Lately, I have been reflecting on the concept of loving others even when we can’t love ourselves–or alternatively, the inability to love others until we love ourselves.

When I started my journey in recovery, if someone would have told me that one day I would really love myself, I would have never believed them. Truth be told, my goal was just to not hate myself, and I found that as I behaved in accordance with my soul, I began to hate myself less and less. Eventually, I began to truly like myself, and eventually I learned to love most of myself– I say most, because I’m not sure if I will ever love myself entirely.

Yet, when I was in a dark place, even when I was not able to have love for myself, I was still able to love my children, and love those I cared about.

So, what does my first statement really mean then–and is it true?

I think it means that I cannot be truly connected with someone else until I value myself, and until I trust and love myself enough that I’m okay with you seeing me, without me being afraid for what you may or may not see. I think it’s more about self-acceptance instead of self-love. It’s about self-appreciation.

My question is: how do you accept the dark parts of yourself? And, how do you value yourself and allow yourself to be seen?

What I have been doing lately is reminding myself that all parts of me make me who I am, and the dark parts are just as much a part of me as the light. For instance, anger is wholly inappropriate when turned toward loved ones, yet it is extremely appropriate when turned towards a perpetrator. I have begun to believe that there isn’t anything wrong with any of my parts, it’s just how I use them that can be either harmful or helpful.

This week, let’s show appreciation for ourselves and for others, and not just certain parts– let’s recognize that we are all a work of art. We are all perfectly imperfect beings, and we are all on this journey together.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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