Like so many others with past trauma, I have struggled deeply with the notion of self love. I don't profess to be any kind of expert but I have an awareness that those who have experienced neglect, abuse or any kind of adverse treatment as a child or even perhaps as an adult, often feel unloved, abandoned or not good enough. As a Muslim I have been told that Allah loves me and, although it’s so difficult and perhaps controversial to admit, I also struggle with that because it is hard to understand why anyone would love me.
Random quotes on Instagram tell me that I won't find love until I love myself first – which seems so unfair because it seems so unlikely.
So not only do I struggle with self love in general but as a Muslim I often wonder, how can I love myself knowing the faults within me?
Today whilst driving you could say that I I had a light bulb moment or perhaps an inspiration. I was pondering on the love that I have for another person who is far from perfect but I love that person dearly anyway, despite knowing their faults. I found that I have compassion for their story and their internal struggles; but, I love them anyway. Not with rose tinted glasses but with compassion based on reality and mercy from the love in my heart.
The next logical step in this thought process seemed to be that if I can love this person with all their faults then I can love myself with all my faults too. If I have this love and compassion in my heart for this other person then surely it Is a sign that Allah has love and compassion for them too, because he is more merciful than anyone. Surely then that mercy from Allah will extend to me as well. I have similar faults within myself and within my actions so Allah can love me despite this in the same way I love the other person despite their faults too.
The final step in this thought process is perhaps the most profound for my personal growth and healing. I have just logically proved to myself that Allah can love me despite my mistakes and imperfections. If Allah can love me then I can stop fighting against loving myself. I can give myself permission to love myself.
The feeling I experienced upon reaching this conclusion momentarily created a physical reaction within me. The emotion of love; but for the first time ever it was directed at myself inwardly and not projected outwardly. I've only experienced outwardly love within myself up until this point. Even love from others I have rejected and found it difficult to receive and so the love for myself was impossible to until this moment.