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Love Yourself to Heal Yourself

love yourself

“We cannot heal what we don’t acknowledge.” When I hear the word “heal”, I automatically start thinking of times in my life where I experienced some form of sadness or heartache. It reminds me of trauma and loss. I begin reminiscing the points in my life where I felt unhappy because of the circumstances in my environment or from the impact of those around me.


What comes to your mind when you think of healing? Are you able to identify the different moments that left you broken? Do you believe you have nothing to heal from?



Healing requires awareness – of self, of others who impacted us negatively, and of situations that left a mark. Some of us block out the difficult times in our lives while others are in denial. Some of us think we have processed and healed failing to realize that healing does not have an end while others slap on a Band-Aid and move on to whatever’s next. Then, there are those who struggle to move forward and feel stuck, reliving the trauma memory and pain through their thoughts and emotions, unable to find a way out. There are also those who are unable to escape the people or situations that are causing the pain and find it difficult to leave the environment.


I often tell my students that all of us have experienced trauma at some points in our life. Trauma is the response you have as a result of a distressing or disturbing experience. If you think you are trauma free, then I encourage you to reflect on your life and think back on a time that has left a negative mark. Trauma shapes how we carry ourselves, our insecurities, our attachment styles, our interactions with others, and our healing. Another interesting concept is grief. Grief is the pain that comes with experiencing loss It looks different for everyone but we have all experienced it at one point or another. It may mean loss of a loved one or loss of a job or loss of self. It is not a linear process and appears unexpectedly. Often, trauma and grief are connected because you experience some form of loss as a result of a traumatic experience or the loss itself is the traumatic experience.


trauma triggers

Where there are trauma and grief, there are triggers. Trigger is a reaction we have to a stimulus, in this case related to our traumatic experience or grief. When we are triggered, our mind and body connect to give a negative reaction. Our reactions to those triggers are generally of fear, anger, shame, and anxiety. Physically, we experience shifts in our breathing, in our heart rate, in our muscles and posture, and in our body temperature. When we have awareness of our trauma and grief, we are able to have better awareness of pieces from those experiences and memories that have become our triggers. The triggers show up generally in our interaction with others or when we find ourselves in situations that remind us of a time where we felt unsafe and threatened.

For example, someone who has been in a car accident that was a near-death experience has a possibility of being traumatized from that incident and now is triggered from just getting in the car or driving on the same street or highway or by being near a truck that looks similar to the one that crashed into them. If the accident caused a physical injury, it further adds to the trauma and even the grief from any limitations experienced as a result. One of my close friends had an arm and shoulder injury from her accident a few years ago and she continues to struggle with the pain. Her arm mobility is also limited. Doctors are now saying that the only way she may be pain free is if she gets a should replacement. Another example is when a person has experienced emotional abuse due to being belittled about their insecurities, perhaps their body and weight, or has been talked to in a raised voice using hurtful words about their body and weight. If another person comes in and makes comments about body image, size, and weight, even when they are not directed towards the traumatized person, it could trigger them and cause them to react defensively or shut down. They either lose their voice or become reactive.


When a person is aware of their triggers they recognize what’s coming up for them in the moment and use tools to cope with the triggering moments in a healthy way.

So, what do you do when you become aware that something was traumatic or that you are grieving?


law of attraction

If we want to heal from losses and experience growth, we have to put energy and invest into that healing. The law of attraction says we attract what we focus on based on the energy we put into the universe. Whatever we think about and hold in our minds on a daily basis, becomes our reality, for better or for worse. So, as your read this, I want you to stop and take a moment to reflect. What are some thoughts and beliefs you hold that you carry with you on a consistent basis? Are these thoughts positive or negative? If they are positive thoughts, do you truly believe those thoughts to be true or do you struggle with accepting these to be true for you? If they are negative thoughts, are they true and based on evidence from your reality or do these exist as a result of the messages you have internalized from your trauma and grief?


Our thoughts create our reality. What we tell ourselves is correlated with what we believe and how we feel about ourselves. Along with awareness, healing from trauma and grief involves intentionality towards growth through self-love. Trauma leaves us in pieces. As a result, there are pieces about ourselves that we judge because we are ashamed or blame ourselves. When we judge ourselves, we do not fully accept ourselves and therefore, we do not love ourselves fully or feel whole. When we believe we are broken, we attract the triggers from those broken unhealed parts of ourselves that we judge and as a result continue the cycle of trauma.

When I finally recognized that one of my relationships was traumatizing for me due to the emotional abuse I experienced, I noticed how I felt about myself as a result and the behaviors I portrayed due to that trauma. I shut down or became defensive when I got triggered. I took on the behaviors of the person who impacted me negatively in the way I spoke. I believed the words that were said to me as true and began questioning myself. Most importantly, I lost sight of my true self, who I am, and my voice. I went through different emotions of anger, resentment, sadness, and anxiety. I blamed myself for not realizing the abuse sooner and putting myself in that situation in the first place. When I became aware of my trauma and triggers along with the negative impact that experience had on me, I also reflected on my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in that situation. The reflection led me to learn from that experience and focus on building myself to become whole again. I began to shift my behaviors to align with who I am and rediscover the part of me that shut down and was forgotten. I embraced and accepted myself and focused on things and people that brought me joy to enhance my love for myself.


self love

When we work on healing and self-love, we attract what we truly desire and which that brings us peace. So, what is self-love and how do you embrace and practice it?

Self-love refers to the practice of caring for, respecting, and accepting oneself unconditionally. This is when you recognize your worth, embrace strengths and weaknesses, and prioritize personal well-being and happiness. Self-love is crucial for overall mental, emotional, and physical health. It is the process of loving yourself in all areas of your life so that you heal to feel whole. Trauma makes you question your self-worth, lowers your self-esteem and confidence, impacts your interactions with people, and how you live your life. Self-love allows you to embrace yourself with your trauma, accept it as part of your narrative, and make peace with what happened while recognizing how it shaped you as you continue to be the best version of yourself. Self-love helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues by fostering a positive self-image and coping mechanisms. When you love yourself, you're better equipped to handle challenges and setbacks with grace and resilience. Self-love enables healthier boundaries and communication in relationships, leading to more fulfilling connections with others. Accepting and valuing yourself boosts confidence and self-esteem, allowing you to pursue goals and dreams with greater determination.  

Here are some ways to practice self-love:

1.     Practice self-care: Engage in activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.

2.     Set boundaries: Learn to say no to things that drain your energy or compromise your values, and prioritize activities and relationships that bring you joy and fulfillment.

3.     Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during times of difficulty or failure. Replace self-criticism with self-compassionate thoughts and actions.

4.     Cultivate gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of your life and express gratitude for your strengths, achievements, and blessings, no matter how small.

5.     Engage in activities you enjoy: Make time for hobbies, interests, and activities that bring you pleasure and allow you to express yourself creatively.

6.     Surround yourself with positivity: Seek out supportive and uplifting relationships, and limit exposure to negative influences such as social media or toxic environments.

7.     Practice mindfulness: Stay present in the moment and cultivate awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.

8.     Seek professional help if needed: If you're struggling with self-love or trauma and grief, don't hesitate to seek support from a therapist, counselor, or mental health professional.


self acceptance

Your trauma and grief are a part of you and you carry it everywhere you go. By choosing to heal through self-love, you will carry your healing energy with you instead of the energy that’s constantly triggered due to lack of awareness. Choose to explore, process, and heal. Choose to accept and love yourself. You will open up more and receive all the positives that the universe has to offer. 


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