At the end of January I went through the bookshelves in my house looking for some good reading material on the topic of self love. I came up with some strange sources, but somehow they all fit together and I'm learning a lot. Here's what I found:
- The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm: This man is a genius. I've been reading and re-reading the section on self love and selfishness.
- Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou: This woman is powerful. She is my role model and hero.
- Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Lives of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher: This book is amazing and I can't wait to read the whole thing! I've skipped around a bit but what I've read so far has corresponded with what I'm reading in Alice Miller.
- How Good Do We Have to Be? by Harold S. Kushner: I chose this book because I struggle with guilt. The book also focuses on allowing others to be less than perfect, which is something I need to hear. I've been expressing my self hate through criticism of others and this book is helping me to address that.
- The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller: I hesitate to admit that I'm reading this because it's a book that focuses on the damage caused to children's psyche and self esteem by their parents. I'm not reading it so that I can blame my problems on my parents. I'm reading it so that I can recognize one of the sources of my self hatred and learn how to fix it.
- Solitude: A Return to the Self by Anthony Storr: For months I've been trying to learn to be okay with being alone.
- Gala Darling: http://www.galadarling.com/
- Positively Present: http://www.positivelypresent.com/2011/02/learn-to-love-yourself-unconditionally.html
- Vivienne McMaster: http://viviennemcmaster.squarespace.com/blog/2011/1/29/14-days-of-self-love.html
So far I've learned that I have denied the existence of many aspects of myself because I was taught that they are not okay. As a result, I don't know myself. I probably find it hard to love myself because I have never fully let myself be. Like most human beings, I regularly put on a front and hope that it's pleasing enough for everyone around me. That front is extremely uncomfortable! I'm working on exploring the parts of myself that I've missed. I bet there's a bunch of cool stuff in this head of mine waiting to be discovered.
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting." -e.e. cummings