Saturday, March 28, 2009

Loving You

photograph courtesy of

Loving yourself may sound like the easiest thing to do, but I will be the first one to tell you that it is more difficult than it sounds. Loving you in the truest, purest and most honest form is no easy feat; not even for Narcissists or people we normally label as "selfish" or think of no one else but themselves. In fact, you'll be surprised to know that they are even further off from loving themselves than what their actions imply.
Loving you for who you are, not just for your good points but for your bad points as well, does not only ask for self-awareness and objectivity on your part, it also requires an open mind, a humble heart and a good sense of humor. Finding out about your weaknesses, bad habits and unpleasant qualities are painful enough realizations for one to accept, but if you take it to heart in an unhealthy way and allow it to consume you with guilt, regret, and a need to blame someone else for who you are, then you are no way near the powerful gift of loving you.

My personal challenge in life since I was a child has always been about loving me for who I truly am; and that includes the person I was in the past, the person I have become and the person I am destined to be. This inability to love myself stemmed from sexual molestation and abuse that I experienced in my childhood, teenage and adult years. These ordeals developed within me a sense of shame, self-loathing, disgust, anger and disloyalty to my own being which then made me go through life without any love or concern for my own needs and my own rights.

Almost three-fourths of all the decisions I made in my 39 years of existence were based on wanting to serve others, to please others and to win everyone's approval and love at my own expense. This attitude and outlook towards love and relationships attracted more abusers into my life and by the time I was married and had my first child, it was only then that I woke up one day and realized I was completely miserable and felt I was of no value to anyone or anything whatsoever.

I had a beautiful son, a lovely home and a husband who was seemingly very caring and loving towards me yet I could not understand why I was in complete despair and comsumed by feelings of utter helplessness, worthlessness and insignificance. To me, life always seemed so difficult, cruel and so unforgiving that despite the fact I would give out my heart and soul to everyone around me including my work, I always found myself sucked dry and drained of all energy and love until I had nothing left to give.

After attending an amazing healing workshop one weekend called Loving Relationship, I realized I was deeply entangled in a recurring pattern that perpetually left me powerless, abused and beaten down all the time and the abuser who was responsible for making me feel this way was none other than Michelle -- me.
The people in my life who loved me and still love me unconditionally in the truest sense of the word, like my family and my closest friends, could never understand why it always seemed like they loved me more than I loved myself. After that weekend, I finally knew why and I understood why my life was such an unhappy one. The Loving Relationship workshop was not about your relationship with others, it was about having a loving relationship with yourself -- a workshop aimed at loving you.

Now I never dismissed the fact that there were real people who abused me as a child, as a teenager and as an adult, and I never disregarded the crimes they committed against me. But the crime has been done and there is nothing more I can do about it. It does not matter that I cannot turn back time and change things. What matters to me is that I have moved on from my past and my pain and have risen above my feelings of shame, guilt, self-loathing, anger and disloyalty. I forgave my abusers and most importantly, I forgave myself.

You may not agree with my opinion and I respect your own views regarding this matter, but I believe that what you put out into the Universe is what will come back to you two-fold. I believe in Divine justice and I know that the people who have done me wrong will eventually pay for their wrongdoings in the proper time, if they haven't already. But I never felt the need to carry out the punishment myself. I have forgiven them for their crimes and I sincerely have no hatred in my heart for any one of them. For me, I still came out the victor in this major trial in my life and my reward is the ability to love myself for who I truly am.

Part of the process of loving you requires you to undergo some of the darkest periods in your life for it is only during these major trials that you learn more about yourself. With this learning comes the next difficult step:
  1. Do you choose to stay a victim for the rest of your life, endlessly pointing fingers at everybody else for their mistakes while feeling sorry for yourself?
  2. Do you choose to seek revenge and become the next abuser, wrecking havoc and causing pain to everybody around you for the pain others have caused you?
  3. Do you choose to cut yourself off from the painful realities occuring in your life and numb yourself to the point of becoming disconnected and indifferent towards people and the world around you?
  4. Or do you choose to overcome your pain and seek to be a better person from who you were before, at the same time free yourself from negative thoughts and emotions that suppress you from becoming the best you can be?

Loving you can only be attained by choosing the fourth option. I do not promise that the journey will be an easy one. In fact, it is no way near as simple as I have written it out to be. It can be a long drawn process of moving two steps forward and one step back (as mine seemed to have been in the span of four to five years). But by choosing to work on yourself; by being honest and true to yourself; and learning to laugh at your own mistakes without judgment or deminishing who you are; YOU will eventually be rewarded with the beautiful and liberating gift of loving you.

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