Why is it that sometimes it’s easier for us to love others, but harder for us to love ourselves? It’s sad how it could be normal that we - at times - have beaten ourselves up over something. We are definitely our own biggest critic. Why don’t we believe in ourselves? Why do we only love ourselves when things are going well, but then we evolve into a punching bag when times are tough? There are times we forget self love, and we say things like, “I’ll never get there, I don't have a chance.” “I’m not good enough.” “Why should I bother?”
Clearly we are not perfect, and we could always use improvement and learning, but growth comes from loving ourselves when we are down, too. Taking responsibility for our actions, faults, or problems are what causes growth, and blaming others actually hurts us in the long run.
Close your eyes right now, and think about who you see yourself as.
Now open your eyes. Can you think of three positive words to describe yourself? Can you think about why you love who you are? Can you come up with reasons why you are worthy and loved by others? Are you happy with you you are?
Listen, we’ve all been there. We have been stressed, felt unworthy, not good enough, lack of self-esteem, but this is what I try to remember on a day to day basis.
I am good enough. I am talented. I am confident. I am kind and compassionate. Sometimes I fail, but I get back up. Sometimes I make mistakes, but I learn from them. I know who I am and what I stand for. I can forgive others. I forgive myself. I am a perfectly imperfect human being. I love who I am.
Practicing self love is more than telling yourself to eat healthy, workout, get enough sleep, but of course all of that helps. Self love is learning to accept our flaws, and realizing that some days will be harder than others - and that’s okay. We need to love ourselves the way we want someone to love us. Treat others the way you want to be treated, but treat yourself with love and respect so that others can, too.
One of the things I have learned about self-love, are the choices we make. If we make a choice that we know does not seem right in our hearts, we will not know self-love. There are choices we make, and then there are choices others make. Sometimes their choices hurt us, and although we cannot change or control their decision, we can control the way we react. For instance, let’s say someone you were close to hurt you. That person made a choice to do so, now you get to make a choice to forgive, walk away, and love yourself. We do not need what no longer serves positive purpose in our lives. I like to think of this: the people who enter our lives, enter for a reason, whether it may be a ten minute conversation or years of knowing someone. Not everyone will walk by your side for the rest of your life, but we do not need them to. Their purpose in life is not to hold our hand and be constantly there; their purpose was to help us grow, learn, and lead us to the path we are meant to walk.
First comes recognition. Recognize yourself deeply and fully, with every inch of your body and every molecule inside that makes you human. For others to understand you, you must first understand yourself. Pretend like you are writing a story, and read your own book. Dig deep into who you've been, where you're going, what you've learned, and how you continue to grow.
Second comes choices. What choices will you make in life to be the happiest, positive, best version of yourself that you could be? Happiness is not based on what you have, it is based on a choice. You have to make that choice to be happy through ups and downs. I have met people in life who have told me they are in a bad relationship with a person who doesn’t see their worth. I’ve heard enough stories where a man wasn’t treated with respect and love the same way I’ve seen stories with a woman. In most cases, they’ve put themselves second, and been with someone who didn't give a shit about them. I’ve been there, too. Giving my all to someone who didn't reciprocate, and I chose to stay in that sad, miserable state with low self-esteem. Then I thought, what the hell am I doing? I have to love myself first. Isn’t that evident with a healthy relationship? If I can’t love and show myself the respect that I am worthy, how on earth could I show that to someone else? It is not selfish to put yourself first, as long as you are not hurting others by doing so. There have also been times where I was not in love with the other person the same as they were with me. I would have hurt that person by staying with them, so if you love someone enough and want them to be happy, you let them go. Being with someone based on obligation, or a sense of contentment, is not self love nor is it valuable love to your partner.
Lastly comes action and growth. Slowly but surely, I began to feel growth and change. I had allowed myself to feel loved and worthy, and I started making choices that helped me instead of hurt me. I got into pilates which I never did to solely look great in yoga pants, but instead to learn the mobility of my body. I focused on breathing correctly, and to feed myself oxygen and feel my breath going in and out of my lungs. I gave myself 55 minutes a day of that exercise, and I did not think about anything but being in that moment and breathing. That is just one of the things that had helped me. I made it a routine, and I scheduled as many classes as I could fit in. I read more books, stayed organized, gave myself the right nutrients and pampered myself with facials before bed. I do not believe I know everything about self-love, but I do believe I am on the right track. Little by little I continue to learn more about myself and who I am. I love who I was as a kid, as a teen, in my twenties, and now.. right now in this very moment of writing this post. I am a strong believer in signs, and could go on and on about seeing light in every dark situation. If you needed a sign, I surely hope this was one.
We are all deeply flawed, and we will never be perfect because we are human, but we all deserve love, and the very first step starts with loving yourself.