The Story of the Red Mug

I’ve been doing weekly live streams on YouTube for close to six years now. If you’ve been with me during this time, you may know about many of the major life events that I’ve experienced. What you may not know, however, is the significance behind my red mug.



This mug came into being ten years ago when my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was fresh out of a “manipulationship” with a man that I would have described back then as my best friend and wonderful partner in life…until I found out that he wasn’t. In fact, he was the exact opposite—and the reason I came to learn so much about narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder and C-PTSD as the result of relationship trauma.


I moved out of our wonderful off-the-grid home and into a trashed rental property I was remodeling. The house was in shambles—which, ironically and fittingly, was an accurate representation of my life at the time.


One night, as I was taking a shower, feelings of hurt, anger, and foolishness replaced my anxiety and I broke down sobbing. My mind was racing and my emotions were all over the place. I felt so profoundly hurt, scared, and angry that I had been caught up in such a thick web of deceit. However, what hurt the most was that I felt so foolish for believing that someone could love me so deeply.


This thought surprised and saddened me. Until that moment, I didn’t realize that some part of me felt undeserving of being a priority in someone’s life and treated with such compassion and care (even if it was all a manipulation). A voice deep inside declared with a fiery determination I didn’t realize I had, declared that I was lovable dammit and that if he couldn’t love me then I was going to start loving myself. An avalanche of questions soon followed. When did I stop loving myself? What did loving myself mean? What would loving myself look like in action? Is loving myself narcissistic? What does not loving myself mean or look like? What are the differences between not hating myself and loving myself?


"I had not loved myself - and what's worse is I didn't even realize it."

Stepping out of the shower, I wrapped myself in a towel, which felt like a much-needed hug. I realized that up until this point, I had not loved myself—and what’s worse, is I didn’t even realize it. Wanting to hold onto this realization, but fearing my anxiety would soon take over, I knew I needed some sort of reminder. I decided to make the color red a symbol to remind me that I was committed to loving myself—to treating myself with dignity, respect, and value at all times and in all ways. The next day, I made a special trip to the store and with what little money I had, bought some red towels and a red mug—and was some of the best money I’ve ever spent.


Several weeks later, a good friend came over and asked about my red towels. I told her all about how I felt I needed a constant reminder that no matter how hard life got, that I loved myself and would from this point forward treat myself with all of the compassion, care, and consideration I had been seeking from others all this time. My friend loved the idea, and declared that orange was going to be her color that reminded her to love herself. Ten years later, and we still gift each other items in our chosen color. It’s our way of letting each other know that we care as well as a fun reminder to be loving towards ourselves as well.


If this idea resonates with you, I hope you run with it and choose your own color as a subconscious and conscious reminder that you are worthy of love and of loving yourself.


You matter and you are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect, and I hope you never forget that.


- Dana



34 views0 comments