Few of us have ever been taught about self-love. It’s not the traditional outlook on empathy; it might even be counter-intuitive. What is it all about?
Only when you appreciate your own value can you show affection and friendship towards others. You’re about to learn how you can love yourself more.
Before you go on reading this post, take a good look at my picture here:
This photo was taken in September 2019, in a small flat in Poplar, London. To be honest, I adore this picture for its post-modernistic dark feel. Often do I treat it as a piece of art. A mediocre one, but still.
See what’s missing there?
Why no smiley face? The explanation is quite easy. I was a sad guy. A little bit of a stiff one, too.
Here comes the plot twist. Now, months later, I am full of love and I want to share it.
This hippie statement is one of my mantras and it helps me set myself on the road I want to follow. Because that’s who I want to be and what I want to do. I want to be happy, smile, laugh, and spread my empathy among the people around, so that they’re lives can be better as well.
Wouldn’t you like the same?
The road to my recovery was through uncharted bushes of facing my inner demons and getting on the right track.
Damn, it sounds pretty dark.
You need to be aware of the fact that getting a grip of yourself is not a piece of cake, but it pays off. An optimistic mindset and people-orientedness will take you to the very top.
You can also try taking control of your negative emotions. Taming that angry animal inside you is another great way to make your life better.
Okay, let’s go back to the demons again.
My parents divorced when I was in middle high school. As you can imagine, it has left its scars on my psyche. It’s actually terrifying how divorces have become a trend in the modern world. Sure, we all support independence and wise decision-making. Staying in an abusive relationship is harmful and can lead to tragedy. Domestic violence is an issue of the utmost gravity and shouldn’t be played down.
If your partner is toxic and uses force, don’t let any vows stop you from setting yourself free.
But, goddammit. Not all of the Generation Xers‘ marriages are full of brutality. In fact, most of them aren’t. As some studies show, economic factors are among the primary causes. Other sites list infidelity, lack of communication, and unrealistic expectations as the top reasons for divorce.
Those are all problems that couples worldwide struggle with and yes, they should be addressed in order to found a solid ground for any family.
What divorce does, however, is produce young people who are unable to love. Let’s get back to my case, and let it be an example.
For years, I muzzled emotions inside me. Full of anger, communication with parents was rough. Often painful. Driven by these strong emotions, I made decisions.
I will never have children.
I will never get married.
I will never be in a relationship.
Those are some serious resolutions. Why so drastic? My explanation was that I didn’t want to risk hurting anybody. And it seemed logical.
What were the results? Did I actually not cause harm to anyone by not taking the risk?
My inability to show affection only caused pain to me and people around me. Partying and French kissing drunk was fun. Flirting was great. Being single, free, and independent was fun. Doing whatever I wanted, with whomever I wanted – all fun.
You know what wasn’t fun?
Seeing people cry because of me wasn’t fun. Watching movies alone late at night wasn’t fun. Being lonely definitely didn’t improve my well-being. Recurring dramas occupied my mind.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t engage in a relationship for a period longer than a month. Subconsciously I didn’t want to. Intuitively, I identified love with trouble.
In hindsight, I’d call it some kind of PTSD, a reaction to all the inner suffering I’ve been through. It wasn’t healthy and it was counterproductive. The attempt to minimize risks lead to maximization of damage.
Epictetus, a Greek stoic philosopher, said that:
We suffer not from the events in our lives but from our judgment about them
Despite all this I understood that my misery wasn’t the system’s, the civilization’s, or even other people’s fault. My own overthinking and self-victimization made me so bitter.
Boy, is it different now. This I say openly: I am full of love and I want to share it. A hippie daydream or an unreal fantasy, call it what you want.
Here’s a guide on how I came to terms with myself, unlocked my emotions, and changed my life. Feel free to follow these steps:
1. Set yourself free
A moment of clarity can be a true liberation. You are not defined by your past. You are not defined by your parents’ past. In fact, nobody’s history determines who you are. Only your own future defines you, and you have the power to change it by acting on it in the present.
Let go of guilt that isn’t yours. Have the serenity to accept the things you can’t change, and the courage to change those that you can.
2. Face your demons
Meditate, create a list, write an essay, or a blog post – whatever you do, see the repercussions of your actions. Come to realize what were the consequences of your thoughts, how they affected you and the people around you.
See your downsides and were they can lead you.
That will give you a clear idea of the person you don’t want to be.
Something to keep at bay.
3. Let love in
Accept the fact that some people are craving to hold you.
Don’t fight yourself and understand that you can feel the urge to have someone you can trust. It’s human and, as far as I’m concerned, you’re a human being.
It doesn’t mean you’re weak and need support to move on.
It doesn’t mean you’re going to only cause pain.
It doesn’t mean you’ll lose grip of your values.
Don’t be afraid to hear ‘I love you.’
4. Let love out
And don’t be afraid to say ‘I love you.’
Yes, these are powerful words. Use them wisely, yet don’t disregard them as dishonest.
Call your dad. Hug your mum. Say it to your little sister before she goes to sleep. Leave a love letter to the person you’re head over heels about. There’s no time to waste!
I believe that these lyrics contain the gist of my message:
If you love somebody
Better tell them why they’re here ’cause
They just may run away from you
Try to make the most out of your potential and then open your arms.
Love yourself and share that emotion. You’re full of it.
We humans are social creatures and need others. We need love.
Every attempt to avoid it might be unnatural and make you unhappy.
When you love yourself, you have the capacity to share it. It’s similar to responsibility (since love is to some extent a responsibility). When you begin to activize your life, you get to influence others as well.
Regardless of what personal drama you’ve been through, stop pointing fingers and looking for somebody to pat your head.
There’s a life in front of you. Believe me, it’s much better with love.
Love yourself, and then share it.