Love is patient and kind. 1 Cor. 13:4
Growing up as a suvivor of abuse I was full of feelings of shame and worthlessness. These feelings followed me for years and eventually became part of my identity. Constantly feeling shame “dirty” and worthlessness left me wanting to escape the sense that something was horribly wrong with me. I was unable to shake the negative emotions, I found myself masking my emotions through self destructive behaviors.
There were periods when life was so dark and I felt alone in my brokeness I just wanted to end all of the internal suffering. I didn’t really see the point in living if I would have to continuously deal with all the shame and pain, life felt unbareable and I wanted to escape! My way of dealing with the multitude of emotions was through destructive behaviors. The majority of my teenage years were spent in and out of hospitals trying to find ways to deal the internal chaos I constantly felt. I hated everything about myself and thought that if I could change everything about myself and my past somehow life could be better.
By the end of high school I just wanted a fresh start. My plan was to put everything behind me and live a successful life, unfortunately I did not have healthy tools to make the life changes. I had hopes and dreams alongside the pain and suffering and I felt hopeful about the idea of being an adult. In my mind becoming an adult meant the pain of the past magically disappeared. At that time I was still carrying around all of the drama of my youth, but I had become more skilled masking the pain. My way of dealing with pain remained the same (self harm eating disorder), but I was desperate to succeed in life. Looking back on this time in my life I know that clearly God was carrying me because if it were left up to me I know I wouldn’t have survived all the way through college.
Although I made it through school and the start of a career, I still lived my life from the place of a broken little girl. I hadn’t dealt with any of the trauma from my past. My identity had become so enmeshed with all of my dysfunction that I could never imagine dealing with the brokeness in a healthy manner. The recorder of negativity that had been on repeat since my youth kept me bound to my poor self image and self destruction. You can only live so long in dysfunction before it explodes, anyway, I continued to exist in a space where I was unable to love or accept myself. Eventually, I exploded.
As I am writing this all out I am so grateful for all of the experiences on this journey of my life. Does that mean I am grateful for the trauma? No. I am grateful that I was able to live through the dysfuntion because it has given me a greater appreciation for experiencing self love. I am grateful for the journey that has brought me to a place where I can with assurance say that I love myself.
“Love is patient and kind;” 1Cor. 13:4, this passage is a reminder of how I am to love myself with gentleness, tolerance, endurance, acceptance, and kindness. Loving myself with patience and kindness allows me to love others with the same gentleness, tolerance, and acceptance. Loving myself is a journey one that I see as beautiful, my eyes have been openned to the awesome qualities and acceptance of the pieces of myself that are not my favorite.
I hope that if you made it this far you are inspired to start or continue the journey to love yourself.
You are Resilient
You are a Revolutionary
You Radiate Love