Wow, what a concept right? How many of us truly understand what that means? It doesn’t mean that we become narcissistic, but rather that we love ourselves by taking care of our minds, bodies and souls.
According to Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”
It means that we give ourselves a break when things are not going right, when things are out of our control. And it means that we forgive ourselves when we are responsible for what goes haywire in our lives.
I have been struggling with the guilt and anger over my feelings of abandonment by my husband’s death, which of course he had no control over. I realize that this is a part of the grieving process in my head, but emotionally and in my heart I feel rejected and unloved. My life is changing in ways I never expected it to change. I have had to rely on my children for help in areas of my life that I was supposed to have control.
My children have stood by and let me rant. They understand that I am trying my best to get through this quagmire with some sense of self respect. My heart breaks for them too because they have lost their dad. Which adds to my guilt when my anger shows through.
I have to give up the home I shard with my husband. Preparing to move has opened up all sorts of memories of our life together. I have been going through almost forty one years of accumulated “stuff”. It’s a daunting task. I laugh, I cry, I dream. Then I have to decide what box it goes in. Trash, donate, kids, sell? I feel the guilt again and the self loathing because I can’t keep all of the “stuff” which makes me feel as if I am some how not honoring our life together.
I have days when I do nothing. I just sit and read or binge watch shows on Netflix giving in to those sad feelings. In the beginning I felt guilty about that too. But, my daughter has told me repeatedly that I deserve to withdraw once in a while and let the mess go. To recharge in any way that works for me. I am finally listening.
I do have days of clarity when I realize my husband didn’t choose to leave me. That he loved me and wanted to stay here with me. I am also allowing myself to feel the anger and sadness and not be guilty about it. I have come to realize that those feelings are just as valid as my feelings of love I have always had for my husband and family. I am working on not holding myself to task over every time I have a negative reaction to my memories.
I have set a schedule for myself with honest expectations as to what I can accomplish in a day. And if I fall short? I plan to adjust accordingly. No guilt, no self loathing. I plan to take one day at a time. To do something just for me everyday, even for just a few minutes if necessary.