How to Love Yourself When He Doesn't

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I’m sure when some  of you saw this title, and assumed I was going to be talking about how I’m learning to love myself by getting my hair done, my nails done or meeting with my girlfriends at Starbucks for chit-chat. All of those things are great ways to show love to yourself, but they’re not what I’m going to share. I’m here to tell you how congratulating ourselves, giving ourselves time to heal and permitting ourselves to be unapologetic are three of the biggest ways to love yourself again.

I was in a very emotionally, physically and sexually abusive relationship three years ago with a man that I loved very much. I remember all of my friends and family telling me I deserved so much better than what he was giving me. I never believed any of them and I would always take up for him. Maybe some of you have been there too? The truth is no one can tell you what you do or don’t deserve. Unfortunately, you have to figure your worth out for yourself.

That’s what happened for me. For me, it was like it all just finally clicked one day.. I was looking in the mirror, and I didn’t recognize the girl looking back at me.The reflection staring back at me was a girl who looked scary, tired, like a worn out crayon that had been used up to the very end. And in that very moment I knew that I was giving love to a man who could only give me hurt. Needless to say, and to make a super long story short, I got myself and my children out of the abusive situation. However, that was just the first step on my road to self-love recovery. Back then,  I honestly thought removing myself from that toxic environment would magically help snap back to being myself again.

But that was definitely not the case, and I quickly realized it was going to take some work to get there.

Here are some steps I’ve learned to take on my journey to loving myself again:

Step 1: Congratulating ourselves!

You did it! You are free! If you gathered up enough strength to remove yourself from a negative situation then you deserve a big round of applause. You just took a huge step towards improving your life and overall well being. Congratulate yourself, because this first step means you love  yourself enough to move on. That’s a big deal! You can go back to this step as many times as you would like because there’s never a time limit on how long you should be proud of yourself for putting you first.

Step 2: Giving ourselves time to heal.

Now, this step is a little harder than the first. When you are with someone whom you love that doesn’t love you back, it starts to affect your self-respect, self-love, and self-image. It will take time to rebuild and repair the damage, but be gentle with yourself and don’t expect it to happen all at once. You are the only one who knows what you need to heal properly, so please don’t take offense to others who say “Aren’t you over that yet?” Take your time. Move through the process at your own speed.

Step 3: Learning to give ourselves permission to be unapologetic.

Even though this is the last step, in my opinion, it is the most vital. Don’t we need to know who we really are in order to love ourselves? Personally, I think spending alone time is so important, especially if you are getting out of a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you properly. I carried a lot of baggage with me when I left my relationship. Some of the most hurtful we’re the words he used to describe me, such as stupid, crazy, worthless, and that I would never be able to find better than him. You have to replace the names they called you with positive yet accurate attributes about yourself. Once you find your new names, hold tight to them, and show the real you to the world. Just see it as you’ve been reborn, you get to start over, and this time you are the one calling the shots.

Clearly, there are more than just these three steps to learn to love yourself again. These are just the ones that really helped and are still helping me. I encourage all you beautiful beings out there to find your worth for yourself and to stop giving people discounts that don’t have your best interest at heart.

Now, who wants to try and go on this self-love journey with me?

Join the conversation: In the comments below tell me one thing you are trying to do this year to show love to yourself (and I promise I’ll try it too!).