I had the misfortune to not have received unconditional love from my mother as a child.
I was raised to believe that only by accomplishing certain tasks set to me by the outside world would I ever be worthy of love. But no matter how hard I worked to accomplish what my mother expected of me, it was never enough.
I was never enough.
This not only opened the door to mental instability and self-destructive behaviour, but severely diminished my capacity to manifest my desires.
The cure to a life time of self-dismissal is not going to look the same for everyone.
But maybe someone can find inspiration in my road to self-acceptance, as I know I have found inspiration in the stories of others.
The first step towards loving myself was to abandon the expectations that were set on me as a child.
In retrospect, I probably should have dropped out of school before I let stress get the better of me, because I can safely say that 10 years after I have graduated from highschool, many of the things I was forced to memorise have still not served me in creating a life for myself.
I was presented with a very small box of options for living my life as an adult. My mother shot down any idea I had for my future if it wasn’t lucrative enough for her.
I have had to learn to live humbly, and to be satisfied with self-actualisation, and not a bank account.
Living from day-to-day may not be for everyone, but cutting out unnecessary luxuries could probably benefit most people.
When I lived out of alignment with myself, I turned to material pleasures to fill the void. As soon as I started following my dreams and desires, the happiness I felt left me with no desire to go out of my way to look for quick pleasures.
I have found it to be a fantastic tool to contemplate the desires I had as a child. All the things I pushed away because they were seen as trivial or unimportant.
Giving myself the opportunity to learn and practice the things I wanted to do as a child has opened up countless opportunities for me, both in terms of my creative capacity, and my personal knowledge (which ultimately improve my opinion of myself).
I have even learned to feel joy in working hard, and even sacrificing pleasure in the moment, with the goal of getting something my deepest self screams for.
Perfectionism had to go as well.
And I don’t mean that I don’t do my best to accomplish what I want.
I just had to learn what “good enough” meant, and that I was the only one whose judgement mattered.
I still strive hard to not only do my best, but to surpass myself, but I have learned to hold my own aesthetics above that of other people’s when it comes to the things I create.
Unrealistic expectations are also just a way I set myself up to fail. A self-fulfilling prophecy of inadequacy. I had to learn to work towards my goals in baby steps, and take the surge of energy from completing something I had visualised for myself.
I don’t need to feel like I’m perfect to love myself! I can love my evolution and my potential for growth.
I can love myself for my will to be true to myself.
Writing helped me a lot to identify my self-destructive thought patterns.
In the beginning, this was just journaling. Writing without stopping to correct myself, and then reading over what I had written.
On many occasions, I was surprised by what I had written
Apart from some really insightful things I believe I channeled from the aetheric collective sub-conscious, I also saw how I thought about myself.
“That’s stupid”, or “I am a horrible person” were common themes in my early writing. Not only was I lacking self-confidence, but I was tearing myself down.
I realised that I was doing this constantly in my mind.
Replacing these thoughts took time.
First I had to identify them as they happened.
Next I began to correct myself after I had thought something self-destructive.
Finally I was able to correct myself before I tore myself down, recognising the habit and being able to replace it with more realistic thoughts, like “I made a mistake, but I can probably fix it, or at least learn from it”.
Journaling has also helped me to regularly make a record of the things I’m thankful for, which has helped me re-align my thoughts from self-destructive, to self-affirmative.
Feeling grateful for the things that come my way, and the things I manage to manifest for myself increases my personal power, and helps me see my true worth and potential.
Writing affirmations has also required me to sit down and think of things I like about myself, as well as focusing my intent.
Dream journaling has helped me to make sleep sacred, instead of seeing it as a waste of time. This, in turn, has helped me not only to build healthy habits, but has helped me to connect with my sub-conscious desires and recognise when I’m not being true to myself.
I had to realise that control is an illusion, and that giving in to the flow of life is a magickal thing.
Each one of us has a unique place in the “web”. Each one of us is connected through events in our life, and this gives us all unique challenges and opportunitues.
Connecting with the web of interconnectedness of all things has helped me to give my life purpose.
I can choose how I wish to impact this web, and even if my influence doesn’t reach far, I know that I change the world through the people I touch, and those who I have allowed to influence me.
It has become a beautiful thing for me to realise how even small actions send vibrations throughout this “web”, and how the things which happen to me which seem chaotic, are just the manifestations of the vibrations put into the web by other people.
Contemplating my role in society and the natural world has also helped to give me a sense of purpose beyond my personal goals for how I want to live and what I want to do.
Part of my road to becoming an integral person has been to learn that I can only control how I react to the things that happen to me, and that maintaining alignment with what I want and who I want to be is much more important than following a moral code imposed on me by society.
Without self love, I was constantly saying “yes” to things which burdened me, or saying “no” to things I wanted but was afraid to work for.
My value of myself was based on what other people felt or thought about me.
I was constantly trying to please others by contorting myself emotionally and energetically. Being “good” was more important to me that being true to myself.
This just left me feeling worse about myself, which increased the self hate, and I would try to over compensate by trying to be more “good”.
Luckily, I have developed the habit of being true to myself at all costs.
Not an easy thing, to be sure, and it has put me in a lot of uncomfortable situations.
But at the end of the day, I know that I have done what I really thought was best, and any unpleasant situations I have suffered as a result have just cemented me in the knowledge that this world is in dire need of great social change (and helped me release the illusion of control).
