The Problem With Self-Love

It’s all good on paper, but does it actually work?

I’ve been open on here and social media about my experiences of anxiety and depression. I don’t want it to be at the forefront of everything I do, but it’s there most of the time and it is something I manage on a day-to-day basis. I don’t want to compare myself to anyone else, I know there are many people battling with severe depression and anxiety, however I can only speak on my own experiences and hope you find some comfort here.

Recently I put myself forward for counselling at the University I attend, and though it was five sessions it made a huge impact. I felt like a weight had been lifted and felt really good for what felt like a long time. But in the last week or so, the familiar feeling of anxiety has crept back and has brought the sadness along with it. As I type this, I’m teary and sifting through a head full of negative thoughts to find the logic to pull me through.

My mind loves to obsess…

…and I often let it do exactly that. I focus on positive things, sometimes writing, or building my brand, planning my future, revamping my house, anything that brings me good feelings and happiness. But should I let myself entertain a negative thought, my mind runs rampant with it, causing havoc and doubt at every turn. Where I’m at right now, I feel I’ll win this battle. I know that my feelings are not the same as fact, that some of the negative thoughts I’m having come from a place of fear and the desire to self-sabotage.

Why am I like this? I’m very hard on myself, my expectations are extremely high, I never feel like I’ve done enough, been enough of anything. It’s a good thing because it means I always strive for more, always working on the next big thing that can give me a rush of excitement and accomplishment. But on the other hand, it means I rarely feel proud of myself or good about something that I’ve done, or like I’ve achieved anything at all. I recall hosting an event for an organisation, and speaking to an attendee about the books I’ve written. To her it was amazing that I’d even written one, let alone four, but to me it was like it was nothing. To me these achievements are nothing. On me, they are nothing. On someone else, they are amazing. So the problem really here is how I perceive myself, my efforts and my worth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do get it right sometimes.

I know I’m a Queen, I know I can do anything I set my mind to, I know that I deserve the best and that I am destined for greatness. In terms of what I wear, how I present myself, what I watch on TV, what I read, who I have in my life, how I choose to spend time with, I’m in tune with self-love. I feel like I’m good at knowing what is good for me, externally. However, at my core, in the depths of my soul, I’m not sure if I really buy into it. And that is my problem with self-love.

I realise I’ve been too focused on doing all the outer work, so much so that often the inner work is overlooked. And that is what needs the most love, I need to take care of my inner child, take the necessary steps to comfort her so that I can get through the clouds that anxiety and depression brings my way. I got lost in writing down affirmations, but not repeating them in my mind so that my soul could hear the words. I got lost in pretty dresses, by secretly comparing myself to others and internalising the belief that I will never be good enough. I got lost in wearing red lipstick to boost my confidence, but in private not allowing myself space to write my truth in my journal. In fact, I’ve avoided journaling altogether.

And isn’t that what happens?

We take these steps to feel good, but as soon as we feel good we stop? I know that every time I feel good, I tell myself I’ll put together some sort of guide that will prompt me when I feel low. Only I am so caught up in feeling good, that I forget to follow it through.

The problem with self-love is that we forget that we need to work on it everyday. I know some days seem easier than others, but we must persevere if we are to overcome our self-sabotaging thoughts and negative internalised beliefs about ourselves. To do better, we must unlearn what we know, and that requires daily practice.

So, I’m taking a different approach.

I know that I am motivated by helping others, often even more so than helping myself. I’ve created a guide just for you, dear reader, that you can use to pick you up when you’re feeling low. I want it to help you. I want you to read it and for it to remind you that you can take action to feel good, and you’re worth the effort it takes to make it happen.

Your comments give me life. Those likes and shares? They show me somebody cares, somebody connects with what I’ve written, no matter what the topic, I’m not sending my thoughts out into a void. You’re there, and I appreciate that. I’ve written this for you.

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