Doors to selflove

About the backgrounds to my large acrylic painting 'Roots'


( reading time 9 min)

'Roots' was born out of a failure. It was, in a sense, a stepping stone on the path that I was eager to jump over.

If you follow my work, then you know that my paintings, often or always, are symbols of everything that moves me personally. They illustrate my own path and I can speak of luck that they go in connection with people who in turn feel recognized by them on their way.

It seems like such a long time ago again. You remember, don't you? This last year I was constantly doing, doing, doing and my stress level was way up. And then came our trip with our motorhome and with that came an inkling of a different path and then came 2023.

And now it's almost August and the other day I realized with surprise in me that my year is really shaping up well. I am somehow different here.

Look again at the picture- that's exactly where I am right now.

When developments actually take place and have passed a critical point, I often don't even know anymore exactly how it came about, because the new reality has already taken such a natural space.

It's simply that, perhaps for the first time in my life, I feel what self-love feels like. This year and also already in the fall of 2022, I have taken many steps towards myself (you can read about it in this article and this one) and during that, a previously unknown state has awakened in me.

I believe that every person has his very individual doors to special development steps. Very personal problem areas that he has picked up at some point and that occupy him for years, decades or a whole lifetime. Conditions or resistances that he rubs against, works on, can't get past, and can despair over.

Honestly, now that I'm writing about it, I'm a little afraid of going too far out on a limb. What if what I'm so delighted to find in myself right now doesn't last?

My own personal door back to me and to really loving myself came about pretty much the exact moment I was standing in front of my mom, maybe 7 years old, in my white tennis dress that I really liked, and my mom said from the couch she was sitting on, "Look, she doesn't have a waist at all." She said that to the older woman, who I also really liked because she used to look up swear words with me in the dictionary, and with whom we were visiting.

Maybe my mother never said that, at least she can't remember it. Maybe that was my very personal reality, made up by me. In any case, at that moment when I heard those words, a door formed through which I had to pass in order to reach the feeling of self-love. And that door was closed.

I am not exaggerating at all when I say that this door remained closed for the next 39 years.

Every now and then it might open a little crack and I could catch a glimpse, but it's only really opening now that I'm 46 years old.

And how did it come about now?

Giving up without giving up

As I just wrote, I am 46 years old and am in a hormonal transition period that will eventually, as is generally accepted in our society, lead to menopause. Or maybe it doesn't. I don't want to indulge in such conditioned presuppositions. But what I did notice, perhaps because I believed it had to happen, were the effects of hormone levels that were messed up. One of those effects was that everything I used to be able to use to influence the volume of my body no longer worked. And it left me with an immense feeling of helplessness and powerlessness.

It wasn't until a few days ago, that I realized that until recently, what I was eating was my daily concern. Was it healthy enough? Was it too much? What can I eat tomorrow if I eat this today? It's really crazy. Alternately, different nutritional concepts came along that I tried, or exercise programs related to a certain way of eating. I'm not even suggesting that this was or is wrong, but all of these attempts always hooked into my desperate desire to control the appearance of my body so that I would finally be enough. So that I could finally love myself completely.

The fact that I couldn't control it at all now brought me to a kind of ground zero. And there were honestly only two ways to go: despair and continue to fight against and struggle with what is for the rest of my life, or finally learn to love myself.

Number one was not an option.

There are many roads to Rome, we know. And then someone comes along and says it, or writes a book, and there you read "Love yourself!", and it seems banal to you at the same time like a foreign language that you don't understand and have never heard before.

How?! I asked myself for years. It seemed to me as if I had to play dumb and pretend to suddenly like everything I actually held in low esteem about myself.

In fact, for me it was unlearning cherished beliefs and perspectives. I needed courage and I also just didn't want to try the next program anymore, because I knew inside that it would just leave me at that door after all. It was time.

The foundation, the ground, is one of the most important things on a house, next to the roof. Without strong roots, a tree cannot sway well in a storm without toppling over.

Storms come and go and come. One wrong word, one misunderstanding, fight. Emptiness that is numbed, stress because trust is lacking, jealousy because one's worth is unknown, either this or that ... the thoughts race on and on. No arrival that actually feels like it in sight.

There are no answers to all the questions involved, except the one: love yourself.

No validation, no recognition, no money in the world- love yourself.

No vacation, no gorgeous scenery, no loving partner- love yourself.

Self-hatred can show itself in the most beautiful places in the world and in the most perfect circumstances. And I say self-hate consciously, even though it's a strong word. I can say I have hated myself, my inability, my limits and my body a lot at times.

And when I had given expression to my hatred, after blaming everything and others, I often ended up crying in despair. There was a very deep sadness in me for everything I wanted but didn't have.

And what I wanted had many names: smaller breasts, a flat and firm belly, beauty, recognition, success, a partner who constantly tells me that he loves me, and so on. The children in me, just never had enough. And indeed, they never had enough.

Back to the beginning of it all

Somewhere along the way, the thought popped into my head "I'm not here on this earth to look any way to anyone." This thought, has so much power for me, that I cherish it. And I have practiced, and am still practicing, seeing myself with new eyes and finding the flab rolls, not ugly per se. I've also thrown away every piece of clothing that doesn't fit me now. I'm no longer waiting for another state. I'm living now.

My body gets to decide what food it wants. Beyond that, there are no more rules for me. I do sports when I feel like it and my body shows me what movement it wants.

Never, has it been so nice to be in my body. There is nothing to achieve. No thoughts bound to a better state. There is freedom.

This feeling is so indescribably new to me and actually, looking back, it wasn't that hard. The key in the door was acceptance.

There is a strong pull in my painting 'Roots'. A burning focus. And softness. This softness like after a long, deep, relieving cry. It's in her face. Surrendering, finally.

This woman is going inside, into the dark and the unknown. She doesn't know this place, but she knows it's time. Back to the beginning of everything. There is a person with a fiery desire to finally break through now, to love.

The original 'Roots' is sold, but available for you as a fine art print in exceptional quality here.

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