So I want to start by saying congratulations to everyone that has realized that loving each other starts with loving ourselves. I was at a point in my life when I didn’t know what I truly liked, what I didn’t like, what made me smile or what made me disappointed. I had lived my life under the standards of others.

I was the ultimate people pleaser. Anytime someone asked me what I wanted at a drive-thru, or restaurant, I wouldn’t know what to say or think. I felt awkward and strange in group settings, thinking that everyone just thought I was weird and I felt I didn’t have anything to add to conversation. Then I would go home and replay the conversations in my head over and over thinking of things I should have said instead of what came out of my mouth.

Living with the weight on my shoulders that my family name was on my back. That my example would make or brake my family name was more than what I could bare.

Eventually all of this along with past childhood trauma (a blog for another day) caused me to have a mental break in my early twenties. As a child I learned how to disassociate from my body as a coping skill. So in my early twenties I was an expert at detaching from reality, in turn my thoughts, words and actions were on auto-pilot.

One day, I drove my aunts van to church and I originally planned on parking on the street in front of the church. Then I remembered that people had been getting ticketed for parking there, so I decided to park behind the church. Well, I did exactly that, then went into church. After an hour and forty-five minutes, I came out and didn’t see the van. I started to panic because I remembered parking the van in front of the church.

In my panic, I started to think, “Why would someone steal a mini-van?”, “there are plenty of more expensive, better looking cars. And wait, how did they drive it away, I have the keys?!?…” I frantically searched my purse to make sure I had the keys and didn’t leave them in the van. Then I realized, it was really gone, gone, gone!

So a family from the church offered to take me home. I took them up on the offer. On the way home, I called the police and reported the van stolen. I swallowed my pride and called my aunt, who also panicked.

As we are in the car, I am explaining where I parked the car to the family that is driving. We reach a block from my house, ready to turn on my street. Then, it dawned on me “XOCHI, you parked behind the church, not in front!” “WOW” “OMG” “I can’t believe this!”

The family stares at me, then I explain what happened. Thankfully, they all started laughing and turned the car around and took me back to the church to get the van.

What happened? I detached, disassociated, and completely wiped my memory of parking the van in a different spot.

This is only one story to show how easy it was for me to leave my body, I had made a habit of this, but this was the wake up call I needed to seek therapy. During therapy I learned what disassociation was and why I was doing it. I did it so I didn’t have to deal with the stress of showing up for others, for holding a facade for others to see. I was constantly doing for others, while I was drained, not taking care of myself. Also the trauma I faced as a child taught me how to detach to survive.

I am now in my late thirties and I have finally learned how to be present and how to show love to myself. It is continual, but now I don’t feel guilty for moving at my own pace. Doing things when I feel like it and not doing them when I don’t feel like it.

Now I take myself out for dates and celebrate things by myself. Not saying that they can’t be enjoyed with others, but I am seeing how pouring love into myself instead of looking for it outside of myself allows me to build myself up and not be disappointed by others not showing up for me. Now I will attract people to me who are able to reciprocate the same love I put out back to me because I am already giving it to myself. And now I will want to be present for myself and being present for others will come naturally.

Please share what you like to do for your own self-care and self-love… 🙂

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