A Story of Self Love

You speak up for yourself. You parent punishes you for acting out. A belief forms that your voice is not worthy of attention. Your self image, aka self love, is damaged.

Let’s get one thing straight- parents are doing the best they can with the tools and resources they have available to them at the time. While they may have shaped a belief within you at that fragile time, you are not responsible for keeping it as your identity throughout your entire life.

In coaching clients, I find 99.999999% of them suffer from a scarce state of self love impacted by an early childhood experience. The belief plays out in many ways such as- resistance to authority, avoidance of intimacy, automatic negative self talk, and even chronic illness.

Where most people try to fix their habits, the internal beliefs are secretly sabotaging them against lasting change. Hence the patterns of: the yo-yo diet, choosing the wrong partner, procrastination, addiction, and blaming others for our suffering.

MY depression…yeah, “mine”

I was 21. It was March 1999. I’d fainted a few times within a couple of weeks. Quite scary as I would fall unconscious, crash into the sharp coffee table and wake up in a daze on the hard wood floor. I walked into the doctor’s office to find answers to this and some strange symptoms I’d been having- itchy throat, itchy inner ears, dizziness.

The doctor looked me over, no tests, and asked “What’s going on in your life? I’m going to write you a prescription for Prozac…” then proceeded to tell me how I would build up a tolerance for it and that we would just progressively “up the dose” as needed. As if he expected me to take this for the rest of my life. Sheesh.

I walked out of the office, without the meds, and called my mom to figure out how to overcome this THIRD diagnosis for depression (two previously from two different therapists I had seen over the years). A week of soul searching, and shift in perspective, led me to cut out milk from my diet, acknowledge I had a food addiction, and decide I would go to culinary school to learn how to create food that tasted good AND was good for me.

Moving away to break my addiction was so much more than that! Journeying the culture of San Francisco, self discovery, Trannie bars, and incredibly gifted culinary artists, provided all the necessary tools for figuring out WHY I was so stuck in my own self-loathing.

You’ll often hear me say, ‘The trannies taught me how to feel confident about myself,’ and it’s true. The lessons I learned by these incredible “ladies” was magical. I mean, how better to learn to be unique than by a group of beings who wanted nothing more THAN to be authentic?

My geniusly creative school peers, long nights of partying, endless discussions about food and wine, adventures in spiritual bookstores, and freedom to be whoever I needed to be, sparked a new sense of self awareness within me…I realized that I’d claimed ownership of the suffering as my identity rather than simply seeing it as a temporary affliction. I learned that my experiences with ‘chronic illness’ were brought on because they were MINE and I had no clue how to be without them before culinary school. Until then, my self worth was based on what people told me about me rather than me loving who I was organically.

Afflictions of Self Belief

What most people don’t realize about chronic illness is that it created for and served a function of survival in the time it was created. Not meant to be forever.

I developed chronic bronchitis around the age of 2 during the time when my parents were still married. My dad was easily triggered in emotional upset and would project onto my mom. While he loved me deeply, he was not good at that time with controlling his reactive mind. Being sick was an excuse to get his attention or sympathy that I subconsciously developed to survive the heat. By the age of 23, my holistic doctor asked me why I had symptoms of Epstein Barr and if I had been officially diagnosed. So many years of my life had been spent in the identity of the original suffering, not knowing I could heal at any time, that I had developed a self-loathing complex which came out in physical form as an auto-immune virus.

Love for me was twisted. I expected others to prove they loved me but I wasn’t willing to take the risk on giving my all. I would unconsciously make myself sick in order to have an excuse to NOT give my all. The fear of loving another or being loved was like a trigger for me to retreat and sabotage even though I felt a deep desire to experience real love…a conflict I find so many clients are battling with.

Because we all need to love and be loved, we must acknowledge the issue that prevents us from satisfying this human need. I had to get right with myself that I a) was using food to numb me from feeling the deeper feelings, b) was avoiding the issues I had with feeling unworthy of love which gave me reason (aka excuses) to sabotage my efforts, c) had taken ownership of the illness and therefore determined my identity within the framework of someone who is chronically ill (victim mentality), and d) was holding back my truth, prior to culinary school, by not speaking up to myself about what I really needed to feel better.

To love, we must BE love

We can’t ever hope to love another until we know what self love is. I had a mentor tell me years ago that I needed to date myself in order to know what I needed. BIG epiphany!

Before that, I spent more time buying myself things I thought ‘I deserved’ and taking a lazy approach to life because I was ‘sick’ all the time. I would work a little bit and reward myself with food and clothes that I couldn’t afford simply because I was cluttered up with a distorted view of self worth. I didn’t really know myself or what I wanted, which is why I was massively depressed. It felt easier to blame others for my suffering as I had no clue I was creating it all myself through distorted perceptions. It felt easier to be sick than it was to speak up for what I wanted or needed as I was afraid of being rejected or judged for speaking up.

Our relationships reflect our internal dialogue and can be our greatest tools for self discovery. If you feel like a relationship is not giving you want you want, most likely YOU are not giving YOU want you want. But if you don’t really know what it is that you DO want, this can be quite tough. Too many of us are still fighting with thoughts of what we DON’T want, projecting these things out to the world, only to wonder why we keep experiencing it. The key is to remember that we are vibrational beings and therefore magnetize more of what we vibrate. This means, while although we know what we don’t want, and believing that focus on what we don’t want will prevent more of it, we are vibrationally saying to the universe “THIS is what I believe to be true about reality,” and so it is.

I learned through this journey: If I feel like love always hurts, it will. When I believe that I always attract people who’ll hurt me, I do. And this goes for me too. When I have a belief projecting onto another, it’s an indication that I believe that about myself. How could I trust another when I was constantly breaking my own promises and denying myself a voice?

As I teach my clients, we must FIRST become the ideal lover we wish to attract in order to shift the vibration we’re sending out to the world. We must be willing to let go of our attachments to the old us and make room for the new us to take shape. We must journey into self-discovery to determine whether our “ideal partner” is really just an attempt to prove our limiting beliefs or truly in our highest good. We have to get right with ourselves to make sure we are truly open to love rather than seeking acceptance and completion in an outside source. We need to get clear on what it is that we DO want from a relationship, romantic or platonic, so that we can become that person first.

My Recommendation- BE it

  1. How would your ideal partner treat you?
  2. What types of things would they tell you or share with you?
  3. How would they express love to and with you?
  4. What types of ways would they pamper you?
  5. What ways would you show your love?
  6. How would communication flow between you both?
  7. How would conflict be resolved?

By answering the following questions, you will have a better idea of what it is that you do want. Keep in mind that if you find yourself saying “My partner would never do this” or “I don’t want a partner who does that” you are focused on the negative and not clear on what you DO want. Also in reviewing your answers, determine how you are/are not doing these things for yourself. If you are not doing any of these things for yourself, do it. The process of learning to love YOU will help you to become the person that is truly in alignment with those who you wish to keep close.

Lesson: stop using affliction as an excuse to deny love. Become the person you wish to atract and love yourself better than anyone ever has. Self-awareness and self-love, will be the the greatest gifts you can give to the world. BE THE CHANGE.

**Originally posted on my blog at medium.com