Recently I received a very encouraging email from a dear friend. The content of the message reminded me of my favorite quote, and one of the major inspirations behind the creation of this blog:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
The art of loving yourself is something that is constantly changing. And whether you are looking for love within yourself, or looking to be fulfilled in a career, it takes work. A lot of work.
I remember going to a therapy session, about six years ago, when I withdrew from nursing school. When discussing some of my childhood experiences, my therapist said, “It sounds like you hated yourself.” I was crying, and said, “Yes.” At the time I did not realize what that meant, but now I do.
In efforts to not sound dramatic, please note that this post is not a cry for help. It is merely a recollection of how I got to where I am now. 😉
It is safe to say that I spent most of my childhood suffering in silence. Not that I had a bad childhood, in fact, it was great in many ways. I have an abundance of beautiful memories, and a disgustingly loving family.
However, I spent too many years disliking myself… Actually, dislike would be an improvement for how I felt. I remember being in sixth grade and having thoughts of suicide. I never made any real attempts, but I did want to die. Now, I know I was depressed. This led to disordered eating, and very low self-esteem.
Depression is an intriguing creature, and something most people do not understand. I had the family support, I just had to ask… but I didn’t. How do you ask for help, when you have no idea what is happening to you? I am aware that the knowledge of my previous pain, to this day, will upset my parents. But that is actually the beautiful part of my experiences: things change.
The thoughts of the past have been haunting my present, because I have not stopped searching for happiness. Just how Elizabeth Gilbert states, “Happiness is a consequence of personal effort.” Effort that I have to invest in. I have a light.. You may have a light, invest in yourself.
Over the years, I have learned that everyone is looking for love in external places, myself included. Well, what I now know is that love already exists inside of me. It is free, and it is ready to be used.
Depression steals things. It takes peoples lives, it takes their happiness, and it takes our humanity. I am no longer struggling with inner pain, secondary to my continuous battle to maintain happiness. I am proud to be where I am. Any love I get from somewhere or someone should be supplemental to the love I get from myself.
For me, life is a beautiful balance between the positive and negative. I strive to live lovingly, while never forgetting the darkness; this is where I find strength and appreciation for life and others.