“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
― Andre Gide, Autumn Leaves
Let’s take a little step back and dip our toes into the fountain of self-love. Loving yourself is the biggest challenge you will ever face. It is the root of our well-being and the fountain of our confidence and self-worth. Love is like a little mound of clay, it needs to be twisted and turned, kneaded, pushed and pulled and finally smoothed and moulded. If we don’t go through the process of softening and working out the clay, the end effect won’t amount to much. It won’t have a stable structure and foundation for us to build upon and shape. Be like Pygmalion and fall in love with the statue you carved of yourself.
Learning to love yourself is the hardest but, by far the most fulfilling love you will ever have the joy of experiencing. Self-love is not easy to come by and has to be learnt and practised daily. It took me years and years, (literally 29 of them) to understand the language of love. Especially the root of all love, which is loving yourself first before anyone else.
I had spent my whole life trying to grasp and keep the love of others, without truly loving myself for myself. I had turmoil with my self-image, catastrophic and harmful relationships and was surrounded by energy leeches. I couldn’t understand why it was always me. Why everything seemed ill fitted, like D cups in an C cup bra. It was as if I was set up to fail. But of course, I was! I had little to no self-love or self-worth, it was preposterous for me to expect people to show me this high level of love I wasn’t showing myself. I had abusive, controlling and loveless relationships, always wondering why I couldn’t find ‘the one’ or why doesn’t anyone love me. Self-pity it’s a terrible attribute and a vicious circle if you get caught up in it. I found myself always looking for a scapegoat to my love problems, but there was a silver lining. I decided after my final diabolical relationship that I was going to focus on Moi! As they say; how can you expect to love others when you can’t even love yourself? It was Soozy Floozy time and I was coming in like a tornado.
I started to treat and listen to myself. Not just in the usual manner of buying myself the things I was lacking, doing things I was told I wasn’t allowed to do or listening to my gut saying eat the cake! Which I did and it was divine. I mean chocolate Oreo cake how could it not be! Nope, I tapped into my own language of self-love. I decided first to look at how I felt when around the people I had surrounded myself with. This defines a lot of the emotions we feel, affecting our way of thinking. Don’t surround yourself with people who disrespect you, put you down or tell you that you can’t do something! Feel the vibes my emotional empaths, listen to the emotional quality and atmosphere people are giving you. Ever walked into a room and felt a change, as if something just isn’t right? Vibes and atmosphere. Listen closely to your soul language and intuition, it’s never wrong, trust yourself. If you feel offish about someone, maybe you can’t put your finger on something about them or you just get a gut feeling that you don’t like them. Goodbye! You don’t need that killing your good vibes my friends.
Who you choose to surround yourself with tells you a lot about where you are and where you will go in your future! Pick wisely, you can cleanse friends, family (yes family), social media, your room, your kitchen cupboards, cleanse your soul. Rid yourself of the stuffy, clustered, counterproductive areas and have a beaming, advantageous, joyful space to which you can develop. Look for the people who you are happiest around. Those who enlighten you, lift you up even when you don’t ask. Look for people who understand or try to understand you and for those who most definitely don’t judge you. You will not find self-love in a judgemental environment.
I then learnt to understand my achievements and also confront my faults. I learnt to accept myself for myself. I also stumbled upon movements such as, I_weigh movement by Jameel or podcasts by Jay Shetty. This man is a legend! He possess a tender, soft and one of the kindest, most understanding voices I have ever heard. Except for Sir Attenbourgh, because I mean that man is a god. But anyhow, learning to understand our self-love language can truly change your outlook upon the world. I developed a better understanding of people’s reactions; learnt to be kinder and more forgiving, when I saw people lacked what I had found. Love within myself. I grew to understand that I needed different people to give me different types of love.
Did you know, the Greeks have seven different words to represent the different forms of love! I’ve never heard more truth be spoken than in that one sentences. SEVEN! We need all of them to flourish.
Eros; erotic love. Need I explain this?
Ludus; child-like, playful love. The love you’ll find in family and friends.
Philia; sincere and platonic love. Connecting easily with someone.
Pragma; standing in love. A love built over time. Like the love between Nan and Grandad or my love of Oreos.
Agape; Selfless love. Finding beauty in life through love. Giving and not needing to receive.
Philauti: Love of the self. Negative; using others to excel, positive; union, helping each other.
Storge; love of the child. A parent’s love.
We will have experienced some or all of these loves within our life. Notice any you are lacking? All these types are needed and all are provided by different people in our lives. Love is built within ones self-first, then sought out within a community. We should not depend on one person to provide all the love we desire. Love is the hardest thing to lose, but the greatest thing to find. Flowers don’t look at other flowers and think I wish I was that beautiful, they simply grow. So, take a moment to look around, see what love you have already within your life and within your soul. Then realise that it’s okay to not have them all, I mean seven is a lot of loving. But a lot of loving you deserve, don’t deprive yourself. Remember the old saying, do what you love? Go try it. Spread the love.