It took so much more than that. Trying to manage the perfect ideal of health every single day is just setting yourself up for failure. Learning to understand your own emotions and slow down a bit is a great start toward rebuilding your relationship with yourself. What it really took was: 1. Forgiveness, 2. Patience, and 3.Time. Change rarely occurs overnight, which is why time and patience was so key to my own journey of self love.
For me, it was almost like ‘re-meeting myself’. We spend our entire lives inside our own bodies and minds, but how much do we really spend acknowledging our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences? If you have done some self work, you might have heard of the ‘inner child’. The inner child is our younger self stored within us, including our knowledge and experiences before hitting puberty, often viewed as a ‘semi-independent subpersonality subordinate to the waking conscious mind.’ When embarking on a self-healing journey, you should speak to the inner child and acknowledge whatever they are feeling along with whatever you are feeling.
Confused? You’re not alone. Here, let me give an example: You’re upset that your friends are out having a good time without you. While you feel upset about missing out on fun and experiences with friends, your inner child needs to be acknowledged. Your inner child is upset at feeling rejected by not being included, wondering “why didn’t anyone ask me to join?” They might even be angry (i.e, “I always include others but end up getting left out!”).
When we acknowledge what our inner child is feeling, we begin to understand our current emotions and why we react the way we do. So when I began to re-meet myself, I took the time to speak with my inner child when I was feeling more intense emotions that I did not understand. Now, I did not do this with all of the emotions I felt. Some feelings passed quicker than others, some had more weight and lingered around a while. This is where patience came in handy; along with some bitter honesty. When we want to find the root cause of our emotions and reactions, we have to be honest in why we are really feeling the way we are. With speaking to our inner child, we are allowed to forgive ourselves for not giving them what they needed when younger, while moving forward to bring them what they need now.
If this still seems a bit abstract, that’s totally normal. Healing and self-love are confusing, to say the least. Let’s dive into the specifics, and hopefully you can start on your personal journey.1. Forgiveness
After confronting my inner child, and acknowledging their needs, I had to learn to forgive myself for a lot of things. When you decide to work on yourself, you are going to experience a variety of moments that might trigger an instant reaction. You might wish that you responded in a different way to an argument, or avoided a situation, or even wish that you had stood up for yourself sooner. Forgiveness allows you to accept your past actions, understand how it affects you in the present, and take action to change the future. While your past doesn’t define your future, it does impact it. Forgiveness allows you to accept your past self while growing into your future self. Forgiveness allows the weight of past burdens to fall off your shoulders and let them sink down into the reality you have now. Forgiveness allows you to see who you were and who you can be if you just listen.2. Patience
It can be one of the hardest virtues to master. When it comes to loving life, why would anyone want to wait? Like with any journey, self-love is not a quick one. Or at least not for everyone. Patience came over time after sitting with my decisions and seeing them through. With patience, I was able to mold my control in various aspects of my life. It gave me the skill I needed to respond to any situation. No longer was I hijacked by emotional states of mind, but rather given the opportunity to work through it without a deadline.3. Time
As cliché as it sounds, it took time. It's still taking time. Time to work through experiences I've had, time to relearn self-care, time to practice the new intentions I set for myself. Time may not heal all wounds, but it gives you the ability to reflect and grow. Time forced me to sit with past memories and current feelings in a way that I had never allowed myself to before. Time in and of itself was healing for me as I moved forward in life with all ahead of me. I began a self-love journey, and with each passing day, I was a little more successful than the last.
You are not alone if you are on this journey. Or restarting it for the tenth time. Self-love is ongoing, just like any relationship. You put in the time and effort because it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Life can be difficult at times for any number of reasons, but one thing that stays constant is you. You will always be there for yourself, whether you like it or not. Loving yourself just makes it all just a tad easier (and more enjoyable). Like I did, you will get there too. If you haven’t heard it today, I believe in you and I love you. Keep your head up!
Written by: Emily Schwerdtfeger