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Lifestyle

Love and Growth

I swear I wanted my illusions back.

I wanted to pretend that my life worked, my friendships worked, my relationship with myself worked.

Everything was false and it was too late, the process of growth had started, no turning back, I set change in motion with my tears and my thoughts.

With this introduction extracted from my morning journal, I start to reflect on my experience and understanding on the process of love and growth, a very humbling experience of pain, humility, courage and self-discovery.

 

A period of transformation

I passed a period of my life hating myself and my life. I was always insecure and I did not know how to love or how to receive love from others, I believed I was not worth it.

I think my childhood played a big part on the base of my insecurities, feelings of lacking, invisibility, self-hate, unworthiness and people-pleasing mania.

I doubted my own voice and self-communication was an issue to me.

I grew up in a family where emotions were repressed and confidence or love was never thought or shown, and the result was catastrophic, but nowadays I feel no resentment for my parents because I know they did everything they could and knew about parenting at the time.

It took me years to understand that if I am not passionately in love with myself I cannot love anybody truly. If I am not compassionate to myself, I will not understand nothing.

Many days I cried searching for the magic pill for change, questioning why I am not beautiful like other women, why I didn’t feel the same joy for life like my peers, why I was not confident…always expecting approval from external sources to feel confident and loved.

I didn’t realize I am the only one responsible for knowing what makes me happy and I forgot that nothing is permanent including problems or life situations.

Living in a society that glamorizes external approval and likes it was very easy to fall on the trap of believing that love it is outside of me, but as L.E Bowman says:

“I learned the most about love when the only person I was falling in love with was myself.”

Self-love is one of the most important relationships that a human can create in life.

It gives strength and courage to magnetize and revolutionize the life of a human being, but it takes time and internal work. One of the vital lessons I learned is that the journey to self-love is the acceptance of the duality, the shadow self, the aspects that we most hate or fear of us.

Sitting down with my demons and questioning myself was the road to transformation and healing, questions like:

Who am I?

What do I need?

What makes me happy?

What brings me joy?

Am I treating myself like a precious object?

Do I need professional help?

Are the relationships that I have uplifting or draining?

Am I having attitudes that promote self-love?

What do I want to change in my life and what are the strategies or systems to make it happened?

 

Questioning is a very powerful tool that we have in life, the key for wisdom is continuous questioning because questioning brings the truth.

I had to clarify my perceptions and consequently I lost all misconceptions. And when ambiguity was eliminated, illusion was eliminated. I arrived at clarity and clarity created change.

Yes, Self-help books, Abraham Hick’s audios and Lacy Ann Phillips helped a lot too.

With all this, shifts in perception and identity started to happened, as with any rupture there is was both tension and relief.

I had to liberate myself from the rigid thought pattern or mentality that everything changes in a blink of an eye I found peace trusting the process.

It was not easy to think this way; I still wanted to keep the blur that kept me and my real self-stuck.

Losing the false sense I was sustaining was traumatic, the sensation of I don’t know who I am anymore was frustrating.

And as I said previously the pressure of pretending that everything goes wonderful with no pain was and is toxic, stagnates the energy and creates blocks.

Life is made of contrast, and with contrast comes texture, color, value and then harmony.

 

I heard somewhere that when we lose vagueness about our self, our values we meet our truth and we meet our selves, we meet our self-expression.

And when this vagueness vanished I became the woman that understands that it is not my job to take responsibility for others.

I have the right to feel my own feelings.

I do not have to smile if I am upset.

I do not have to say “yes” just to keep others content.

I do not have to be perfect.

I do not have to give what I do not want to give.

These personal policies were and are my rock I put them in practice every day with humility and courage.

I started to love myself instead of loving the idea of other people loving me.

From these principles I accepted me with all my shadows and that am I enough this way.

The job of going inward was and is the cure, as Lau Tzu says:

Care about people approval and you will always be their prisoner.

The decision to leave unclear expectations, unclear relationships, self-hate and dependency on people was a real road for love and growth.

 

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by artandotherstories

Emilia Duarte, Mozambican multidisciplinary artist/writer, painter-illustrator and clinical psychologist.


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