What’s Your Self Love Low (aka me-love dumper) and Self Love High?

 In Being A Woman, Life choices, Power, Self Love, Sexuality

Being Wise… taking in the wisdom across generations
by Christine, age 37

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The low of course is the easy one to start with. My self-love low was without a doubt the two weeks I spent begging, pleading, bargaining with my ex-fiance to take me back, to love me again, to do anything but leave me. Never mind he’d been cheating on me for 6 months, or that he dumped me two hours before our engagement party, I wanted this man to love me. I wanted him to love me so much that I groveled and cried my heart out, believing my life to be over if he wasn’t in it, if he didn’t love me. At the time I was a marketing executive, an m.b.a. student at a top three school and a self-confident woman, but when it came this guy, I was convinced I was nothing without him. This was the lowest point of my life. The point that as an educated, smart woman, I would rather marry a man who didn’t want me and who had been sleeping with other women, rather than be alone.What I realized after two weeks of feeling as if my heart had been torn out of my chest by a wild boar, was that the pain I felt wasn’t because he wasn’t there. It was because I wasn’t there. The pain wasn’t so intense because he didn’t love me. It felt so bad and so deep because I didn’t love me. Like myself a lot, yes. Self confidence present, yes. Self love anywhere in sight, no. That was the last time I let my self-love dip that deep. That was the last time I ever believed that I needed a man to complete me.

Fast forward, three years, to the moment that I first really felt total unabashed self-love. I had moved to San Francisco by this point, a city I had always wanted to live in. I had completed two-years of intense therapy to heal my gaping wounds. And I had started on what I call my journey to be, love and live Christine without apology, and without holding back. This particular day I had booked a hotel room in the very romantic wine country at an inn just teeming with lovey dovey couples, and me. I arrived, by myself, I took sauna, by myself, and I visited the fireplace lit restaurant with a five-course meal, by myself. Surrounded by couples holding hands, I felt no twinges of loneliness, only utter joy and contentment at being with myself and at being able to taste such delicious food and wine without having to talk to a table mate.

After dinner, I strolled back to my room, by myself, ordered dessert via room service and sat in my pillow feathered bed savoring each piece of delectable chocolate cake. I was in heaven… and in that moment, for the first time ever, I realized that I was in love with myself, completely.  I realized that for 33 years I had been afraid to be alone, and in that moment I knew that I could never really be alone because I was always with myself. That was the night I fell in love with ME. Which is why it is my self-love high, because it was the first time, but the first time with me!

Olive, age 13, says:

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If I can speak for most people I will say that we have more lows than highs. I personally feel half and half.

Some of the times when I have had highs are super cool. One of them is when I got a letter from Obama and it even had his signature! That just felt super cool because when I was writing him a letter everyone told me to write it in business form but I ignored them and used a hot pink card with blue birds, wrote in blue pen, and used a green envelope. I just thought to myself, who wants to open just one more white envelope? Because that’s so exciting! Some other times are when people compliment me on my outfit. Whenever I wear something bright and colorful I always wonder what might be going through people’s minds but when 10 people compliment me within 5 minutes, I know it’s always best to just listen to my thoughts and trust ME.

My lows occur sporadically. Most of the time it’s when I’m in a big crowd with people my age and I don’t know anyone. All of these other girls are with their friends laughing and I just feel so lonely. No one really realizes how much we need our friends but the truth is that they are what hold us up. My friends prevent me form having so many lows. The best friends you can have are the ones that will always be there for you. For some people friends boost their confidence, for example, look at me! I’m so liked I have 30 friends!!!

I would say that people who have a lot of lows are most likely self-conscious but it could really be anything. Depression, sad feelings, etc. To have more highs I recommend thinking of things as glass half full. Just try not to be negative at all and you will truly have a better day!

