If you’re like me, you scroll through your Instagram feed and like all the inspirational posts on self-love and self-care (such buzzwords in our generation). You have a momentary ah-hah moment, and shortly after, continue your life just as before, never fully internalizing what it truly means to love yourself. When so much else in life is a priority – work, school, family, lovers, and children (4-legged ones included) – what necessitates a need to make yourself a priority? After all, you’ve survived (and perhaps had periods of thriving) all your life without ever truly caring for yourself intentionally. But sometimes life hits you with a curveball disabling the crutch you once held dear. Maybe it’s a whisper from within, or maybe that Instagram picture does inspire an awakening, but somehow, it becomes devastatingly clear: “I am not OK.”
My lack of self-love manifested in clearly seeing a wonderful, happy future for others, but struggling to see such a future for myself. Did I not also deserve to be happy and successful? It manifested itself in self-limiting thoughts: I’m a quiet person so there’s no way my voice could resonate in a way that mattered to the world. It became evident in how I focused too much on my weaknesses, and not enough on my strengths.
In what ways are you unkind to yourself?
Without beating ourselves up for where we are in our journeys, I think it’s important to take note of how we’re treating ourselves. Of how we’re allowing others to treat us. Taking the time to ask ourselves how we’re doing is the start of course-correcting. Of letting the light in.
Can I love me all by myself?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself recently. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful support system. If I had to do inventory of all that was well in my life, the list would be populated with names of all the incredible people I have the privilege of loving (but perhaps who do too much of the work of loving me).
We all need to be propped up and told how amazing we are by others from time to time. My support system has done just that – helping to undo the negative self-talk I engaged in as best they could. Reminding me to drink water or that I need to go back inside for a new jacket because it really is that cold outside. That a therapy session might really not be such a bad idea. They really think I am super special, brilliant, beautiful, and destined for greatness. Really! Ultimately, I want to get to a place of believing them wholeheartedly, and not looking at them like “Okay…”
Just imagine if we all tapped into our magic!
While I needn’t love me all by myself, my receipt of love has inspired me to treat myself in kind. Think of the purest love you’ve received, and try to show yourself the same care. Ultimately, I’ve been told, the quality of our love to others becomes, well… more lovely.
What I’ve learned about self-love
- Self-love is a journey. It’s a process that isn’t complete overnight. It is perhaps a journey of a lifetime.
- Baby steps count. Noticing the small things you like about yourself helps to foster self-esteem. I recently looked in the mirror at my disheveled hair and thought, “Wow, Ronique, you’re hair is so cool. It can be bone straight one minute, and defy gravity the next!” I was so amused by me, and even that small feeling was fantastic.
- This journey is personal and all our own. No one can tell you how to love yourself. It’s a process of identifying your own wounds, and through trial and error, finding healthy ways of feeding your body, mind, and spirit.
- Reaching out for help and support is part of loving yourself. Sometimes you think handling issues on your own makes you strong, but I think showing our vulnerabilities and allowing people in to bless us, makes us even stronger.
- Self-love is all encompassing. It isn’t just about knowing that you’re pretty or talented. It’s about accepting the art (uniquely flawed, but beautiful just the same) that is you.