On loving yourself: The basics (Part 1)
Loving yourself is an interesting idea, we are taught “money can’t buy happiness” in the same breath we are bombarded with messages telling us that money can indeed buy happiness. Social media and marketing teach us to compare ourselves to those we see online who have what we don’t, who look amazing, who are smiling and look happy in order to condition us to spend money.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nice clothing, yummy food, and fun nights out. True happiness comes from within, from a deep love for the self. Not the ego. The true self. The self that brings you joy. The self that shows its fears and vulnerability. We are all freaking wonderful in our own ways but, because we are conditioned to look at what we lack we often fail to see everything that is so wonderful.
We have to discover ourselves, we have to learn to respect, value, and appreciate who we are. We will never be truly happy with our partners, friends, family, career, etc. until this happens. We may be happy that we have a partner, or a good paying job, or a health relationship with our parent. That’s surface level happiness, I firmly believe we cannot be happy if we are picking ourselves apart out loud or in our minds.
I used to spend so much time and mental energy picking myself apart and never feeling like quite enough. You know, those times where you think “I just need to lose another 10 pounds” or “I just need a few new pieces of clothing” and things will be good, I’ll be happy (nope, not the way it works). I had gotten into the habit of basing my worth off of relationships with those around me. I used to think I would be nothing without my partner, or my high GPA, or without my parents approval and acknowledgement (which was there all along). Somehow, thanks to the guidance of the universe I stumbled upon Youtubers preaching similar to the messages that I am sharing here.
Messages like: You are worth it. You are amazing. Look at what you have overcome to be here now. Look at your skills, talents, personality, resilience. You have so much amazingness to you, so who cares if not everyone you meet likes you?
This is something I still struggle with at times. I get these thoughts that I annoy, bother, or piss people off. But, I have come to realize that the only person I am in charge of is myself. Why should I care? Like, literally why? Will it make a difference if this one person thinks I am annoying? Maybe, maybe not. Will I survive? Yes. I have made it this far, so why would this stop me now? Will I still be able to live my happy little life? Absa-fucking-lutely. I have learned that it is OK that others may feel annoyed, bothered, or pissed off by me because that is their choice to react that way. I do not have to use my time and energy worrying about what they think of me, because even if someone doesn’t like me. I have other supportive, loving, genuine individuals in my life that do.
An extremely important aspect of self-love is challenging yourself. We are constantly growing and changing, going through phases. Wanting to change aspects of yourself does not mean you do not love yourself. It probably means you care about yourself more because, you are willing to make changes that allow you to grow in a direction you feel connects you to your higher self. Why should we continue to spend time and energy not being ourselves, not doing what we love, and not appreciating and valuing ourselves?
Many of us get into these habits of belittling, berating, and beating ourselves down over our insecurities or areas we feel we are lacking in. Instead, we can acknowledge, accept, and utilize our lived experience to learn from and help ourselves to grow into the people we want to be. Even if you feel you are at your lowest of lows and struggle to love yourself at your core, we have to begin somewhere. I have been there, feeling that the entire world was against me and that I would just go through life feeling ‘meh’. It was not until I began to switch my ways of thinking that I started to become happy.
Good things can’t come to you if you don’t believe that you deserve it. The universe always give back what it gets. If you are sending out negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your life, that is what you will get in return. It is the Law of Attraction. We all have so much to give, so much to offer ourselves and those around us. Be gentle. Be kind. Look at how far you have come, look at the challenges and obstacles you have overcome. You are doing great.
Self-love, for me, is a foundation. It was not until I truly accepted myself, my ‘flaws’ (mostly things society tells me not to like about myself), my thought patterns, my learned behavior (thanks mom and dad), my skills, and the areas I need to work on that I began to actually like myself. I will say, honestly it involved a lot of existential thinking in my journal.
Self-love is confidence, respect and appreciation for what I have been through, what I have done, where I have been and where I am right now, and the ambition to work towards where I want to be. Self-love is fluid, ever changing, and not always constant. I can say, I am at a place that while I do not love ALL of who I am ALL the time I have developed the tools I need to intervene when those rude, negative self thoughts begin to creep in. When you wake up in the morning and instantly begin to worry about your weight, when you’re tossing and turning in bed at night, or when you’re thinking about the rude thing you said in 8th grade please remember there is literally no one else in the universe like you and you were put here for a reason, how amazing is that?