It’s easy to forget how to love yourself. How to be kind to yourself. How to practice self care and be compassionate toward yourself. Growing up, I forgot often, and even at 22, I’m finding myself forgetting once again.
I always gave excuses – I’m not going to lie and say that it was never on me. That I was always in a position that prevented me from doing anything. One thing that I want to be self aware of is that I shouldn’t internally blame myself for everything, but I should take responsibility for being part of the process and owning the fact I have agency in my own life. And that words like “always,” “never,” “everything,” and “nothing” are so extreme and binary, which I personally feel do little to explain the events that occur in our life (because everything is a process – being fluid, flexible and within a spectrum). Whether it was being a full time student and part time employee, a part time student and part time intern, or even a full time employee at a non-profit, I didn’t believe in myself enough to treat myself with love and affection. I felt undeserving of good things and thought that it was solely through hard work that I was deserving of something even remotely positive. Part of my mind knew what I deserved; somewhere in the back of my head, I was aware that I had enough strength and energy to stand up again after being beat down to the ground. Whether it was the stress of UC Berkeley, my home situation, my relationships or my friends, these extensions of me consumed my well being and it collectively amounted to negative vibes that brought me down, blurring my mental vision and causing me to forget that I deserved love.
That I still deserve love.
I’m still growing. There’s a path to happiness, but I know it isn’t linear (as much as I’d love it to be). Through trial and error, I see that I need to be kind to myself along the way, and though I adjust my life accordingly, I still find myself getting lost in my own agenda and struggling to get back on track. But, I am so proud of myself regardless because I am able to look back and see how far I’ve come.
Freshman year of college, I sacrificed my health for school and suffered because of it. After being hospitalized for my lack of eating and sleeping (in addition to other personal issues I’d rather not disclose), I vowed to be more compassionate to myself. I vowed to take action when I saw signs of self destruction. So when sophomore year rolled around, and I saw how a toxic friendship began to make me not love myself, I cut ties. When junior year presented itself and I saw how the Pilipinx community only offered a partial support system for me (and had its own problematic issues that hindered my love for myself), I branched out and sought other avenues for self love. Senior year tied up all the lessons I learned over the years, serving as a time of healing and self-discovery, a time to give myself the space I needed to grow and be with the ones who would grow alongside of me. Collectively, these experiences have made me eternally grateful for where I am today. These experiences cultivated my growth mindset. I understand more and more each day I shouldn’t feel guilty for the “selfish” decisions that I made back then because that mindset perpetuates the idea that we aren’t deserving of self love.
You have to be selfish to an extent, to love yourself. And recently, I have forgotten that.
This is a reminder to love myself.
This is a reminder that I am resilient.
This is a reminder that I am capable.
This is a reminder that I am important.
That investing in services (like a massage) is worth it if I’ve been putting off my chronic back pain. That investing in a material item (like essential oils) is worth it, even if people will argue with me otherwise that it goes against minimalist values (which it doesn’t, but please, have this conversation with me sometime. I’d love to talk about it). That investing in relationships with my friends, family and loved ones (even with disagreements or difficulties) is worth it, when we contribute to our growths mutually.
The dark cloud hovering over me has me feeling lost in my own world, scared of the uncertain future, and disappointed in myself for not doing or being enough.
But this gentle reminder to love myself tells me it’s okay to feel lost, because everything will fall into place over time. Rushing the process and overthinking it will do more harm than good. It tells me it’s okay to feel scared of what’s uncertain but to keep in mind that that the present is here and it’s in my control. And finally, it tells me that I shouldn’t feel disappointed in myself for not doing enough because people stumble, misprioritize and forget what they are capable of doing – I do enough (maybe not everything I want to do) but I shouldn’t overwork myself thinking I don’t do “enough.” I just need to reassess what I am doing and adjust from there. And being disappointed in not being enough? Oh honey, you are more than enough. I know it’s hard to see that when you’re hurting, but I see that shining aura around you and I know, for a fact, that you are, and will always be, more than enough.
Breathe, Eril. Be kind and love yourself.
What do you do when you forget to love yourself or be kind to yourself? Are there any gentle reminders you put in place? Let me know so we can all watch over each other xoxo
[Originally published May 17, 2018. This blog post was reposted from my old wix site, also hosted at http://erilm.com]