The ability to love ourselves is layered, especially when we are impacted by negative experiences such as trauma. Your question poses more implications in your life than just self love.
Using the metaphor of an empty vase (you) being filled with different substances (components of self love), you can begin to understand that self-love is a process consisting of varying densities that fill us with the foundation we need to sustain our emotions. When trauma (abuse) has occured that affects the way we view ourselves, we must release that energy to restore balance. We must pour out what was occupying our vase that didn't serve us and then fill our vase with non-judgemental unconditional positive regard for ourselves.
The process of filling our vase can come in many forms such as: changing our response to the trauma/previous abuse endured, learning how to create and maintain healthy boundaries, creating a clear understanding of our core values and principles, and choosing to embrace personal growth and self-improvement.
1. Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries helps to protect, preserve, and respect yourself. Even though boundaries can change throughout a lifetime and through different relationships, the importance of forming boundaries remains the same.
2. Creating a clear understanding of core values and principles helps ground you and align your vision to who you are as a person and how to set and accomplish goals. Abuse has the tendency to skew or compromise the way we enforce our values and principles. The act(s) of abuse can lead to confusion of who you are, what is happening, and what you can do to survive. Along the way, your values and principles can become hidden, you may lose clarity, and you can end up feeling stuck and overwhelmed.
3. Choosing to embrace personal growth and self-improvement can include exploring bonding patterns and attachment styles, increasing self-realization and self-value, and utilizing coping strategies to reclaim your personal power. By exploring attachment and bonding, you can work through abuse that may have left you feeling unlovable, yet still wanting to be loved.
With the right therapist, you can be supported in the journey of refilling your vase.
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