The fourth and final part of this series about love involves the self. To preach self-love to persons in recovery can sound mundane. Save for the purpose of reiteration, what else could I say that you have not heard before?
It can feel unattainable. It can turn out toxic if taken to extremes. It can be frustrating and painstaking to sustain in the long run. But it is starting to look like it won’t be our sole responsibility anymore.
New-age musicians like Lizzo preach about the importance of self-love. It seems to be on the lips of every new changemaker nowadays. The shift in the social paradigm now dictates that working on yourself is cool.
The cause is not fully apparent. Although, I would like to imagine the contemporary self-love movement could have stemmed from a place of increased awareness and sensitivity towards mental health and wellness in recent years. We can thank the Internet, and the efforts of public leaders, prominent figures, and organisations that advocate for mental wellness.
Persons in recovery have been eagerly awaiting this attitude change. My bosses and educators have stopped questioning the validity of ‘taking a mental health day’. My friends have taken my symptoms into consideration when entering potentially triggering situations or conversations. My partners have become more proactive in asking about my boundaries.
Though there has been much systemic change, self-love remains primarily autonomous. I cannot depend too much on the initiative of even close friends and long-term partners. It is my duty to speak up when I am upset. None of my loved ones are mind-readers.
The big difference lies in the way that society has turned into a safer space for persons in recovery to be honest or to perform acts of self-preservation. It may not be the idyllic reality we have in our minds, but we are getting there. Gradually, superficial tolerance is turning into deep understanding.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.