For the first time since I can remember, I came across this photo of myself and actually liked who I saw. Before, I had seen pictures of me I thought were flattering, but I didn’t like the person in those pictures. Now I like myself, the way I like my close friends. When I look at this image, and all my images as of late, I see someone I value. Someone whose inner beauty is shining through. I told my husband I saw myself the way I see Jen Hatmaker. I see Jen (can I call you Jen?) as someone who fully loves and accepts herself and those around her for who she is. Her self-love and acceptance is palpable, even through images and videos. I’m starting to see myself in the same light. Recognizing this feeling and wanting everyone else in the world to experience this kind of self-love and acceptance is my motivation for my next book.
In the introduction to my first book,* The No Bullshit Guide to Living Your Best Life, I explain to the readers that my main goal in putting that book out there was to help people. Tonight, nearly a year later, I asked myself “Help people what?” The answer brought me to tears
I want to help people who don’t feel loved to feel loved.
I sat and cried on that for a while. I cried for the little girl who was abused and neglected by those she trusted most. I cried for the kids who had to grow up far too young. I cried for the boy who craved his dad’s approval, but instead received his shame. I cried for my childhood, and maybe yours too.
I cried for all the married women who feel desperately alone in their relationships. I cried for all the people who live underneath a mask. I cried for all the people who don’t know what true love and acceptance feels like. I cried for the 36 years I lived without knowing what true love and acceptance felt like. I cried for all the years I spent not loving me. Which is what brings me here.
Being unable to love myself was the root of all my problems.
I was incapable of realizing it all starts with self-love because I didn’t love myself back then. I struggled throughout the entire writing process. There were days, weeks even months where I did not feel worthy of writing a book. My self-doubts and fears got the best of me, time and again. It wasn’t until I finished writing that I realized it wasn’t a self-help book at all, rather, a self-love book. I don’t know if I achieved my goal on any level with my first book, probably because I haven’t published it.
These days, my desire to help people feel loved is stronger than ever. Maybe it’s because I finally love and accept myself. Maybe it’s because I figured out the secret to happiness is self-love? Or maybe it’s Maybelline? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m glad to be here, pouring my heart out one blog post at a time.
Writing is how I express myself. It’s who I am. Talking about these deep and heavy topics, sharing in others hurts, it’s literally my passion. I used to think that was pretty twisted, then I met my friend Jaime, who is basically an expert on death, and now I feel less twisted. Unfortunately for me, I am an expert on suffering. I was classically trained in childhood trauma. I have my Master’s Degree from the School of Hard Knocks. Is that line too much? Maybe, but I’m leaving it.
This is not a pity party. It’s simply me, owning my story.
I never felt love. Not from my parents, my siblings, or even my husband. I knew they loved me. I just couldn’t feel it. Partly due to their inability to show it, but mostly, my inability to feel it.
My heart was covered in armor. It was so thick and had been there for so long, I didn’t recognize it for what it was. I thought my armor was my heart. All the love I had inside my heart couldn’t get out passed the armor. And only a fraction of the love poured my way could get through all the layers of protection I acquired over the years.
Through much heartache. I’ve come to learn that self-love is the root of all self-help.
We can do all the right things but if self-love doesn’t develop, we can’t fully improve.
The best way to help yourself is to love yourself. And that’s why I’m here. Let my battle scars be breadcrumbs for you as you journey toward whole hearted living, which consists of fully loving and accepting yourself for the amazing, beautiful, flawed human you are.