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I Didn't Know I Was the Abuser: A Journey of Self-Love and Discovery

By: Holly Allen

"Embrace your worth and celebrate yourself – you are enough!" Self-love is a buzzword these days, almost as ubiquitous as self-care. Yet, despite its prevalence, the depth and complexity of self-love often remain unexplored, leaving many of us puzzled about what it truly means to love ourselves.

My own journey into the realm of self-love was not what I initially expected. I entered this world thinking I understood self-affection and self-respect, only to realize I was standing at the very edge of a profound transformation. This journey, this revelation, was about recognizing I was not just the victim, but also the abuser – of myself.

The Revelation: I Was My Own Abuser For years, I prided myself on being a loving, giving person. As a fitness coach, I was always on the receiving end of kind words and appreciation from my clients. Yet, in the privacy of my own mind, I was anything but kind to myself. The realization hit me during a seemingly mundane moment - trying on clothes with my sister. My negative self-talk, spoken aloud, brought tears to her eyes.

Her words, “Would you say that to me?” echoed in my mind, unveiling the harsh truth of my self-abuse. Mental Abuse: The Invisible Enemy Mental abuse is often subtle, a quiet whisper in our minds that wears down our self-esteem. It can manifest as unreasonable demands we place on ourselves, a constant stream of criticism, or even gaslighting our own perceptions and feelings. This form of abuse does not discriminate – it can be external or internal, directed at others or, as in my case, at ourselves.

The Game-Changer: A Shift in Perspective The pivotal moment with my sister was a wake-up call. It forced me to confront the harshness of my internal dialogue. Was I inspiring myself with this criticism, or was I merely tearing myself down? The answer was clear: It was time for a change. Flipping the Script: From Critic to Champion The journey to self-love is about flipping the script. It involves transforming the language we use with ourselves, from harsh criticism to compassionate encouragement.

It's about replacing the 'mean girl' voice with a nurturing, supportive one. This shift didn’t happen overnight for me. It started with small compliments and gradually built into deeper, more meaningful affirmations. Then, I took a deep dive into Mirror Work that changed it all! Loving Myself: A Continuous Journey Today, I stand before you, not at my ideal size or fitness level, but more in love with myself than ever.

This journey taught me that self-love isn't about the physical aspects – it's about accepting and appreciating ourselves as we are, in this very moment. You Are Enough: Embracing Self-Love If you're struggling with self-love, remember, the first step is awareness. Recognize the negative self-talk and actively work to replace it with positivity.

Celebrate yourself without conditions, for you are enough just as you are. The Takeaway: Love Yourself, Unconditionally Self-love is a powerful journey, one that can transform your life. It's about turning off the inner abuser and becoming your own biggest cheerleader. As you embark on this journey, remember, you are worthy of love and celebration, just as you are. Shine bright, lovely! Xo Holly Starr


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