Through self-love, you have the power to set yourself free.

Bethany Wood
Jul 30 · 5 min read
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Loving yourself is the one thing that no one else and no role can give to you. It’s something that you alone have power over in your life.

There will be those who try to steal that power from you. Those who even manage to force you to relinquish that power for a period of time. Those same people will use that loss of your own power against you. There are those who are so good at manipulation that you freely hand the key to your self-worth over to them, unaware that it’s not something another person can keep safe for you. In fact, it’s not even something that can be contained in a locked cage by any power other than yourself. You see, your self-worth is something that comes from within. You alone have unlimited capabilities of unlocking the hidden places within yourself, the only key truly necessary is self-love.

I know. It seems too simple, too trivial sometimes to just say “Love yourself to set yourself free.” The simplest truths usually are the most complicated for some reason. The easiest kind of truth to ignore is the one staring you in the face. Or should I say, the easiest person to ignore at times is the one that looks back at you in the mirror every single day.

Why is this? Maybe as emotional beings, with complex inner worlds, we think the answer to our emotional distress should be as complicated as the circumstances that created it. Or perhaps it’s our pride. If the answer were as simple as loving yourself, wouldn’t you have set yourself free a long time ago? Ah. Remember, loving yourself is a simple truth. I didn’t say it was easy. Simple and easy are not always the same thing.

Trauma, abuse, and difficult life circumstances are especially good at taking away our ability to see ourselves clearly. Often, trauma occurs at times in our lives when we haven’t even had time to figure out who we are, or how to protect and love ourselves fully.

I have dedicated a lot of the last five years of my life to the journey of self-reflection, self-love, and health. I’ve come to realize that loving yourself isn’t something you learn overnight. Like most self-reflection practices, it takes time, energy, dedication, support, and resources. I’ve also accepted, that perhaps loving yourself isn’t something to be mastered or an achievement to be conquered. I think it comes in waves. Sometimes softly, rolling towards us slowly. Sometimes powerfully, crashing over us in moments that are as overwhelming and disorienting, as they are beautiful.

Sometimes it takes years of self-reflection to get to a place of being at peace with yourself and holding space to love yourself deeply. That place can seem unreachable at times, but all those years are built from months, weeks, days, and all the little moments that make them up. The ordinary and the big moments. And so I’ve learned…to love myself through each moment as best as I can. And when I have a moment, a day, a week, a month where I fail to love myself the way that I know I’m capable of, there’s always another moment ahead in which to start again.

I was recently doing some self-reflection and listening to a beautiful song by Maggie Rogers called “Fallingwater”. Some of the lyrics of the song really stood out to me:

Hold on

I thought that I was doing so well

Oh, like everything was under a spell

Now it’s getting harder

I never loved you fully in the way I could

I fought the current running just the way you would

And now I’m in the creek

And it’s getting harder

I’m like fallingwater

Go on

And tell me just how I could allow

All that’s light to end up somehow

Where it’s getting darker

I never loved you fully in the way I could

I fought the current running just the way you would

And now I’m in the creek

I never gave you everything I wish I could

And I’m like fallingwater

Set me free

To me, this song tells a powerful story of how we get really good at hiding away the damaged parts of ourselves. Eventually, keeping those traumas from the past hidden away or locked up becomes really difficult. We often fight the current of self-love, but that grows harder. We start to realize that we never loved ourselves fully in the way that we could. But it’s still possible, here and now, to give yourself the things you wish you could have at another time in your life.

If you allow that current of love for yourself to sweep you along and bring to light the areas you kept locked away for so long, you will find that you have the power to set yourself free.

These are some of the building blocks for learning to love yourself:

o Keep the lines of communication open with your mind, body, and spirit. (Journaling, meditation, yoga, dance, movement, contemplation, nature)

o Speak kindly to yourself. (Positive self-talk, affirmations)

o Encourage & Inspire. (Dream, invent, create, manifest, expose yourself to beauty, spark joy, learn new things, stay open to new possibilities)

o Take care of yourself. (Eat healthy, nourish your body, sleep, exercise, stress relief)

o Ask for help. (Therapy, healthy relationships & friendships, health coach, mentor, support group, recovery programs)

Some of my favorite books for self-reflection:

o “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho — Fiction/Coming of Age, Self-discovery

o “The Fire Starter Sessions” by Danielle LaPorte — Creating success on your own terms

o “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown — Letting go of Shame, perfectionism & embracing whole hearted living.

o “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown — Courage to be vulnerable

o “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown — Getting back up after failing or going through a hard time

o “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown — True Belonging & Courage to Stand alone

o “Self Compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself” by Kristin Neff, PhD — Self-Compassion, Self-Love, Emotional Healing

And remember, having compassion for yourself is a journey. If you embrace it, you can transform your deepest struggles, heartaches, and battles into your biggest catalysts for powerful change.

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”

- Terri St. Cloud

Bethany Wood

Written by

Helping people transform their relationship with food & their bodies. www.bethanywoodhealthcoach.com ,IG & Twitter: bethanywood.healthcoach & @BHealthcoach

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