Self Love. Self Care. Treatin’ Yo Self. Whatever you call it, we’ve all heard it before. I’m sure we all have our own version of what it means too. To some, self love is buying a new outfit/pair of shoes/purse when we get paid after a long hard week of life. Of course, self love/self care is going to look different for everyone depending on the situation and the person. But regardless, its a necessary part of life that needs to be done. For me, I think self love is something that’s literally forced on me. I never really go looking to practice self care, but the need for it just arrives in a forceful, obvious way. I know, it sounds kind of crazy, but let me explain it.
One of my biggest life fears is to end up alone. I’m terrified of the idea of loneliness and just thinking that I could end up by myself later in life makes me sick to my stomach. I think it’s just the way I’m hardwired, but loneliness has always been able to shake me to the core. So, I’ve noticed that when it’s time to practice some self love and self care, God conveniently puts me in a position to where I feel alone. And, it’s not your normal type of loneliness. I’m talking the type of alone that eats you up (or, maybe it only feels that bad to me). For example, at the beginning of this semester, I was literally alone. My roommate is studying abroad and living her best life in Spain right now, which is amazing. She sends me pictures all the time and it looks fantastic. But, when she left, it was just me in our 3 bedroom apartment. When I would come home from class, no one was there. The apartment was super empty and quiet, and I didn’t know what to do to make it feel less lonely. And yes, I had friends that I would hang out with, but it wasn’t the same as someone being there. So, for a few days, I had some deep feelings of hopelessness.
After I cried for a couple hours, I had this funny feeling that I had been here before. Almost like a deja-vu moment. And, that’s when I knew that it was time to start practicing some self care. I knew I had to do something to pull myself out of my rut. So I started to write in my journal. I would write letters to God and tell Him everything I was feeling. I wrote letters to other people. I wrote letters to myself trying to encourage myself out of my loneliness. Sometimes I would read those letters out loud so I could really hear what I was feeling too. For me, I HAVE to put what I’m feeling in words to make it more real so I can deal with them. Because I feel like it’s easy to say “Oh, I feel sad today”, but how sad? Do I feel something more than sadness? Am I angry too? Then, all of these questions usually lead to me figuring out the cause of this sadness, angry, frustration, etc. I also turned to the gym to try to encourage myself. The gym has always been a sort of sanctuary for me because when I work out, the only thing I’m focusing on is the exercise I’m doing. It helps me to clear my mind when there’s a million and one things running through it.
Now, the feelings of loneliness have drastically subsided. I got a new roommate so I’m not physically alone at my apartment anymore. That has helped a lot. But when I start to feel alone mentally or emotionally, I write another letter. This morning, for example, I wrote a letter to my future husband and family and I told them how much I love and cherish them since its Valentine’s Day. I also wrote a letter reminding myself to always remember that I’m never alone, even if it feels like I am. Some days are better than others, but I’m really trying to let go of this fear of loneliness. Because in reality, I’m not alone. God is ALWAYS there and He’s blessed me with a great support system who I can reach out to if I need them. So, if you’ve ever dealt with these feelings of loneliness like me, know that you’re not alone and I encourage you to try doing whatever you do for self-care to work through those feelings.