The Mirror Mirror blog is a place of self-love. Here, you will find support, inspiration and practical tools for loving yourself. My hope is it ignites your own inner call to take the next steps to living a life of self-love and all that it brings.
Quite a number of years ago now, back in my “30 something’s”, I was diagnosed with a grizzly and potentially devastating illness called Lupus…you could have knocked me over with a feather. In an instant, any dreams I might have had were at serious risk, not the least of which, were those I saw with and for my two children. So, as the doctor delivered the dire news, I kinda left my body to the safety of the ceiling above to assess the real damage and figure out some plan to dodge this unexpected bullet. As I hung out up there, contemplating my threatened future, I experienced a lightning strike epiphany that, in one fell swoop, dramatically set my course, laid out my purpose and ultimately saved my life. No joke.
Under stress, you never know where your sense of humor will show up…so there I was, hovering near the ceiling, muttering to myself in my best Tina Fey voice, “OMG, I have the self-hatred disease!” Funny? Well, I guess you had to be there, but on the other hand, it really was brilliant (part of the epiphany) and true. While astounded and feeling somewhat betrayed by my body attacking itself, I was also galvanized and ready to take on this fire-breathing dragon and where it came from…Imagine Xena Warrior Princess and Superman united as one.
The truth was, I had struggled with self-hatred for as long as I could remember. Self-esteem, self- worth or self-confidence issues were tame cousins to my searing personal dislike. While I would never describe myself as a biased person, when it came to myself, I bore my own internal scarlet letter. This searing hatred appeared in several forms: a relentless inner critic (who I recently named Holocaust), a suffocating blanket of low-grade chronic depression as well as many mysterious physical symptomologies. And the topper was: a crippling fear that someday, when least expected, someone would discover the horrible truth hidden beneath my carefully crafted good girl exterior. Take it from me, self-hatred is the ultimate in abusive relationships and the hardest to get out of. (Breathe…there is a happy ending.)
But, the diagnosis had flipped a switch igniting my will to live in a way it never had been before. As I floated out of my body it was all so clear and simple to me…if I could just figure out why I hated myself so much, then I could reverse the illness. Improbable? Impossible? Crazy? Naïve? Unrealistic?…None of these occurred to me.
In that moment it didn’t matter whether I was in my right mind or what the odds were; I just knew that I had to try. I knew in my depths that getting to the cause of my self-hatred would free me one way or another. So that’s exactly what I blurted out as the doctor was beginning to prescribe a drug cocktail that, to me, seemed more foreboding than the damn disease.
The rest is history. I left the doc in shock, but in awe as well. Despite his western medical oath, he genuinely felt my crusader spark and supported my theory. He wanted me to win where he had seen so many other women lose to this destructive autoimmune disorder. It was one of those transcendent moments where lives are never the same again. We both wanted to help our helplessness and somehow that was the perfect drug to embolden us.
So I began my journey to get to the root of my self-hatred armed with the only antidote that made sense, self-love. Obviously I was in a foreign land, speaking a foreign language but I was undeterred. Ironically, added to that, back in those days self-love was still a dirty word, most often associated with an even dirtier word, selfishness. I was not only in uncharted territory, but also, in dangerous waters that could have fueled my self-hatred.
But somehow, despite my tenuous grasp on self-love, once I reached out to find it, it held my hand tight and never let go. Slowly, but surely, it began to lift me up as it taught me that I wasn’t the horrible monster I had been told I was. Slowly, but surely, it guided me to and through the long-buried, gruesome memories that had perpetually seeded my self-hatred. Slowly, but surely, it moved the lupus into remission (which at the time, was unheard of). Slowly, but surely, it set me free.
Slowly, but surely, self-love can do the same for you. Like so many of us with similar self-value distortions, I hadn’t done anything wrong to speak of (except to be born into a deeply dysfunctional family where I was abused). And, from my experience, most likely, if you are dealing with any self-approbation, you didn’t do anything wrong either. For most of us, loving yourself was a concept that not only wasn’t embraced, it was miserably misunderstood. You don’t have to have come from an abusive home to be separated from the inner and outer beauty of who you really are.
We are all born with self-love. Conveniently, it comes in the human package. I’ve never see a baby snarl at her/himself. Have you? Delight in who we are comes naturally but that appreciation, acceptance and awareness gets diminished as we grow up in a competitive world where success is predicated on how you look and what you do rather than who you are. We become strangers to our true selves in order to survive and in the process lose touch with how to thrive (our SHINE) which is self-love’s reflection.
Each of us owes it to ourselves find self-love. Each of us owes it to ourselves to reach out and invite it to hold our hands. Each of us owes it to ourselves to call forth the courage of Xena Warrior Princess and Superman. Each of us owes it to ourselves to thrive, to SHINE. Each of us owes it to ourselves to be the drop of peace that self-love brings in the swirling ocean of humanity that we are a part of.
I’m in. How bout you? How will you love yourself today?