The first time someone mentioned “self-love” to me, I thought that person was from Mars. I could definitely relate to selfishness and self-hatred, but self-love was not in my vocabulary. Memories of being molested as a child left me with emotional scars that, until I became sober (almost 8 years now!), seemed like they would never go away.
The thing about being molested as a child is that it leaves you with a feeling of being “less than,” that’s hard to describe. You feel as though you did something terribly wrong and were responsible for it. Self-love seems impossible. Instead, I embraced resentment and anger, which crippled me for so many years.
So you’re probably wondering how I recovered from this trauma and found self-love?
It started when I realized I was suffering from severe depression. Let me first say, the worst part of being depressed is not knowing that you are depressed. All you know is that your world is different from everyone else’s. It’s lonely, dark and, despite brief moments of happiness, overwhelmed by a heavy, emotional cloud.
I had become the ultimate victim of my own misery; until one day, I realized I was walking through life feeling very sorry for myself and linking present day problems to my childhood pain. Since that day, I’ve channeled a lot of my energy into learning that what I struggle with today does not have to continually resurrect my past.
Once awaken from my depression, I started talking to loved ones, which then lead me down the road to therapy (I’m not advocating therapy for everyone; this is just my personal experience). I was fortunate enough to have a therapist who was humble by nature; one who listened and never told me what I should do, but allowed me express my frustrations in my own individual way, at a time when I barely understood my own self.
The final leg towards my emotional healing was finding sobriety, a journey I’m still on and love.
And so, I leave you with some words that have helped me through the years. Someone once said to me, “You have to forgive yourself. You were a child. You had no part in it. The next time you go for a walk, you should visualize yourself as a boy and tell him that it’s ok. Tell that boy he’s safe now, that you love him.”
Stay tuned for the next story, where I share the rest of my path to freedom and to discovering self-love!
Image source: swatinstitute.com