“If you don’t love yourself, nobody else is going to love you”.
I bought into this idea right from the moment I began my self-compassion journey, because right around that time, there was a man with whom I was madly in love. So obviously this quote became my mantra, my prayer, my hope, my clarity. I was convinced that if I did everything right, he’d be mine; He’d be my answered prayer.
So I read all the books, did all the things, breathed all the breaths, made peace with my body, said all the sorrys. I wanted him to be my refuge, the place in which i found solace when i couldn’t find home even within me. And after doing all that work, still, he didn’t want me. Still, there was someone else, someone better, someone more worthy. He didn’t see me, and it broke me. But in the midst of heartbreak of rejection I realized something. People are not your trophy, your reward for being good to yourself. Holding on to that quote as your measure of progress in self-Love is setting yourself up for disaster. Because you will do all the work necessary, and still there will be people who don’t love you, who can’t love you, who in fact will hate you because you now love you.
I say this to you not as a story of tragedy, but to encourage you to make a home of yourself. To seek self-love for its own sake. Your survival, your happiness, your self-worth, are all valuable outside of your ability to find or keep someone. Make a home of yourself, the place in which you find solace, because you are inescapable. No more trying to find someone else to lay your sorrows at their feet, to wait for them to sing songs of glory and magic, because you’re the one you’re waiting for.
What would it be like to feel at home in you own body, with your own thoughts. To choose yourself and make yourself a cause worthy of dying for. You’ve already been waging a war anyway, why not stop being the enemy to decimate, and declare unwavering patriotism to you?
What would it feel like to stop being a refugee of your own body? To declare a truce? To come home to you? To make magic out of your own ruins?
Because even after you’ve found someone who feels like all the wild prayers you never believed in, there will still be a time when they forget to love you, don’t know how to love you, or aren’t able to love you even if for a brief moment, or a few days, or weeks. You have to know how to come home to you, learn how to belong to yourself. Because wherever you go, there you are. Always.
Do you feel at home?
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.