrongs lose their power over you.
It protects. Protect your heart. Protect your mind. Protect your body. Seek healing and rest where it is needed. Treat yourself like the temple you are. Some places are more vulnerable than others, especially the parts unseen.
It always trusts. Trust yourself. Learn to listen to the truths that you know rather than the lies you think you know, especially the ones disguised as truths. Trust when you are hurting, trust when you are feeling good, hold fast to the things that keep you grounded because it’s so easy to let things try and take them away from you.
Love always hopes. Instill that hope in your life even when it seems that there is none. Pray and teach yourself to hope again. Look beyond the circumstances to what lies ahead. Hope that tomorrow will be better than what came before it.
Love preserves. Even when the days are rough, even when the nights are long, keep on. The dawn will come. Darkness doesn’t last forever even if it seems that the storm will never end.
And above all, it never fails. You are yourself and nobody else. You define yourself. Even though you grow weary and want to be someone else, you are you. Any great tree has to grow in order to reach the heights it was created to reach. It is long, and it is difficult. There are storms and droughts. Even when it is hard to love yourself, you must. How can you love others if you are devoid of love yourself?