Christin, age 25, says:

christin.jpgThe lowest self love low happened for me when I was nine.  Not that I was fully conscious of my lack of self love at the time.  All I was conscious of was that I wanted to die. I can remember sitting with my legs over the balcony – staring at the pool deck below and wondering if any one would even notice.  Wondering if death was so numbing that I would even notice?  I felt useless and dirty and shamed.  I felt bad and wrong and desperate.  But most of all – I felt trapped.  I was in the self-love dumper for many many reasons, but the most prevalent was because I had suppressed memories of sexual abuse that, one day in fifth grade math class, I unexpectedly remembered.  And all of a sudden, like a supernatural sprinkling of filth all over my skin – I was worthless.  My memory of this time is shaky, at best, so I can’t say for sure how long I spent in this darkness.  A week?  An entire childhood?  I do remember when I climbed out.  I was at the kitchen counter with a knife poking into my rib cage – just waiting for the courage to push.  And then it was as if an older version of myself tapped me on the shoulder, a benevolent angel whispering that this period in my life, this shadow, was temporary.  And sometime in the future I would be free.  I had already survived this long.  I would survive to my independence.  I made the choice that I would make it out alive.

My highest of self love highs was so opposite to this feeling of loneliness.  It is interesting to me to note the amazing contrast of internal liberation between these two stories. Not only did I make it out alive, I thrived beyond my wildest dreams of love, connection and spirit…

I had enrolled in a leadership course in California which was challenging and opening on so many levels.  After our first week I had a moment of such pure love for myself that I have yet to duplicate it.  I don’t know what it was about that morning – maybe it was the magic of the redwoods, or the calling of the crows, or the mists of Avalon opening for me.  I looked in the mirror that morning and, for the first time in my life, without any inhibition or need for permission, I saw myself as incredibly divine and beautiful.  I WAS beauty.  I was the essence of life.  And Life was Good.  All my life I had searched for a sign that I was not alone – a touch from the hand of god.  But that morning I felt complete within myself – I knew I was loved because I loved myself.  I knew I was beautiful because I found myself to be so.  I felt so deeply the connection to all the IS – the oneness of all things – and I believed in the goodness and sacredness of my Self.

Katie, age 34, says:
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Since at least junior high, I’ve engaged in a self-love ritual. Whenever I’ve felt hopeless about the outside world or the one within me, I’ve waited for night to fall and retreated into my core self. The ritual is: I sink into a soft, supportive surface – these days, it’s my plush, beige living room sofa – with candles lit all around the dark spaces, and soulful music lulling me into peace.
And then, I cry. I release my grief, anxiety, shame, anger, and guilt. As I listen to the heart-opening lyrics of whatever song plays, my tears create space for joy and love to come.

I call these moments my “scheduled crying jags.” Even the heaving sobs are miraculous to me, because I’m euphoric when I allow them to happen, and I always heal. Knowing I can return to this sacred space at any time, I emerge feeling safe in the world again, and then I wonder why I always make the jags wait for my night to fall.

Once, one of my crying jags was scheduled for me. I was in a spiritual service, feeling shaken with awareness: two days before, I’d learned not only that the man I had loved for three years did not feel the same, but also, that he never had, even though we’d been in an intimate relationship throughout that time. As the choir sang about love, my torso threw itself over my thighs, and I sat hunched over myself, having a wailing cry that I might have put on my calendar. Except it came out unexpectedly and uncontrollably, like a screaming toddler in a grocery store, holding his mother hostage because he knows everyone is watching. This cry was going to come right there, whether I liked it or not.

I did like it. Not at first, but after I saw how hopeful those around me were, that they could care for me or say the right thing, or just sit with me in my pain. I’d arrived at that place by smiling for three years, when I could have cried a lot, letting my pain out in segments. Getting clear with each crying jag about what I wanted, who I really could be without this guy.

So when people learn about my scheduled crying jags and ask, “Isn’t that depressing?” … I smile. Not because I’m masking something, but because I’m feeling the self-love.

