At a counselling session recently, I told a story about abuse that happened to me a few years ago. It’s something that still haunts me, keeps me awake at night, because I just feel so much shame about it.
My counsellor is such a sweet woman, and after I recollected my story she told me a story of her own. We then talked about how we put all that blame on ourselves when it is quite clear to others that it was never our fault in the first place, We talked about compassion and empathy for our past selves.
She regularly applauds me for my courage to not only tell her what has happened to me in my life, but also how I have lived through it all and am beginning to create a new life for myself. She thinks I am brave and I really appreciate every single session with her.
After each session I go to a cafe and have a debrief with myself. I think that’s vital to understanding what I’ve been told and the emotions I have been feeling.
Through my counsellor’s compliments and support, I felt inspired to put together a quick guide on loving yourself.
(I shall adhere to it if you do.)
Step one: Forgive yourself
Realise that the traumas you have been through, the abuse you have suffered, was never your fault. Nothing you could ever do deserves abuse. Even if you think of that abuse as ‘small’ or ‘something that just happens to most people’, that doesn’t mean shit – abuse is abuse. You did not cause this harm. Realise this truth and unburden yourself of shame.
Step Two: Appreciate yourself
All those traumas? You’ve survived them. All those days in which you could barely get out of bed? Yep, outlived those too. Even those times in which you didn’t think you deserved to eat? You managed to get through them. That takes so much courage, so much bravery. You’re living to fight yet another day, yet another demon. You’re incredible. Acknowledge that.
Step three: Remember yourself
Make a list of all the things you have accomplished, small or big, like a Reverse Bucket List. Accomplishments don’t have to be anything to do with a career – they can be creative, academic, social, emotional, physical, wherever you have succeeded throughout your life. The list will be much bigger than you expect.
Step four: Admire yourself
Your body has been through all that stuff with you, it’s been your best friend for all these years (though I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, especially for those with chronic illnesses). Our bodies are incredible – we are all made of stardust, we are all made of energy that has been around since the Big Bang. Your body is an amazing machine, it is worthy of admiration, especially from you!
Step five: Please yourself
Find joy. What makes you happy? What makes you feel good? Indulge in all of that – your hobbies, music, food, orgasms, everything. How do you treat a loved one? Treat yourself exactly like that, but maybe even better. Have a honeymoon period with yourself. How fun does that sound?!
Step six: Love Yourself
Repeat all of these steps as much as you need to, whenever you need to. I think this is what self-care really is – not just the bath bombs and the candles and the Youtube yoga sessions, but the conscious change of mindset. We all have to continuously remind ourselves to love ourselves, in a world which profits from insecurities and hate.
If you need any extra support, I’m here and ready to love you.
For February I have decided to do LOVE AND SEX themed blog posts. Check out the tag to see more of this month’s theme!