Is there a point at which self-acceptance shifts itself into self-love, or is that change something I can do more to work on? Not forgetting the key component of course, self-compassion. The dictionary definition of compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" – flipping that to the self, is self-compassion where self-love and self-acceptance combine?
I think I have been learning how to accept myself more positively. The new year has seen a shift in my mood, reaching all-time highs in my Moodscope score and hovering consistently pretty far above my average for a few weeks now. Maybe January brought, like it can to so many of us, feelings of new beginnings; maybe working on the same stuff week in, week out for 12 months has helped to loosen some of my "stuff".
This week though there have been times when I have slipped into a more familiar form of acceptance. "You're just lazy and ugly and will be alone forever so you might as well accept it" – those recognisable thoughts. Looking in the mirror is hard; I know that if anyone can love and accept me it should be me. I want it to be me. And if I can't... why would anyone else? Of course, I then made it worse by looking through old photos going back 15 years and viscerally remembering feeling so unattractive and worthless in 90% of them. Some of them I see now through the eyes of today Lucy and think "Actually, she was beautiful. What a life I have wasted... or maybe I wasn't beautiful because no one else saw it or was in love with me then either". (Hello, familiar thought loops!).
This is more positive than it sounds, I promise!! I now know, understand and accept that these thoughts are my "brain-spam", not the "real me". But loving them... that feels different to welcoming them in. I'm not sure how far I am down that path to loving them.
I do know that self-love and self-compassion isn't easy (for some). I might have been terrible to myself over the years but that shouldn't mean I don't deserve love. That's the bit I'm working on believing. I might have been horrible to myself throughout the years but I want to believe I deserve love.
It scares me to think I do. But it scares me more to think I don't. This, now, is the darkness I've been afraid to be alone with. I've filled my life with things that do help to alleviate the sadness, but they don't give me what I now acknowledge I want... true love. From someone else. But also, from myself. I'm scared of the darkness. I don't know how big it is and I don't understand it. If it scares me this much how can I ever show it to someone else and expect them to love it? Maybe light really is the only way.
A Moodscope member.