Beginning in early childhood, I dove into the concept of ‘love thy neighbor’ without pausing to consider the ‘as thyself’ part.
Oh man, have I been cruel to myself.
The aftershocks of my self-inflicted Earthquakes are off the Richter scale, as illustrated by my harried nervous system and visibly exhausted body.
For most of my life, I’ve treated others the way I wanted to be treated without stopping to see how I was treating myself, or letting myself be treated by others.
Embodying a doormat, I didn’t realize that I had anything to do with the avalanche of abuses I endured.
Who ordered this truckload of dung, indeed.
Now I understand that I am worthy of healthy love, and I am my sole source of self-love.
Being both self-taught and a late bloomer, this will require careful cultivation and consistent effort.
At least effort and I are old friends.
Though it feels unnatural and shameful to allot resources to myself, I must begin, and begin again.
I feel remorseful when I think of the kindness I denied myself while simultaneously over-giving to others, lighting myself on fire so that they might be warm.
I feel hopeful now that I am starting to practice self-kindness. Simply thinking about loving myself is a huge step on my healing path.
I know that the treasure I seek lies in the cave I fear to enter.
Removing toxic relationships might lighten my load, and would likely be worth the temporary albeit intense discomfort incurred by uprooting.
Yet I remain like a stubborn ox, cursing my burden as I remain willingly yoked, feeling hopelessly bound by the pressure to live up to social expectations.
The cave I fear to enter echoes with judgmental whispers.
‘Through this action, I practice self-love’ is mantra. May I hear it above the voices of those who might object. May I repeat it even as my voice trembles and cracks. May I remember that those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.
May I keep moving forward even when left in the dust by the turtle and the snail.
May I hold myself tenderly in lovingkindness, no matter what I have done or will do.
May I rest in peace in this lifetime, in moments such as this one.