Unconditional Self-Love and Self-Preservation
by Rebecca Hieronymi
Let’s start by getting rid of the myth of “the broken picker.” This myth can make a person believe that their ability to choose a good partner is somehow broken or that their judgement is defective. They become tired of somehow attracting “bad apples” and being fooled. They just wish they could see potential danger more clearly before becoming deeply attached. However, the fact is, victims of abuse aren’t actually doing the picking, abusers are.
Most abusers don’t consciously look for new victims the way a burglar might case a house but there are certain traits that make their job of deceiving and dominating easier. They may seek out people with damaged self-esteem, others look for healthy, educated people who are simply too free with their trust. Abusers look for someone who has a forgiving heart and a desire to see the best in everyone. Regardless of background or character, all victims share one thing in common: The misfortune of stumbling onto an abuser’s path.
Psychologist Sandra L. Brown writes about “super traits” in her book ‘Women Who Love Psychopaths.” In a non-abusive world these positive characteristics, like empathy, altruism, high relationship investment and attachment, sentimentality, and low impulsiveness, are admirable features. However, when exposed to the malicious traits of an abuser, these traits are detrimental to our self-preservation.
This is not to say that we should repress or withhold these virtues, but rather we should be careful that we are spending them on worthy individuals who won’t use them against us. So, how do we stay true to ourselves and protect ourselves at the same time? The answer may surprise you; Self-Love.
What are the benefits and qualities of self-love? When we love ourselves, we heal ourselves. We forgive ourselves of past mistakes and are motivated to find healthier relationships. Self-love empowers us and enables us to reach our highest potential. When we commit to giving ourselves unconditional self-love, we are recognizing our own value and worth. We have self-respect and don’t allow others to take advantage of our time, energy, boundaries, or our bodies. So, commit yourself to nurturing unconditional self-love today and live a happier, healthier life!
If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org.
Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us October 20th at 6 p.m. for our annual Candlelight Vigil, streaming live from the Jackson County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (JCADV) Facebook page.