Thinking about what to write this March, the month that announces the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere, I feel like sharing a very special poem: Love After Love. I discovered it when I was doing my training as a coach in 2011 and I rediscovered it last year when I was struggling with a bad breakup. Reading this poem every day for weeks helped me heal from my heartbreak and recognise myself again.
Love After Love is an invitation to love your inner self after being lost in a relationship in a way that you don’t know who you are anymore. This feeling is very common, especially for people who are givers and put others’ needs above their own.
Loving oneself is a challenging task that requires both intention and attention of looking after your own needs, by doing so we build confidence and self-esteem. The poem suggests that you need time to love yourself again but to do so you must keep acknowledging yourself and celebrating the person who you are.
I hope you like it.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott (West Indian poet and dramatist)