Here’s the thing about living in today’s world; most of us (at least the bravest souls) have past versions of ourselves out there floating around in the digital realm.
I have catalogues of untouched photos on Facebook from my college days, Instagram posts on a personal account I still (try to) maintain to keep some sort of visual record of my friends, family, and travels, and most importantly; my writing.
Often, I’ll see one of those photos resurface, and feel a warm sense of gratitude wash over me for that moment in my life and the people I was able to experience it with. Many times, it’s also followed by a slight gnawing pang as I catch a glimpse of truth in my eyes through the smile and remember the story the lens couldn’t capture, the self I didn’t fully love.
My writing was also able to somehow capture this pang but instead of it going unseen in the pixels from the lens it lived in the whitespaces between the lines.
But I came to this realization the other day. Those versions, like past lovers, were all leading me to the self I love now. To rephrase; the self I know how to love now. Those pains were just pointing me to where I wasn’t free. To the work I needed to do.
If I look at all of the past romantic relationships I’ve held, whether for 6 days, 6 months, or 16 years, they were all repeating messages to me that I needed to hear. Most of it, like the light the lens can’t capture and the space between the lines, was unseen but it was felt.
They were just stepping stones along the path of learning how to love. Each a teacher patiently leading me back to those lessons I needed to repeat and allowing me to grow into and graduate from the ones I successfully embodied.
Learning to love yourself is no different. You have to step into the process, bravely, and allow the teacher to show up. Allow yourself to learn to love by doing. By feeling your way through the unseen and the uncertainty. And by remembering that at the end of the day, it’s a relationship. One that requires many past versions, a whole lot of compassion, understanding, honesty, and a continual commitment to the process. An everlasting commitment to becoming the best version of yourself.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.