"When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits - anything that kept me small.
My judgement called it disloyal.
Now I see it as self-loving."
Be kind, be kind, be kind. Those are the kind of words that were said to me when I started kindergarden. Kindergarden and primary school is when you're really tested when it comes to being kind - girls can be mean, boys can pick on you, and other various horrible things. But we are always told to be kind to one another regardless of what was said or done to us. So why did no one ever tell us repeatedly to be kind to ourselves, too? When was the radical notion of me learning to be kind to my body and my brain going to be taught in school? Yes, learning angles of triangles and such are all very important things, but so is learning how to not only 'be okay' with who I am, but loving who I am.
Learning self-love is truly an exhausting battle. For awhile I didn't even realize how crucial self-love really was in regards to my own personal development as a twenty-something girl figuring her life out. It took a lot of soul searching and self-discovery to figure it all out. I used to think the best kind of happiness would come from working hard/success or it would come from pleasing others around me. Of course those things make me happy, but I find a different kind of happiness in quiet moments away from the hustle and bustle of work. Sometimes it's starting the morning with a smoothie, sometimes it's treating myself to a new lipstick, and sometimes it's dressing up and celebrating with my friends. All of these things make me feel good about me, which is why self-love is so important.
Sometimes self-love means you have to choose your own happiness over another's. To look at yourself in the mirror and choose to get rid of the demons that haunt your brain that say "you aren't smart enough, you aren't pretty enough, you aren't good enough". Sometimes it's just laying in the prettiest underwear you own because you're proud of yourself and you deserve to lay around in pretty underwear. Sometimes it's just accepting who you are, the body you're in, and the life you've been given. I find that self-love is learning how to give yourself the respect that you deserve. It's being good to yourself because you deserve it.
The beautiful thing about self-love is that it can be different for everyone. Mine is sleeping in, having a warm cup of tea and writing down quotes, my thoughts or whatever else I fancy. Everyone has their own version of treating & tending to themselves.
We've been taught to be self-deprecating, modest and small. Don't think too highly of yourself or else that is considered narcissistic or self-absorbed. Don't be too proud of yourself. Don't be too confident or you'll come off the wrong way. Don't think too positive about yourself, God forbid you feel good in your own skin.
Some people say selfies are horrible and vain, but I wholeheartedly embrace the selfie with open arms. We deserve to be happy with the way we look or feel proud when we do a good job. It's okay to document how you're feeling. Seeing a gleaming face of a friend on my feed is something I love. Taking a few moments out of your day to let me know that you're happy and feeling good makes me feel good! Confidence is a hard thing to build. So when you can create your own confidence, you cannot be shaken.
Want to post a thousand photos of your face in various lighting all over Instagram, Twitter and Facebook? Go ahead, work the camera. Embrace yourself. Embrace that #lovethyselfie hashtag game. Do whatever makes you feel good.
I learned a lot of self love through the people I had around me. When I had negative people around me, I was more prone to have negative thoughts and actions. There is a quote that always echoes in my mind that says “You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” The people you have around you are so important. When you rid yourself of toxicity, that is when your mind can become clear and positive.
Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive, and empowering people is what will help bring out self-love inside of you. My friends don't miss a beat when it comes to being positive and supporting - whether it's a text in the morning to wish me a good day, or a comment on Instagram telling me my lipstick is on point. It really is the little things that add up to something incredible. When I learned and practiced self-love, so much other love mirrored from the people in my life.
It wasn't really until I was around 20 I slowly started being okay with being more vocal and confident and unapologetic for the things I am and the things I love. When you don't need to be defined by the things you like or the clothes on your back or the knowledge in your mind. When you start being unapologetic for the way you are, that is when the self-love journey begins. When you're just trying to learn to love yourself and everything that makes you, you. Sometimes just being okay with yourself is good enough for that day. The relationship I have with myself is the most important relationship I will ever have. It's something that I've been working on for 22 years and it's something I'll be working on for (hopefully) the next 72+ years. I've never wanted a toxic, negative relationship with any of the people in my life, so why would I want that with myself?
We are always going to carry hurtful words and rude comments that have been said to us in the past since they usually leave burn marks etched into our mind & thoughts. There are things that have been said to or about me that I'll carry with me for a long time because that's just the way the brain works. There will be times when I don't love something I did or said, but I do know that that I am proud of the person I am becoming. (And I really love her, too!) My self-love journey will never end and that is incredibly exciting to me.