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A letter to myself because it turns out I’ve been toxic…

I’ve been treating myself in a way that I would NEVER treat another person. Sometimes, I choose to love myself, and sometimes, I don’t. I then have the audacity to give myself excuses for why I acted the way I acted. I tell myself, I abandoned you because … or, I told you you were worthless because… and, you weren’t worthy of love because of…

But I, a person who believes myself to be an embodiment of love, would not treat my own enemy the way I have treated myself.

Some days, I will say that I love myself. Now I see that that was not love. That was superficial love. I had flings with myself.

But I know what love is. Love is complicated and ugly so much of the time, but it is not abandoning the one you love when times get tough. Love is when my grandma was dying of cancer, and I helped change her soiled clothes and slept with her when she screamed out in agony all through the night. Love is knowing she was never a perfect woman, mom, grandmother, or wife but giving her grace and seeing her as a whole person worthy of love solely because I love her.

Deep love is unshaken by the ugliness of life. Deep love is those people who stay by their partners as they suffer, hold their hands, and look into their eyes, saying, “No matter how ugly it gets, I’ll be by your side loving you.”

And that’s not the kind of love I have offered myself. What I have offered myself is circumstantial love. I love myself when I’m reaching goals. I love myself when I’m validated by external circumstances. I love myself when I find a reason to love myself, but I don’t love myself in the ugly.

In the ugly, in the depression, in the pain, I am the first to walk out of my own life. I have been the first to abandon myself.

How can I claim to love myself if that is how I treat myself?

I would never allow someone to walk out on me time and time again and then say, “but I love you.” And yet, I’ve allowed that toxic behavior toward myself.

I’ve walked out on myself when I needed grace, compassion, and kindness more than ever before, and I never even came back to say sorry.

And so, I am sorry. I am so deeply sorry that I didn’t see how I have been hurting you. I am sorry I have been showing you that you can’t rely on my love during the ugly.

I am sorry I have abandoned you. I am sorry I have treated you so harshly. I am sorry I only loved you when you showed up at your “best.” I am sorry that I haven’t seen you as a whole human being but instead as someone with a function who is not allowed to fail.

I promise to do better.

I promise to show you that I love you every day.

I promise that I will take action to no longer be toxic towards you.

I promise that even when I fail at these tasks, I will still show you that I love you.

When I say I love myself, I mean I will love myself when it gets ugly.

I have written about Disciplined Self-Love, and I have practiced it during the times that I have tried to feel better. Yet, it was still about being better. It was a way to function better. And although functioning better has helped me to have a more harmonious life, I still have felt a deep longing for my own self-love.

Now, when I practice Disciplined Self-Love, I will do it because I love myself. My practice of disciplined self-love is deeper now.

It’s not only about feeling better but loving myself even when I don’t feel better, loving myself when I feel horrible, loving myself when I don’t feel like loving myself.

As I go through my day, I will continue to think about how I can love myself and what actions I will take to love myself.

I will look at myself the way I look at the people around me. So often I remind my partner, friends and family to have grace with themselves. I remind them to eat healthy and drink water to help their brains and body. I remind them how being on screens too much isn’t good for them. I remind them about the importance of rest. I remind the people I love how to care for themselves because I love them.

Now, I’ll remind myself that when I eat a nutritious meal or write or advocate for myself, that I am doing it because I love myself. I will remind myself every day of all the things I do because I love myself. And every day, I will remember to continue to find ways to love myself.

By continuing to remind myself how I love myself every day, I’ll reprogram my mind to remember that I love myself, that I won’t abandon myself, all because I love myself. These are my actions toward deep self-love because of deep self-love.

Disciplined Self-Love is still self-love, but now the practice is deeper because I practice Disciplined Self-Love with the understanding and reminder that it is because I love myself that I practice Disciplined Self-Love.

Someone gave me a box of my favorite chocolates, and I knew I wanted to eat some. I chose to limit my sugar consumption by eating only two because I love myself. I want what’s best for myself, which may include some pleasure and indulgence but not overindulgence. Then, I thought about how to make eating chocolate an act of self-love. I could use the moment of eating chocolate as a moment to savor and be mindful of what the present moment is by mindful eating, the act of truly being present while you eat— because I love myself, I would take the time to do that.

Because I love myself, I will write this blog.

Because I love myself, I will be open to listening to my own voice.

Because I love myself, I will have courage.

Because I love myself, I will allow myself to feel sadness and happiness.

Because I love myself, if my mind starts to have dark thoughts, I will have the courage to listen and stay curious, and because I love myself, I will stay alive.

Because I love myself, the last thing I would want is for anything bad to happen to me because I love myself.

I am no longer interested in a cycle of toxic love with myself, and that’s because I love myself.

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