If there is one person we will find it so hard to love, it may be ourselves. We can give best advice to siblings or friends. We can spend hours counselling them. It’s easy to talk nicely when they face tough time. We don’t mind staying behind them and patting their backs. We are around them when they need supporters. Through thick and thin, we may say so.
At least in my own experience, I can’t do those things for myself as easily as I do to my friends or my sister. I always have something to complain about myself. When mornings come, sometimes a mirror that stands across my bed becomes the thing I mostly avoid. The wrinkles on my forehead, the black spots all over my face or acne scars that stain my face. Or increasing grey hairs that clearly show up whenever I look at myself in the mirror.
As you grow older, you can’t deny the fact that all those youthful signs are no longer there. You can’t escape your body is getting weaker and uglier, physically. Some months ago, whenever I came to realize the facts, I turned my attention to pricey creams, makeups or fancy dresses to fake my actual age. My favourite one was an eye cream because I was ashamed with black, dark circles around my eyes. I changed some eye creams, from an eyeroll to eye cream. I applied the factory-made product and natural one alternately. There were moments when I cursed the black circles. I got irritated when some friends directly talked about the black circles once we met. They advised me to get enough sleep and avoid excessive working.
I told them that I sleep well every night and not everyday is about overtime working. I wish I could explain to them that the dark circles prove that I did work super hard when I was a university student and some years that followed. What else could I do other than that? I had to work hard to survive for myself and my family. I was a breadwinner at that time. And working as a junior journalist was very difficult for me. Lack of sleeping and incessant thinking were my best buddies on a daily basis. I passed all the storms but, of course, they came with a hefty price.
I had no time to take care my physical appearance and the most apparent sign appears from my eyes. There were moments when I felt unconfident with my eyes, especially when meeting with some special people. I kept trying to fix the dark circles until I realized it was like chasing after my own tail. Yes, some products reduced the blackness level of the dark circles but that didn’t last long.
I thank Allah swt that He gave me much difficult problems than dealing with the dark circles. As I repeatedly shared in this blog, passing through a devastating heartbreak last year then making peace with the scars gives me priceless lessons I hadn’t expected.
I have come up clean, peaceful and stronger than ever. After four months of intense emotional earthquake, I realized one precious lesson. That indeed there came easiness amidst our difficulties. During those troublesome moments, it was only Him who stood beside me. It was only Allah swt who consoled me, strengthened and motivated me to keep going no matter what. Indeed, if you ask me how did I survive through it all? I would answer that I don’t know how. I went through the days doing what I needed to do. I took care of my body and my heart. Most of the days, those things didn’t come in handy. I had to drag my feet coming to Gelora Bung Karno stadium, for example. I had to fight temptations for reading or working. Whenever I managed doing so, I felt so relieved. I realized that it was His help that guided me through it all. He made things easy although I had to fight utmost for around four months.
And through the heartbreaks, I felt so close to Him. I felt how much He loved me and wanted nothing but good things for me. His love was extremely and incredibly genuine and immeasurable. Bit by bit, I attempted to love Him back although that won’t ever pay Him what He has done for me.
As I started doing so, I became softer to myself. I realized how harsh I had been to myself. I put too much burden upon my shoulders. I didn’t thank myself enough for all hard efforts that we did in every single aspect of our life. I beat myself down too frequently.
This wasn’t the first time I tried to love myself. Somewhere in 2012, I firstly came across to practice this self-love. But I didn’t start it off by thanking let alone loving Him. This turned me into a very selfish human being. I applied the me-myself-and-I motto then the result was agonizing.
After the efforts of loving Him back did I know how harmful can a baseless self-love be. Only by putting His affection above else then I understand a self-love is as wonderful and amazing thing I can do to myself. There are no things as feeling guilty or too-much provided that I can put it in a good balance.
For sure, thanking Allah swt is the door for unstoppable, best love we can give to ourselves. That way brings back our perspective that He is the Source of all genuine love. That He takes care our body and mind and how can we betray His trust?
Fulfilling His trust He bestows upon us is actually His invitation to love ourselves.