Love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does!
– Anita Moorjani
Gently she cradled her in her arms. Belly soft, breathing slowly, rhythmically. “I am here with you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. We are in this to the end, and I will never leave you again.”
She didn’t know she would make this commitment that night, but so it came, whirling around her like a mini cyclone, screeching in her ears til she heard the words, “Love yourself.” And just like that it went quiet and in that stillness she heard a small girl’s voice whispering, chattering, almost inaudibly unless she held her breath.
“She’s so mean to me. I can’t trust her anymore. She’s always saying horrible things. I wish she’d go away. I hate it sometimes. I’m just trying to be me and all she does is tell me I’m not good enough.”
It stopped and there were sounds of nervous sobbing.
A gush of air escaped from her lungs as she sat down on the floor. It wasn’t a little girl locked in the pantry or outside wanting to be let in. No, this was her own inner child. The one she’d neglected and forgotten about. He heart raced. It was true. All those accusations were true. So how could she expect miracles and a happy life when one half of her was down-trodden and abused? Whispering quiet apologies and promises, she sat there until outside it had gone dark. Still no reply. She stood up and took a deep full breath of air into her lungs and that’s when she felt it. A timid settling inside her, unsure, but hopeful.
And so she promised to never leave her again. To try to never speak those awful words.
Do we get told ‘love yourself’?
Why is it that we are not taught self-love at school? Surely this is number one? I don’t mean the “I’m top of the class in Maths,” or “I’m so good at soccer,” type. That can be ego or arrogance creeping in, and often comes at a cost of true self-love. When you’re not top in Maths for a test, the barrage of abuse cracks around in your head “You idiot, you should have studied harder. I can’t believe it, it was so easy and you just stuffed up.”
No, I’m talking about the gentle, kind self-love. As you realise that the more you abuse yourself in your mind, the more timid a part of you becomes. It is what guides you through the deep and meaningful moments in your life, but when its feels shut down you may struggle to hear it in these times of need.
I’m too fat. Look at my love-handles, ooo yuk! I’ve got rolls – 3 actually and look how they go over the edge of my jeans.
Well look at my face, it’s hideous, I’ve got these blind pimples all over my chin. It’s so gross.
I hate my arms, they’re all flabby. I want nice toned arms like those girls you see in … magazine.
At least you guys have got boobs, mine are non-existent, I don’t even need a bra, so I have to wear falsies to pretend. I’m so jealous.
As a female I struggle to believe that many of you missed out on these types of conversations, either during lunch breaks at school or in the changing rooms. How was it that no-one told us to cut it out. Hang on, they did actually. I clearly remember my mum saying to me and my friends that we were beautiful and were definitely not fat. ‘Ya, Ya” we thought, of course she’s going to say that. It made no difference, not to me anyway.
It just seemed the accepted thing to do. You heard adults talking about their bodies not playing ball as they aged, and you compared yourself to all those photo-shopped, anorexic models and felt inadequate.
When I walk down that grey stony path of remorse my feet hurt and my heart sits heavy in my chest. All those years of beauty, freshness and youth ‘wasted’ on ungratefulness. I put ‘wasted’ in inverted commas as of course it wasn’t wasted. It was all part of my journey and all part of growing up and learning certain lessons.
One day when your body doesn’t behave quite the way you expect it to every morning when you wake, you start looking seriously down that path and wondering how you could have taken all this for granted. How you could have taken your young lithe body for granted. Its endless energy, all your organs behaving as they should…
Then a quiet reminder: Love yourself! And I am thankful that I found this path of self love in my 30s…better later than never 🙂