Self-Love Is the Best Love
“The process of learning to love yourself is a topic that is rarely discussed….
BUT IT SHOULD BE.”
I posted this status over a month ago and it sparked quite the conversation.
Although I would love to host a dialogue on the topic, realistically, I don’t have the capacity, or even the time “YET”.
The thoughts of pulling together an event whether it be in person or virtual, honestly gave me a bit of anxiety.
It also wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have alone, and at the time, I had no idea who would be the best individual to have it with me.
So, instead of abandoning ship altogether, I decided to write a blog about it.
Goooo figure, right?
Often, we focus on the formation of a relationship, especially in its infancy stage but, we never slow down to consider what we want, what we need, or even if we are properly taking care of ourselves well BEFORE the relationship.
Bottom Line Up Front = A Relationship (of any kind might I add) should not be one that makes us “whole”, but it should be one that COMPLIMENTS who we are and where we are going.
But we skip that stage of life, you know, the “getting to know yourself” stage.
Literally, ALL THE TIME.
We sow together by way of trauma bonds and soul ties. It’s unhealthy and it can also be extremely toxic.
Which leads me to this next question.
How can one have a vision for a relationship but not self?
Most importantly, how can someone know how to treat us, if we don’t even know how to treat us?
I don’t know about you but the math ain’t mathing for me.
It doesn’t make sense because it literally does not make sense, but we do it anyway.
The meat and potatoes of this conversation is simple, before attaching to another individual, we must learn how to love us FIRST.
If we fail to learn self-love FIRST, we enter companionships, romantic relationships, and “situationships” with no self-respect or boundaries and we risk someone treating us unfairly OR treating someone unfairly.
Therefore, I wanted to take a quick moment to discuss ways to develop self-love.
The lack of self-love is often attached to one’s perception of self which is developed through childhood experiences, trauma, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
It is important to remember that the development of self-love is a marathon, NOT a sprint.
For many, it involves the process of retraining the way we think and how we view ourselves. I will be completely honest and let you know NOW that it is hard BUT it is not impossible.
So, let’s get into nine practical ways to develop self-love:
PUT YOURSELF FIRST:
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far is taking care of self by saying no more often and exploring self-care. I’ve also learned the importance of boundaries. The pandemic taught me that I am no good to anyone if I am overworked, burned out, and too available to others. Unfortunately, I learned all that the hard way.
So, in the hustle and bustle of life, never forget YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO MAKE MISTAKES:
I hate to break it to you, but no one is perfect and because no one is perfect, we all need to give ourselves grace to make mistakes. Grace is needed because in the mind of a perfectionist nothing can or should go wrong. There’s a plan a, b, and c to “keep” things in control.
Unfortunate newsflash, God can’t operate there but He help lead and guide us through the mistakes we may make in life.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS:
Comparison is deadly. That may sound a bit harsh, but the reality is comparison really kills. In the space of comparison, we don’t live a life that is our own, we live a life that lies within the shadows of something or someone else. Comparison causes one to live as a carbon copy and not an original. I don’t know about you, but for me originality will always WIN!
It’s okay to admire and be inspired but never compare someone’s highlight reel to your life. Not all depictions of life on social media are real, keep that in mind, always.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS:
Have you ever heard the saying, “opinions are like a-holes, everyone has one”? (If you’re wondering what ‘a’ stands for, just stick with me.) Everyone has an opinion, Google, social media, and the internet, in general, has caused people to believe that their opinions are more important and validated than what they are. If you post something, someone has an opinion.
If you do something that someone does not like or believe in, someone has an opinion. It’s moved to the point where no one knows how to fully respect differences in opinions, beliefs, values, etc. and it’s become a tough space to navigate. However, a person’s opinion is just that, an opinion. It holds no weight in your actual life and your decisions and views of yourself should not be predicated on the opinions of another person. It's your life, you only get one, so live it as you see fit.
YOUR VALUE DOES NOT LIE IN PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:
Again, social media has completely ruined our perception of reality. It has created the illusion that everyone walks around with a perfect physical appearance and that is just simply untrue. Make-up, apps, filters, and so on have allowed for a fictitious image to be created that diminishes the real deal.
It is for that reason I felt it important to acknowledge that your value as a person does not lie in physical appearance. You are beautiful just the way you were created to be. It’s okay to enhance your beauty but look in the mirror and adore your natural beauty first. You are gorgeous!
TRUST YOURSELF TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS:
It is natural that we seek the advice and counsel of our support system and those around us but ultimately in doing so, we must also trust that we can and will make the best decision for lives. It is amazing to have the guidance of our closest family members and peers, but those opinions should not be a deal breaker.
What I mean by that is, we should never be paralyzed when faced with a decision due to someone else not weighing in. Trust that you know what’s best for you, too.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL:
Oh feelings, my therapist recently reminded me that we are emotional beings but sometimes, we lack the verbiage to express those emotions. We use a core emotion such as happy, sad, angry, bad, surprised, fearful, and disgusted to describe everything we feel in any given moment.
However, our feelings are more complex than the core emotion that we often present. The problem is, we never allow ourselves to feel and explore those emotions which cripples us when wanting to grow and evolve emotionally. Do you remember the saying, “stop and smell the roses”?
That saying is what I am having to remind myself of so that I can slow down and allow myself to feel, to explore, to process, and to just be. Will you try it with me?
PROCESS YOUR FEARS:
I decided to separate fear from the item above because fear is probably one of the most crippling single emotions we feel as humans. Fear keeps us stagnant and in a state of complacency when unprocessed. Fear is an emotion that must be processed to keep moving forward. If pushed down, it doesn’t go away, it only festers and builds anxiety while possibly also causing one to live a box.
God has not given us the spirit of fear and therefore, fear is a thing that can and should be conquered.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF:
A prime example of self-love is positive self-talk. We’ve heard it often and it’s true, life and death lie in the power of the tongue. What we speak has such power that when we speak negatively about ourselves, our shortcomings, and our situations, it effects our self-esteem, self-confidence, and even our abilities to believe in ourselves. I am a firm believer of affirmations and those are super helpful to use when needing positive self-reinforcement.
When we give ourselves space to process fear, make mistakes, and make ourselves a priority, we in turn release the expectation of perfection and move into a space of grace. Grace is needed, always, we extend it to others, we must extend it to ourselves too.
This one is so simple but so difficult all at the same time, CELEBRATE yourself. We won’t always get it right everyday but so what? No one does. CELEBRATE the moments, times, and circumstances when you do. Take yourself out to dinner, get dressed up and go out with friends, throw a party if you want to. The important thing here is that you celebrate YOU!
Give yourself credit for being better than you were the day before. Appreciate your journey, be grateful for your growth, and be excited about your future.
I know today’s blog was a little on the lengthy side, but I pray that it opens your eyes to what life can be when self-love is discovered.
I pray that the nine practical ways to develop self-love open your eyes to a new beginning.
I pray that you make yourself a PRIORITY and learn to love you WELL.
Although I did not complete this blog when originally planned, I do believe it is just as timely as ever.
Remember, this process is a marathon not a spring, always give yourself GRACE.
Until Next Time,