Alyssa and I met on Instagram, and I was really impressed with her focus on Personal Growth as a blogger! I am so glad our paths crossed, and I was so moved by what she chose to share for this series. I am sure you will be too! Make sure to check her out on Instagram, and her blog! -S
I don’t know when my self-love journey began, but looking back, I can tell you a few things I notice and can reflect on. It’s funny how life works, it’s like you can only see things backward. You have no clue what’s ahead of you, or is going to happen next, but when you look back on all that’s happened, it’s crystal clear.
Something that may have triggered my self-love journey to go much deeper than it was, was probably when my mom moved across the country. You see, I’m an only child, and when I was 10 years old, my dad’s life was taken by a complete stranger. All that was left was my mom and I, and going through something so traumatic brought us extremely close together.
When I turned 12, my mom remarried to my stepdad. He was the father figure in my life for many years, things were steady, and the three of us had a nice little family with each other. When I was a junior in college (about 20 years old), my life was pretty much flipped upside down. My mom and stepdad, who’d had a major role in some really developmental years of my life (from 12 to 20 years old) told me they were getting a divorce. For the first several months of the divorce, I never heard from my stepdad. Not even a goodbye.
To top this bomb off, my mom told me she was moving from Chicago across the country, all the way to California. Well I was in college in Wisconsin, and Chicago was where I called home. So at this point I felt like not only was my family falling apart, but my mom was kind of abandoning me. I felt left in the dust to figure out life on my own.
I didn’t know what I was feeling at the time, but whatever it was, it freaking hurt. And it broke me down a bit. I decided to go to counseling, and it helped me more than words can explain. It taught me to see the truth about the situation I was in, and to observe things for how they were, and not what my brain was turning them into. My mom and step-dad’s relationship had nothing to do with me. And if I wanted to talk to my step-dad, I needed to reach out and start the conversation and state my needs so that they could be met. In addition, I needed to tell my mom how I was feeling, and tell her what I expected of her in this situation.
This process of healing was essential to who I am today. In a really abstract way, it taught me that you can’t rely on other people to fill up the “love bucket” inside of you. God is the only one I should seek to fill that bucket up. And since God isn’t a physical human, that means it’s MY JOB to make sure my needs are met and make sure I love myself and take care of myself.
The moment you take full accountability of your life and stop victimizing yourself is the moment self-love begins and your bucket fills up like a high-pressure pipe that was clogged. Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. So you can put the pieces of your puzzle together and create your own masterpiece. As the pieces break and shatter, it’s your own choice whether or not you want to leave em lying on the ground or pick them up and fix them, paint them, and repurpose them. You’ll be given a bunch of “pieces” in life, and the way you assemble them reflects the place you’re at in your mind and heart.
If you learn to provide yourself with the love you crave, your life will change. You have to take ownership and accountability. Not for the things that happen to you, but for the way you react to them. We aren’t born knowing how to “do” life. It’s all of our first rodeo. But you have to know that no one else is going to love you the way you love yourself.
These life events really taught me that, and now looking back, I feel so proud of myself for how far I came. These experiences gave me the confidence to know that I am strong and I can take on whatever comes my way. But it truly all started with me, looking in the mirror, broken and sad, and telling myself, you got this! You are strong and you can make it through this. And you know what? I DID. And I’m 1000x better off than I was before it all happened.
What puzzle pieces were you given in life? What will you do to put them back together and repurpose them? The only way you can is if you’re creative, open to learning new ways, and most importantly if you love yourself and believe that you CAN.
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