Love is a funny thing. It’s normally something you associate with sharing with another, but what about the love you feel with yourself?
Loving myself was something I found incomprehensible when I was in my eating disorder. I was full of hurt and self loathing. I was trying to destroy myself; there was not an ounce of love for me. I am by nature a very loving person, but I’m not sure that until I reached recovery, I was fully able to feel it deep in my core.
The words “I love you” are often said so casually that often feel as if they have been devalued. I have myself said them in a rush or to a friend without really acknowledging the depth of the words. To tell someone you love them is huge thing, not a flippant comment to be said lightly. It’s only now in recovery that I really understand the true value of receiving and giving love. I feel it in every crevice of me. It’s not something I can even describe in words, it’s a ‘feeling.’ That feeling was completely numb to me when I was ill. I was unable to connect with myself, let alone another.
It’s not that I now look in the mirror every day ‘bigging’ myself up, but I also don’t look in the mirror and berate myself for who I am or what I am not. It’s been a slow journey but little by little I have grown to accept myself and others. Appreciate the good and the bad. Believe that I deserve to take up space just as much as the next person. Have the courage to speak up and use my voice. Demonstrate humility to own up and admit when I may have caused another hurt.
I have not only learnt to fall in love with another, with myself, but also life. Days, months and years passed me by. Life was just one big torment. Battling with mental illness makes living hard work. Being in recovery makes life easy. I have learnt to be my own friend; my own hero. I can pick myself up on the days when I feel it’s all too much. I don’t punish myself, and instead I show myself some love and kindness. It’s only since I have learnt to fall in love with myself that I have been open to receiving love from other people. I allow myself to be loved without the fear of ‘what if.’ I can trust and let go of what may or may never happen and embrace the here and now.
Love is wondrous, it’s curious thing, it’s explosive, and unconditional. It means different things to different people, and feels different for everyone. Only YOU know when you you’ve got it, because it will wash over your soul uncontrollably. So go out there and start to champion yourself. Build the inner-confidence to know that you can rely on you. Love others as you hope to be loved…with every part of your being.