Trigger Warning: Mental Health/Sexual Assault
One thing I struggled with most of my life was loving myself.
I am someone who loves others unconditionally and I do whatever it takes to make others happy. I tend to put others before me because I would rather gain happiness from other's happiness. Putting others before me didn't arise as a big issue until I was sexually assaulted.
It wasn't until months after my assault that I fully realized that everything that individual did to me was NOT consensual. Yet, I cared too much about his feelings and keeping him happy with me which is why I kept my mouth shut. When I told my friends about my relations with him, I covered parts of the actual story so I wouldn't have them worry about me. I didn't want to accept my own reality about what had happened as I thought that protecting that individual would protect me but it hurt me more than anything.
When my mental health took a turn, my relationships with those around me, my academics, my physical well being, and my sense of love was being heavily affected. I blamed myself for my assault for a multitude of reasons. I lost the very little amount of self-worth I had and hated everything about myself. I couldn't find enough love in myself to get help which is why I drowned myself in alcohol. I hurt myself and others in the process, which pushed me to make a change.
I decided to get the help I needed and began to change my lifestyle choices. I have cut back on drinking and going out to start focusing on my academics and my health. If I feel sad, I distract myself by going to the gym or vent to a friend if I don't have time to talk to a professional. I began to use healthier coping mechanisms and slowly, but surely, my mindset began to change.
On my 22nd birthday, my friends gifted me with the jar filled with notes that contained things that they love about me and it completely changed my life. Even though I felt like I dragged them along with my problems, they showed me something I needed to finally see.
Before the new year began, I did a lot of self-reflecting while I was back at home. During this time, I also ended up telling my mother about my struggles at school that stemmed from my traumatic experience. She welcomed me with so much support and love.
All this love made me feel so great but I knew that one person needed to love me like those around me did and that person was me.
I learned that others can love me, so can I.
I am finally loving myself regardless of my mistakes, my insecurities, my ups and my downs. These things are what make me a stronger, better person. I have grown so much since I began loving myself. I see things a lot clearer and I know what I want and what I don't in different aspects of my life. I am done settling for less than what I deserve and that begins with loving myself with my everything because I know best.
This journey has not been the easiest. I am still working on myself each and every day and learning so much about myself. I find things about myself that I want to change to feel good about myself because it is something I value. Self-love has been so rewarding in my journey of healing and growing as an adult.
Remember that you know yourself better than anyone could, take care of yourself and love everything that makes you, you.
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- The Importance of Self-Love | Psychology Today ›
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