“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small.
My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”
― Kim McMillen
This is one of my favorite quotes because it shows that self-love is not always easy. Self-love often involves a lot of grief. We’re letting go of things we’ve held onto almost our entire lives. While those beliefs and habits might not be healthy – they’re comfortable.
When I loved myself…
I started taking my mental health seriously. I tried everything. EFT. Essential oils and crystals for depression. Supplements and vitamins. Journaling. Mantra. Yoga. Meditation. Exercise. Visualization. DBT. CBT. ACT. Learning different coping skills and how to put them into practice.
I made a promise to myself that I would try as many things as possible to see what worked for me. Eventually, I found what made me feel better, and then I committed myself to those things.
When I loved myself… I stopped being angry.
And I was so angry. For a really long time, my two main emotions were anger and despair and they seemed to follow me around every day.
I was also verbally and emotionally abusive to the people around me. I never learned how to deal with conflict and it showed in the way that I acted toward the people around me. In the beginning I didn’t really see it as abuse. I wasn’t hitting anyone – I was just emotional and dramatic.
Until I learned that emotional abuse was a thing. I remember ticking off everything on a list of what emotional abuse looked like. It was a wake-up call that just because I hadn’t learned differently, or just because my emotions were always so overwhelming – didn’t give me a pass to act that way.
And then my self-care became learning how to manage my anger so that I could truly love the person I was without shame or guilt.
When I loved myself… I gave myself time.
I started slowing down and taking breaks. I began to say no to demands on my time that didn’t fill me up with joy. For so long, I had let myself be pressured or guilted into doing things I didn’t want to do.
And suddenly – I had all of this time for myself. I wasn’t constantly on-call for everyone else and I was finally able to just focus on me.
When I loved myself… I found peace.
For as long as I could remember – there was always something going on. I was having relationship drama, or my anxiety was overwhelming me, or I was angry at a family member or a co-worker. There was always a chaotic emotion at the forefront of my life.
I started meditating and chanting. I looked into al kinds of ancient wisdoms and paths like Tao, Sikhism, Buddhism, and spirituality that focused on finding balance within myself.
When I loved myself – I discovered that I was truly worth loving. Sometimes you’ve got to treat yourself like you are worth loving, even if you don’t feel it because those actions of love break down your barriers eventually.