The Art of Loving Oneself
After my 5-year relationship with my first boyfriend, I asked the help of my friends and they all told me this age-old advice, "Love yourself". At first, I don't have any idea what it means. Is it about going to a salon and pampering myself? Is it about having a shopping spree? Is it about putting myself high in a pedestal and treat myself like a queen? Is it about putting myself first at all times and be selfish to others?
I have no idea why one has to love himself or herself if he or she is already capable of loving others because for me, that's the most important thing then. They said that I cannot pour from an empty cup but I was able to love someone so much who did not love me back. It was after a series of break ups and make ups when I realized why loving oneself should always be a priority and what it really means.
Being gentle with myself: After the breakup, I tend to go over the mistakes that I committed and beat myself up for what happened and what I should have done differently. I tried to change myself to be loved back, I even hated myself when I feel depressed, angry and hurt because for me, it's a sign of weakness then. But eventually, I learned to make peace with myself and to be with my emotions rather than fighting it. I started to make positive self-talks and befriend myself and my feelings. I accepted myself and my emotions as they are and stopped looking at myself as a weak person.
Forgiving myself: I learned to forgive myself so that I could also forgive others and others could forgive me in return. I learned to embrace my flaws and my mistakes and look at them as lessons and room for improvement to become a better person.
My worth as a person does not depend on others: The hardest lesson I ever learned so far. My ex boyfriend chose someone else over me. I was so hurt and I kept asking myself what was wrong with me and what's in her that made him choose her. I lost my self-esteem big time. I convinced myself that I'm not worthy of being chosen by someone. But after some time and after being surrounded by my group of friends, I realized that not everyone will love me or choose me and it's okay. I have people in my life who genuinely love me and that's more than enough. We all have preferences and if I wasn't chosen, it does not make me less of a person.
Being whole as a person: I also learned that I don't have to be in a relationship to be complete. I have to be complete first as a person so that I don't rely on other people. I have to find love within me so that I can share it with someone else instead of looking for love from other people.
Knowing what I deserve: The ultimate meaning of self love. I tolerated my ex boyfriend for so many times. He said hurtful words, cheated on me, but I was always forgiving him and letting things slide. It was when he chose someone else when I decided to stop chasing him and asked myself, "Is this the kind of love that I deserve?" Even though it was very painful to me, I learned to let go and believed that I deserve better than being just someone's option.
When I learned all these things, I started to heal, became a better woman and I stopped settling for loveless and dead relationships. I gained my confidence back, I weeded out emotionally unavailable and toxic men and I knew what love is really all about, loving yourself first then loving others.