The Gift Of Self Love

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a poem about what I would do for love. In that poem, I explored what I would do for romantic love, love that happens between me and a man ❤️ Recently I was thinking about what I did for love of myself and how my life changed because I started showing myself the same affection I always showed others.

I am a sensitive soul and I mean that on many levels. My feelings, especially for people, run very deep. The deeper the connection the more sensitive I am to them and their needs and feelings. This has been a blessing and a curse my entire life. It’s a blessing in that it gives me the ability to read people & know their true intentions. It’s a blessing in that I am profoundly compassionate. It’s a blessing in that I’m highly Empathetic. I can tune into people and relate to them without them really needing to put their needs into words. As a young girl, my sensitive empathetic capabilities were confusing. These capabilities actually caused a lot of pain and depression when I was young. The curse of being a “feeler” and not really understanding it was profound in my life. I had no control over what I was feeling. It was all so intense. I had no idea what was happening to me me most of the time. I see now a lot of what I was experiencing was not actually my own experience but it was the pain and confusion of those who surrounded me. Hard to explain to people that you are feeling their pain even harder to live with especially as a child. In recent years, I’ve learned how to block things out and tune things out for my own self protection. And, let’s face it. Some people are just drama queens and others are overly emotional. I tune them out as much as possible👍

In retrospect, I see clearly my biggest issue for most of my life was that I had weak boundaries with people. While I always had a strong sense of self and an independent spirit, I also put the needs, wants and desires of others before my own. I hated that I was different from my peers and I often dumbed myself down and adjusted my life to fit in with the crowd more. Every day a little of my authentic self slipped away. I almost didn’t know my own voice because so many people had say in my life and continuously crossed my boundaries.

Over the years I had my share of health problems. The source of most of my health issues was that I didn’t value myself. Therefore, I did not take care of myself the same way I took care of others. As I started to see things clearly in my life, I started learning how to nurture myself and care for myself. As I started loving myself and trusting my instincts, my emotional, physical and mental health improved. All it took was self love and affection.

Time was the gift I selfishly gave myself. Distance from negative relationships was the only way I could start to hear my own voice again. Having the courage to give up all that I knew for something that held no guarantees was the ultimate gut-check for me. I walked away from people, a lifestyle, a social life and an action-packed social calendar. But I also walked away from bad habits, an unhealthy body and a broken spirit. I left it all behind. September 15th was the third year anniversary of the day I started walking away from people & an unhealthy relationship. November 25th will be the third year anniversary of the day I chose health over being a party girl. On that day I stopped drinking alcohol, I quit smoking, I started eating healthy and I started living a life that I am now proud of living.

I am not going to say the last three years have been easy. The first year was especially challenging because I was still struggling with unresolved feelings and I had hard time letting go. The second year things started to shift and became easier. Stability returned to my life. I let go of the people from my past. My emotional well-being healed as my body got stronger. But, I really started hitting my stride in the third year. Year Three has been full of the fruit of my labor. My mind and body are relaxed. I’ve enjoyed good health. I hear my own voice clearly. I am able to maintain and enforce boundaries in all situations. My sensitive/empathetic capabilities have become sharper and I am able to control them. In year three my heart cracked open to love and its complexities without fear or hesitation because I see true goodness looking back at me. The most important gift I was given in year three has been the power of discernment. I intuitively know what and who is good for me. I sense it. I feel it. I know it. It is the true fruit of the labor of self love.

Today I am clear about who I am and what I want from life. I am clear who I want in my life. I have absolute clarity within my own soul. This type of self knowledge has been the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I see now that I have a peaceful soul. I don’t want or need the distractions of the party lifestyle. I need peace. I finally saw that I was deserving of more than I was accepting.

Today I am taking care of myself by simmering a pot of Chicken Bone Broth all day. Bone Broths that are cooked for a long time have many nutrients and health benefits. I’m snuggled on the sofa with a blanket, a pillow and plenty of books to read on my iPad Kindle App. I’m writing, reading and just enjoying the peace I finally have in my life. Today I’m loving myself the same way I love others.

Take some time to dial the noise down in your life. Tune into the natural rhythms of your own heart. Explore the caves of your soul and love yourself as much as you love others.

(C) 2014 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved
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Photo Credit
“Visible Darkness”
Pat Erickson

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