No one ever taught me how to love me. Maybe this is why for the longest time, I didn’t. Growing up, my mother and father didn’t speak of these things. There were few “I love you’s” even though they did love me. They rarely said it to one another, if at all.
It may be cultural. My parents are from the Dominican Republic and I have spoken to other Dominican friends who’ve experienced the same throughout their childhood. Few words of affirmation but actions, yes, actions that proved love was plentiful.
Mami always took care of us. We were well fed and soothed. She is a nurturer. And that’s how she showed us love.
But, when you’ve never had an open dialogue about love – how to love and express love – it makes it that much more difficult to love yourself and others.
Maybe that’s why loving myself hasn’t always been easy.
It’s been a struggle, actually. Mostly because of my father’s abandonment, which affected my sense of self-worth. There was a time I couldn’t even say “I love you.”
How could I feel love for self or others if I couldn’t even say the word?
My self-love journey is not over. I have improved, realizing that I am indeed lovable. I see myself as I am, faults and all, and embrace them all, constantly working on myself to be the best Sujeiry that I can be. I feel ready to receive love, though it has been a while since I have felt the love of a man. I feel ready to commit fully, though my last relationship was very much a facade. Knowing these things is half the battle. Being honest with myself is a start.
Today, I love me more than ever. And I know that in time, the love of my life will love me just as much as I love him. Because I am ready to receive. Because I truly love me.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons