How to practice self love: Step 1

I had a pretty tough summer this year. It was hard. Some old feelings were triggered and I was deeply hurt. I tried to avoid these feelings for a long time and they kept coming back over and over again. I was all over the place. I tried medication, drinking away the pain, being in bed as much as I can, I tried exercising, eating healthy, going outside with as many people as possible, I tried therapy as well, but nothing really worked. Those feelings were still there no matter what I did; it was exhausting. So I did something which I should have done a long time back- Research and Development. So, I sat down one day researched the shit out of it, as why I do feel the way I do and how do I stop it. And I came to this conclusion:

All my life, ever since I was a child, everyone told me what am I supposed to wear and eat, how do I behave, who am I supposed to be, and even how am I supposed to feel. I grew up in a household where I wasn’t allowed to be angry, or sad or be afraid. I was always supposed to put on a brave and happy face even though I did not feel the same. Being vulnerable and being anxious was a sign of weakness. And I grew up, learning how to keep my emotions locked up, closed off and never pay attention to them. No doubt, they kept coming back over and over again because I never in my lifetime learned how to process them.

So, the solution was very simple, but I knew it was going to make me extremely uncomfortable, anyway I had nothing to lose. I only had to give myself the permission to feel whatever the fuck I want. That’s all.

I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but every emotion you feel is what makes you a human (unless you’re a psychopath). Its okay to be sad, and angry, its okay to be disappointed, rejected or hurt. Its okay to be afraid, vulnerable and anxious. But what’s not okay is if you choose to delve on these emotions. All these emotions are termed as negative only because they make you feel uncomfortable and nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, and people (including me) avoid feeling anything at all for a little bit of discomfort. The only way to get over the pain is to get through the pain.

Giving myself the permission to feel whatever I want has given me an immense freedom to be the person I really am and the person I would like to be. No, I don’t go around throwing tantrums, breaking things in a fit of rage. I don’t do that, even though it would be fun. But, seriously, don’t do that. What I actually do is, whenever I am feeling a certain negative emotion I tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way. This is temporary and this shall pass too. It’s not easy at first, you’re going to be a mess (larger mess than you were before), but don’t give up, be patient, keep practicing, and you’ll get there.

Yes, I know it all sounds very cheesy, but it worked for me. And, its the first step to love yourself.