I recently finished my counselling sessions (over the phone) and one of the main things my therapist noted was how much happier and at peace I seemed with myself. I have battled with crippling insecurity and low self-esteem for years, ever since I was sexually abused when I was younger, and it has been a long journey to learn to love myself again. I never would have thought it would take a world pandemic to give me the push I needed, but it seems that having all this extra time to myself, to not only work on self-care but to also be able to be with my husband and children all the time, has helped me to realise how well I am doing, how far I have come and how loving myself is not conceited, it is necessary to grow, and to fully love others.
I still have some insecurities, I think everybody does, deep down, but my confidence has grown over the past few months, and I am feeling really good about myself, my life choices and where I am now. Sure, I would rather we weren’t in lockdown, but being in lockdown has given me the opportunity to get off of that merry go round and take stock of myself in a way that just wasn’t possible before. It has given me the chance to slow down, to unwind and stop taking things for granted. I have grown to love parts of my life that I didn’t even consider before, the fact that we live in a house with a garden, the fact that Ed and I are able to provide food for our family and have the skills to be able to cook with limited ingredients available, where necessary.
I have found a new respect for my body, rather than just criticising it. I have been working on my fitness, not to lose weight, but to feel stronger. I can feel the improvement every time I head outside for a walk, every time I run around in the garden after the kids. I may not be that big in size, but my fitness was at an all time low before lockdown. I would run out of breath simply walking up the stairs, which isn’t healthy. I am grateful for so much more than I was before, and it has helped me to feel good about myself for the first time in a long time. I am no longer berating myself for not doing ‘all the things’, I am taking time to do the things I actually want to do. I am reading more, lying down and taking five minutes to myself more. I am well aware that these things were harder to achieve before lockdown, where life was going at a faster pace, where things would get in the way, so for this I am grateful to lockdown, for what it has done for my mental wellbeing.
Learning to love myself is something I have wanted to do for years. Being hung up on my own insecurities, not being able to feel I deserve any achievements I have made, has really held me back. Although this isn’t an ideal situation to be in right now, for me I am looking at the silver lining of being able to take the time to work on myself, and for that I am grateful for this strange and uncertain time.