look yourself in the eye when you feel most hurt
when you feel less likely to love again
when you are barely able to stand up straight because the pain runs deeper than you are willing to go—
and love yourself entirely anyway.
—alex elle, resillient
I was lying supine on my bed, face looking up the ceiling. Suddenly, imminent tears burned behind my eyes, and shortly after that, the tears rolled down the side of my eyes. At that moment, I felt my heart break. As if no longer strong enough to carry the weight of the pain that kept piling up on it.
I wanted to ignore these feelings, brush them aside. But I did something that I’ve never done before… My right hand gravitated to my chest and began to rub on it soothingly and as if instinctively, I whispered three times to myself, “It’s okay Katli.” And indeed it was okay, not because I was hurting but because I was hurting and I was there for me. All the tears just came gushing out, as I allowed myself to feel the pain because I showed up for myself when I needed it most.
This moment for me was monumental because I was there to validate my pain and tell myself that it is okay to feel the way that I feel without erasure or putting an invisibility cloak over my emotions. I was able to embrace myself where I was at that moment. That was one of the greatest acts of love that I had shown to myself. And I wanted to document it, to write it down. So that on days when I feel insecure about my worth or days when I feel unlovable, I can draw back on this moment and remind myself that all the love that I need when I need it is right here with me. Always waiting for me to draw from it.
I am writing this post, specially in mind, for everyone, who, just like me, is their own hardest critic. I write this for everyone who is pressurised to have it all together when they wish to have just one moment of being okay with their mess. For every individual who feels pressured to have their healing rushed. For everyone who feels alone, and has become used to being left by those they hold dear. And everyone who has more days wanting to be in a different body and place than the one that they are currently in. I write this for all of us.
This post is a reminder that we are own greatest love. And perhaps we are the only ones who can love us through it all; we are the only people who can love ourselves no matter what. I mean, if half the people in this world struggle to love themselves, how can they unconditionally love the same parts of ourselves that they fail to love within themselves? So I think only we can do a stellar and NOT half-hearted job at loving us, fully, as we are and where we are.
“We are our real Day Ones, our ultimate “till death do us apart.” We have and hold ourselves for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer and in sickness and health. We are literally our longest commitment, and there’s no ever copping out from the union between ourselves. There’s no relegating the duty to love ourselves to others…”
Are you showing love to yourself on days when you are not slaying? When you feel anything but great? When you feel crushed under the weight of the world on your shoulders? Are you loving yourself when you feel like life’s biggest disappointment, when you are not everything that you wish to be? Who’s loving you then? Who’s loving you when the emptiness comes knocking on your door? Or when the darkness comes flooding in? Who’s really loving you? And I hope we can come to a place when on such days we can firmly shout out, “Me! It’s me! I’m loving me when the world is on my shoulders! When I do not have it together and when the darkness comes crashing in…I’m the one who’s loving me.”
We are our real Day Ones, our ultimate “till death do us apart.” We have and hold ourselves for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer and in sickness and health. We are literally our longest commitment, and there’s no ever copping out from the union between ourselves. There’s no relegating the duty to love ourselves to others because they will fail and they will disappoint us, constantly and consistently.
We will have more days when we cry and breakdown by ourselves with nobody to hold us together. It’s, therefore, necessary that we learn to carry our own pain with compassion. To find distinct ways in which we can comfort ourselves and tenderly put ourselves to sleep on the hard nights. We will spend the rest of our lives with ourselves with no option of divorce or separation. It is, hence necessary that while we are still here, with ourselves, we learn to love ourselves in ways that are most meaningful to us.
And then when we come to the end of our lives, and we are asked what our greatest romance was, we will say it was the one we had with ourselves.