There is one kind of love that is harder, and more complicated, for a lot of people than all other kinds of love, and that is the love of self. Being able to rest in the deep feeling of worthiness and peace that comes from truly loving, not just accepting, you.
There are millions and millions of men living with deep self-doubt, and self hate, and that is a horrible and needs to be addressed, but today, on the “International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women” I will focus on this issue with women. The difference between men and women, in this context, is that the narrative of self-hate is a huge part of women’s open communication with each other, as well as with themselves. It is how you are supposed to be. Any woman reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. Telling others, and yourself, that you are not good enough (“oh, that is so pretty, but I could NEVER wear that with this flubby tummy-fat!”, “oh, I’m sorry, I’m sooo stupid, this is just like me to do that”, “I wish I could pack such lunches for my kids, but I’m such a mess!”) is such a natural part of how we are that we usually don’t even think about it. But it does affect the way we think about ourselves. So why are we doing this? Why are we constantly putting ourselves down, in words and thoughts, why do we have such incredibly low regard for who and what we are, when we are these amazing miracles of life and love that most often go above and beyond every single day?
I am no expert in this field, so I will leave the question open. I will, though, take the leap and say that I believe the feeling of unworthiness that most women have, is important to the discussion of the sexual and other physical violence that women are victims of. On one end, previous experience of violence and assault will affect your self-esteem, and on the other end feelings of unworthiness might make you belittle harassment experiences that are actually illegal and morally appalling, thinking “it was probably my fault”, “I’m so sensitive, that was nothing”, and refrain from reporting sexual assault by thinking “nobody would trust me”, “I could never handle going through a trial” etc.
There are so many things that need to be changed, drastically, and there is a lot of discourse on the subject in the media, in homes and workplaces right now, thanks to the massive outpouring of stories through the #metoo campaign, but since love is the focus of this blog, I will speak up for that today. Since the start of this movement, a lot of women have realized that it wasn’t just them. It wasn’t just them being “stupid” or “sensitive”, or that thinking it being “unkind” to the perpetrators family to report them is a valid reason not to. But importantly, I also believe that a lot of women realized that their silence actually meant that the abuse could go on. That evil and powerful men could stay powerful, when they could have been brought down. So they are now speaking out, I think in huge part thinking about OTHERS. Being sisters and mothers and daughters and protecting each other by pointing out the danger, and that is absolutely beautiful, but I want to get further.
I want women to speak up out of love and respect of themselves, their own bodies, and I want them to be empowered enough to do it right away. I want us to teach girls about the massive lies that they are being fed through almost all cultural channels and contexts, and help them grow up knowing how infinitely worthy they are, how nobody, ever, is allowed to make them feel scared or uncomfortable, or worse. How their body is for NO ONE to judge or abuse, but only for them to use and enjoy and share with men or women who they feel safe with. And I want grown up women to learn this too.
Love every piece of your body, and honor it. There is nothing wrong with it, there is nothing wrong with you. It is the world you live in that is broken, but we are going to fix it. We won’t fix it by focusing our energy on loosing “those last five pounds” though, we fix it by loving every ounce of those five pounds. We fix it by showing every woman and girl around us that we’re standing tall and proud and powerful, and that we will not be shamed, we will not be silenced, we will smile, we will laugh, we will voice our very important opinions, we will fight for those who have no voice, and we will not sit still and look pretty and make every one else feel comfortable, at our own expense.
Truly love and honor yourself, and trust where that takes you. You might think that sounds scary, but we have nothing to lose, because THIS is our reality today, the reality of our sisters around the world. And this is a living nightmare: