There is a lot of self-development talk around the notion of self love. But many people react to this with resistance, confusion or even fear. “What does that even mean?” they will ask. “I don’t even know what that is!” they lament. You can’t self-medicate with something you can’t identify or define … if you don’t have a sense of ever having been loved well then self-love will of course feel scary.
When you’re not loved for the one you are; when you are not welcomed to the world nor loved unconditionally, it’s an act of abuse. If you can’t recognise love, or if you’ve been told what you’ve been shown is love when the reality is it hurts like f*ck! then this abuse is mistaken for an act of love. When, added to that, you have been verbally and/or physically abused — when the cues from your primary caregiver in no way meet your needs — the very reliance on love will in fact become a reliance on self harm. In fact many adults add to childhood abuse by self-harming in an attempt to replicate what they were taught was love because of the new age idea that you will only self-develop through self-love.
Don’t force self love. It may never come. Don’t even force self acceptance. Just observe … that’s enough. Don’t try figure it all out. Just be … who you are. And in the observations, see the fragments of your child self that make you smile, that open your heart, that fill you up … and then patch them into your current reality of who you are today. When the pieces come together, as surely they will, the peace will come.
Love may always be an elusive intangible thing so create that which brings you integration.
How do you feel now?
How you would like to feel?
What’s getting in the way of the ideal you?
How you can go about getting through the obstacles you can and accepting the ones you can’t?