Loving yourself after trauma does not mean leaving yourself.
It does not mean giving up, giving in, or giving yourself away.
It does not mean keeping yourself locked inside or separated from the world.
Loving yourself after trauma means beginning anew.
It means assessing the difficulties you have been through, accepting them, and learning how to adapt. The most you can do after trauma is adapt because you can’t certainly go back. You will never be the same after surviving trauma, and while some may find that to be a curse, consider it a blessing. You have battle wounds. You have scars that have purpose, that have meaning. You have stories flowing through your veins that you can share with the rest of the world.
Don’t hide yourself or your trauma for others. Embrace it.
Loving yourself after trauma is accepting that it will not be easy. You will see yourself as an entirely different person, as you are certainly not the same. It will mean accepting that the people you meet will have a natural curiosity as to why you act a certain way or why you are so guarded. This is not a reflection of you, so don’t let this hurt you. It is human nature to want to understand the pain of others, and it will take time to love the pain you’ve been through.
Loving yourself after trauma is understanding that your interactions with the world are no longer going to be the same. You may not love others quickly or as easily as they love you. You may not have many close friends because you may be scared to keep people close to you. You may not express your feelings the way others will express them to you. That’s ok. Learn to love yourself to know that you will not be as open as you once were, but you can slowly learn how to be again. Please know that you don’t need to learn fast. Take your time. The world may not understand your experiences, but you do, and you know the best way to protect yourself. But please do not overprotect yourself because you cannot go through life without the love of others.
It is learning how to adequately move on from trauma but also how to use it to your advantage. You’re a fighter. You fought your way through agony, and here you are, alive. Shouldn’t you be proud of that? Commit to embracing this. It is not a light embrace. It is a full, arm wrapped hug with yourself, telling yourself that you may not forget, but you will always remember where you once were.
Do not leave yourself.
Loving yourself after trauma is learning how to find happiness. Finding happiness after darkness is not as easy as a sunrise. It does not just happen casually overnight. It will take you many winters and it will take you many cold evenings to withdraw negative feelings from yourself. This is ok. If you don’t remove negativity from your life, how will you expect to be happy? But once the sun does rise and the moon at night no longer feels eerie, when the birds suddenly start chirping and the sunset does not feel as cold in the winter, that is when you will find happiness.
Know that it will take time, and use this time to create art, to better yourself, to work through your pain. Do anything that will let you exude those feelings elsewhere, and when you find happiness, do not let it go.
Loving yourself after trauma is a new beginning to love others. It is taking these emotions, these heartbreaks, the physical pain of endless nights of tears, and then channeling this into loving someone else.
Learning to love yourself is also learning how you express emotions for other people. It is a new beginning to loving healthy, to loving happily, to loving wholly. It is learning how to give pieces of your life away, to give yourself to someone else, to make the world a better place. The world cannot be a better place without you, and you must share everything you are with the world.
Do not feel like you are alone.