Janet, age 52, says:

janet.jpgWow! Self-Love…the honest  truth is that for the majority of my life the word Self was always followed with those wicked three letters ish – Selfish. I grew up in a time when being a female meant you put everyone else first and yourSelf last or you were considered selfish. Growing up I was always told what I couldn’t or shouldn’t do rather than what I could do/be. Go figure that it took over 40 years for me to self-define and figure out what Loving mySelf was/is really about?!?

Today Loving mySelf is quite simple…whatever brings me Joy and makes me truly Happy is Loving mySelf! Walking my dogs on the beach every morning …collecting sand dollars and heart-shaped rocks ~ makes my heart sing! Getting a manicure and pedicure makes me feel pampered and cared for…taking a bath in ancient essential oils in candle light makes me feel divinely feminine …being okay with saying “No” to someone or something…or conversely, daring to say “Yes” to something that I really deserve and desire ~ such as going to Africa, Europe, going scuba diving in some far off exotic location or buying new lingerie… Doing and Being exactly Who I Am…rather than what others expect of me…not needing approval… No excuses…explanations or apologies!

The first half of my Life was filled with self doubt and guilt! There would be stolen moments and temporary insanity when I would run off and do something crazy like go on a shopping spree, or steal away for a long weekend for a romantic interlude. But by golly the guilt and self-recrimination was more than I could stand! How could I possibly do something so self-centered as to buy a bunch of new clothes? And how could you possibly just run off with some guy for a long weekend and forget about your responsibilities (not to mention that nice girls don’t do things like that!)?!? These were all the voices in my head…the tape that constantly ran. Everything tinged with Guilt and Remorse …the voice and prattle were always the same…you don’t deserve to be happy or be fully alive. I Am a better person for having persevered and transformed these dark times into Jewels of Wisdom…the guilt has been replaced with Grace…remorse replaced with the Real-I-zation that I Am Beautiful Being In & Out!!

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Showing 4 comments
  • Sherry

    My self love low is when I settle for less from men. I will meet guys that don’t want me and I try to convence them that I am a good woman. Than I would tell myself that it’s their lose, but deep down I am hurt, because these men don’t want me. My self love high is that I realize I am happy to be single and I don’t have to wrong about drama in my life. I am so happy when I am relaxing listening to music( jazz and old school) and reading my books.

  • Christine Arylo

    HI Sherry – Thanks so much for your post! What I hear in what you are saying is that you are in love with you when you are connected to you, and you are in the self love dumpster when you are trying to connect with men that don’t want to connect with you. Almost like jumping into the dumpster just to be with them. And who needs that 🙂 Your music and your books are great life lines to call on whenever you feel tempted to jump into the self love dumpster. I use music myself – India Arie is my favorite hit of ME Love Ju Ju.

  • Kelly 45

    My self hatred and low self esteem took almost everything but my life from me. Now slowly as I change behaviours I can feel some amount of self respect. but now again I am going thru a rough period. I am estranged from almost everyone in my family and I feel angry and hurt. Except for my eldest daughter (and my eldest niece) from various things that have occured lately. My self loathing has returned, at times I feel I don’t deserve my eldest daughters love and that she would be better off away from me.
    My thinking is still pretty sick. That is why I searched out this site. I believe I can change and I want my daughter to know she can love herself rather than be like me.
    I will be practicing and reading ways to learn to love myself so I can stop from being angry and feeling so much pain.

  • Christine Arylo

    Kelly – Thank you so much for your honesty and your vulnerability. Why is it that the person we often hate most is the beautiful girl we are inside? Your blog and and words I have been hearing in my own head this week and from my clients are inspiring me to make week #4 of the Summer of Self-Love all about treating ourselves like we would the people we love most. What would you tell your daughter or a close friend if she had told you what you just shared with us?
    i honor your journey of falling in love with you… you are beautiful, and you deserve to be loved, by yourself and everyone in your life.
    with big heart,
    Christine

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