Self-worth is something I’m very passionate about. But I don’t really practice what I preach. I’ve been shutting myself out from the world lately, mainly because I shifted my focus to work and I don’t have time for anymore bullshits after a breakup.
So basically, here’s a girl who lives alone 53 kilometers away from home. Who keeps her head in the game, praying that it won’t break her neck in the process.
I was doing my usual meditation when one of Rumi’s quotes keeps on banging itself to my thoughts. It goes like this: “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”. It’s a very powerful moment. I feel like the Universe is giving me all the answers that I’m looking for.
Kinda cliché, I know.
I took a 2-day leave at work to reassess where I am at the moment, and to keep my perspective in the right place. I was on leave for the last 2 weekdays so I had 4 days of alone time (including Saturday & Sunday) to think things over. Four days of me-time doesn’t sound bad, right? Unless you just went through a breakup and you don’t know where to start.
The last thing you’ll actually want was to be alone.
Anyway, that’s exactly what I did. So it goes. All of these happened months ago. But I thought I’ll share this anyway, just in case someone is going through the same thing.
Here are the things I’ve learned in the process. We can dub this as “Self-worth Tips”. Haha, funny.
Self-worth Tip #1: Befriend Your Pain
The first day was the hardest part. I don’t have the appetite to eat nor drink nor do anything in particular. All I want to do was to lie in my bed. I don’t even have the energy to cry anymore. I’ve been doing it for two whole weeks and I guess my body doesn’t have enough fluid left to cry another day. My mind was blank and I have never felt so tired in my entire life.
I realized that I was avoiding this moment. I was avoiding the chance to be alone with myself.
It was so embarrassing and depressing to face myself and admit that I don’t have my shit together. I’m a proud woman, I take pride at having my shit together.
I started listening to what I was feeling, I acknowledged the pain I felt and why I felt it. Then I got my journal and I started to write down everything I’ve missed out since the day he left.
Oh boy, my pain slowly turned to worry, then quickly turned to fear.
I was two weeks behind my meditation, I let go of three potential projects and two makeup gigs, my laundry was piling up, the trash is still in the house, my business was way behind the launch date, I have 158 unread emails, and the list goes on. I remember the first thing I said to myself after realizing all these: “What the fuck?!”
That night, I have one goal in mind: I will let shit go.
When you acknowledge your pain and the cause of it, it becomes powerless to hurt you. If you befriend it and notice it once in a while, probably even listen to what it says, it has the capacity to change and help you to be a better person. It becomes an ally. It was definitely one of the truths behind the quote “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I also have it on my playlist now, even if I kinda hate Kelly Clarkson.
Self-worth Tip #2: Heal Correctly
Healing is tricky. I’m the type of person who always have a plan or a strategy as well as millions of backups just in case it won’t work. I want to heal, and I want to heal correctly.
Scientifically speaking, when you’re feeling pain either emotionally or physically, it activates the same part of the brain: Anterior Insular Cortex. The brain, like any other muscles in the body, can actually build resilience through intentional practice and exercise.
There are several ways to train your Anterior Insular Cortex. You can list down the things you’re grateful for in a day. There are Apps for this if you prefer the techie way, I prefer writing to journals so it’s all there. You can also practice self-compassion. I did this by going back to my meditations and putting myself in other people’s shoes before acting or saying anything.
Then here comes the fun part: I began to pump some Endorphins to my body. I went back to boxing and running every other day no matter how tired I am. Then I boost my Oxytocin level by doing the things I love, taking care of my well-being, and going out with friends. I also add some Serotonin by sleeping 8 hours a day (once or twice a week since we know how it goes in the industry I’m in); Omitting carbs from my diet and going all-organic in everything (except on days that I miss McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets. I don’t deprive myself).
People will tell you that time heals all kinds of wounds. The truth is, time doesn’t heal anything. I think that’s why some people are still stuck in the past for years after an emotional trauma. The only thing that can heal you is yourself or a Tylenol. But Tylenol’s a bitch so might as well depend on yourself.
Self-Worth Tip # 3: Love Yourself
On the third day of my me-time, I turned off my phone for a day. It made a huge difference.
I started the day with coffee and half a slice of orange. I woke up surprisingly early. My body clock is fucked up because I’m on an equally fucked up shift. I did my usual meditation, read a book, and made myself a salad for lunch.
This day was a little different, and I feel different. I feel at peace. I don’t know how it’s possible for change to be felt in two days but I did feel it.
As I was preparing for my boxing training, I can still feel the hurt and the aftermath of the rejection I received. But something has changed, my gut tells me it’s not worth it anymore. He’s not worth my time anymore, and I don’t have to keep doing this to myself. It’s funny how a breakup can manifest self-love, but I am grateful for it.
I went to a hidden coffee shop in C. Palanca (Yes, there’s a hidden coffee shop/bar behind the wine store in the corner of Legazpi st.!) I always wanted to go there but they only serve coffee until 6PM – which is absurd by the way – then they serve alcoholic drinks after that. A year ago, I said I’ll go there with someone, but that someone isn’t with me anymore so maybe this is the best time to try it alone.
The coffee is not bad. The place is very intimate, there were only three of us in there including the barista/bartender. He offered to make me a cocktail after a while, in exchange of my story. They always do it to customers, they make cocktails based on their story.
He made me a fancy drink which was sweet and bitter at the same time. I like it, I guess this is what self-love tastes like. It was hard and bitter on some days, and kinda sweet and milky on other days.
Fast forward to today, I have a lot of projects on hand and I’m back to blogging again!
I’m proud of myself. Even if there’s not much to be proud about, I would still celebrate my tiny victories. I’ll always be that girl who is always in the act of becoming.
In the end, I realized that I deserve every ounce of time. I deserve to be prioritized. I deserve a guarantee that I won’t just be loved today, nor tomorrow, nor the day after that, but a guarantee that I will be loved for the rest of my life. I deserve someone who wouldn’t put one foot out the door, because he knows that I’m not the type of woman to walk away from. I deserve the kind of love that doesn’t make me prove my worth.
I’m happy with what we had, we looked good as a couple. We clicked. But that was it, it has ended. It was time to put it all behind.
You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.