Pain, humility and effort.
These are the conditions for healing.
It’s not just all self-love & self-compassion like we keep hearing. “Love yourself before anyone else!”
It just doesn’t work that way. I actually think it’s the opposite: you can’t really love yourself until you love other people.
I don’t think it’s possible to be still incapable of seeing the goodness and beauty of other people and yet see goodness and beauty in yourself. One comes with the other.
When my life was miserable and I was isolated and struggling, it was somewhat driven by childhood PTSD and what had happened to me as a kid.
But mostly I was miserable because of problems I was having with other people in present time, as an adult. A good part of why I was having problems with people was because I wasn’t very good at caring about them – or paying attention to them, feeling empathy for them. Have you ever been in that place where you couldn’t give that?
We hurt, we stop making excuses, then we do our best. It’s not rocket science, but it is logical.
I know this because I’ve both changed and I’ve failed to change many, many times. And when I’ve successfully changed this is how I did it.
Today I’m miles and miles beyond where I was at the beginning of my healing. I have a long way to go, just like everyone. But I’m way past the highest point I thought was even possible for me in my life.
And each time I was able to make a breakthrough and change and grow in my capacity to love people and listen to them and be caring toward them, I’d think “Hey, I’m pretty good at this! You know what? I can do this. I’m making a difference!”
And when this is happening – I’m feeling it because I’m doing it – everything changes. And I discover that I love myself. And when I love myself, I’m a lot more at ease with other people. So, it’s a positively reinforcing cycle. I couldn’t love myself when I was focused only on MY feelings and MY hurts and trying to just stop being self-hating and just love myself. I had to take steps up – look outward.
It seems counterintuitive but it works.
Learn to trust.
Learn to love.