I had to ditch some toxic relationships, and learn to make friends who recognised my unique qualities, and didn’t want to change me.
This had a lot to do with learning to “let my freak flag fly”.
I had a lot of people around me when I went to school or worked in an office who I felt ashamed of myself around. I would hide things I did or felt or thought from them to avoid judgement.
I had to realise that I needed to surround myself with people whose values were in line with my own.
This doesn’t mean people who think exactly as I do, or people who I never disagree with. It just means that we share some core beliefs, like the importance of personal freedom, or anti-capitalist tendencies.
Narcissism was a major stumbling block in my evolution; an overcompensation for low self-esteem.
I was constantly trying to prove myself.
This was essentially something which took time and effort away from what I really wanted to be using my energy for.
Trying to be “the best”, or trying to prove myself to other people, was toxic to my relationship with myself.
Learning to let myself feel upset when I do something which is less than conscious, and not being afraid to make mistakes in public has helped me in amazing ways.
I had to learn to listen.
Meditation has been an essential tool in my self growth.
Instead of obsessing with my worth in terms of production, I have had to learn to create quiet space inside myself, so that I can listen not only to my own desires, but to the vibrations of the universe.
Contemplation and meditation have also played a huge role in my learning to silence compulsive, self-destructive thoughts.
Learning to be comfortable being alone was also a huge step towards my self-acceptance.
Even as a child, I was much more comfortable alone than I was in the company of other people.
But this was mostly because of the crushing weight of social expectations and prejudice, and not because I was really comfortable in my own company.
In my adult life, I spent some time by myself, in a place where I had to walk for hours over mountains to get to the nearest small town.
It helped that I was there growing a garden and rebuilding an old ruin, because I felt that I was finally being responsable for myself, which had a major positive influence on my self-worth.
This time alone also helped me to really feel what I needed to do in order to feel accomplished in my life. And it allowed me to come to my own conclusions, without social pressure to conform or achieve.
If I’m not listening to my deepest desires, I cannot stand to be alone with myself. I get frustrated and bored, and turn to quick pleasures to take the edge off the incompleteness I feel.
When I feel I’m giving myself what I want, I can sit with pleasure, just meditating and connecting with myself and the world around me.
I had to make self care a priority.
When I started regularly stretching, doing breathing exercises, and just checking in with my body on a regular basis, I saw huge changes in my levels of comfort, anxiety, and self-acceptance.
Not only am I more comfortable in my body on a physical level, but it has helped my self-esteem in plenty of ways.
Instead of using makeup to try and conform to a fixed idea of “beauty”, I have learned to see beauty in my confidance to face the world as I am, and to feel content with my efforts to keep my body healthy and able to do the work I ask of it.
This has also meant learning to listen to my body, and to respect when it tells me what makes it feel fit.
Activity became essential!
I used to spend a lot of time in depression mode. I wasn’t living the life I wanted to, I wasn’t the person I wanted to be, and I became inactive as a result, wrapped in a blanket of self doubt and loathing.
When I threw myself out of my comfort zone, and it became necessary for me to work to maintain myself on a daily basis, I began a habit of actively going for what I want.
I failed many times, but I learned from all of my experiences.
There is no greater magickal catalyst than need.
Once I got into the daily habit of being creative and actively going after what I wanted, I became increasingly aware of my potential and personal power.
I had to get rid of things, not just add things that were missing.
So often, when I was wondering how to make my life more in line with my deepest desires, I only thought of what I had to add to my life. Removing things that aren’t contributing to how I want to live has been just as important, if not more so!
There is a fine line between needing to deprive myself of harmful habits which are keeping me from what I really need, and depriving myself of what I think I need because of habits, or fear.
Connecting to the idea of self-sacrifice has really helped me on this journey. It may taste good to eat sugar, but if I get headaches and mood swings as a result, then this momentary pleasure is not helping me along my way in the long run.
Learning to identify this kind of bad habit, and to apply myself to maintaining new habits has not been easy, but in my opinion, it is well worth the hard work!
The most important step for me has been to learn to let my freak flag fly.
I have developed some habits over the years which most people would consider “crazy”. Everything from the way I dress, to the way I walk, to the things I say and do.
Going against the status quo has not been something I do just to spite the world. Each variation from the “norm” has been a well thought out decision, based on what makes me feel good, in an integral way.
Taking time to figure out what I think is the best course of action for even the most mundane tasks has been a freeing and uplifting journey, and one which continues every day.
Feeling guilty about not “fitting in”, or not “being good” robs me of power, as does fear.
To take time to decorate my environment, not based on what I think is pretty, but on what makes me feel good, and the things I want to remind myself of has also helped me in the sense of reaffirming my desires and personal preferences on a daily basis.
I had to learn that thought patterns such as “I don’t deserve it” or “I’m not like that” or “I can’t” are self-limiting excuses. It is easier to tell myself these things than it is to press on in the face of adversity.
It doesn’t feel good to be socially excluded, but this it has been so important to learn to be alone with myself. To recognise that it’s better to be alone than to be in company which tears me down.
Also, just meeting one person who recognises my shine is enough to counter the prejudice of thousands of other people.
In the end, the greatest lesson I have learned is that there is no price too great for fulfilling a dream!
Self sacrifice and social exclusion are insignificant when compared to the feelings of love and joy which come from doing what we can to express our unique point of view to the world!