Understanding Radical Self-Love: A Letter

Radical Self-Love

This is one of my favourite emails I have ever received, so I asked the writer if I could share it with you. Luckily, she said yes. I have received so many emails about radical self-love lately, so you will be excited to hear that I’m going to be doing another radical self-love intensive throughout the month of February! More details to come! I can’t wait!

Hi, Gala,

I’ve never actually written a letter to a blogger about their writing before, although I read a ton of blogs. But I have been thinking a lot about self love lately, and all of a sudden I felt like I needed to email you and let you know that I finally understand what you were talking about during Radical Self Love month last year.

I have never been an unhappy person, and I have never lacked self-confidence in any serious or debilitating way. I think this is why, for so long, I have comfortably trundled along, reading about how to love yourself and never quite understanding it. When you hosted radical self love month last year, I followed along, I did the exercises (more or less), and I thought it was a great idea. Why shouldn’t we feel good about ourselves!? But I have to say, while I appreciated the idea, but I never felt passionate about it. I felt okay with myself, and that was good enough, right!?

I should also say that for the last year and a half I have been in what some people would call an unhealthy relationship. It wasn’t abusive, really, but one of those where my friends would see how he treated me and… wonder. They weren’t concerned, but there was a sense of discomfort about the way he acted towards me. We were forever on and off, sleeping together and not, not fighting, but sometimes just not speaking. It was like a constant cat-and-mouse game. And I was still happy enough. He was (still is) a good person in a lot of ways – funny, talented, gorgeous, with a good heart.

But these last few months, things got worse and worse, and we broke up not once, but twice. Truthfully, he broke up with me. Both times. I know, right!? The first time I was devastated. When he came back to me and told me he was so sorry and that he was in love with me and had been wrong – I believed him. And then things fell apart again. I went to bed the night of our second break up feeling sad and annoyed and confused…

And I woke up the next morning feeling FREE. Relieved. It took me a year and a half to realize that just because a person is good on paper does not always mean they are good for you. Something finally clicked for me, and instead of feeling heartbroken again, I feel like I have been given a second chance at finding out who I am.

Since then, I have realized how much turmoil he caused me and how much I had come to need his opinions, support, and approval. And that had led me to need everyone’s help. I had been so frantic and concerned about what others thought about me and my decisions and my relationship that I had forgotten how to figure out how I felt about my life! I didn’t know how to feel good without someone telling me.

All of this is an incredibly round about way of saying – thank you! I finally, finally am beginning to understand what it means to love yourself on a real level. I have started making decisions for myself because I know they are right, without asking my friends, lovers, or family. I signed up for a marathon next fall and I have gone back to yoga classes because they make me feel strong and calm, feelings I had completely lost while dating my ex-boyfriend. Most importantly, I am thinking about giving up sex until I run my marathon next fall – not because I don’t like it, but because I think I have been having it for the wrong reasons. Sex has always been there to help me get what I want, to reassure me, to make myself feel better, to make my partner feel good (without regard to my own pleasure). The next time I have it, I want it to be about love – or just lust! – without any ulterior motives. And so I am taking a break to focus on finding out who I am and what I love and what I want, before I take that step again.

This is just the beginning – I feel like there are so many possibilities for me now that I have realized all this, and I plan on going back and rereading all the radical self love posts to inspire myself. I am hoping you can do another post or two this February as a reminder to all your readers about how important it is to KNOW yourself and LOVE the person you are, because realizing this has been such a big deal for me. I feel happier than I have been in months, and I feel so excited about life.

I hope you are having a wonderful January – I am using the month to dream up all sorts of new ideas and passions, just like you, and I appreciate your constantly positive outlook. It really helps.