Kimia: I’m actually still working on this concept myself…but I’m slowly but surely getting there. As ironic as it sounds, seems like the need for self love comes into realization when a person has been subjected to some type of major letdown from another individual. This could be a falling out with old friends you never saw yourself losing, being bullied at some point in your life, a first love that broke your heart, or family members that you’ve shared toxic relationships with. From these tough situations/ dark times of life stems the awareness of self-worth. You start to understand that how others envision you or treat you does not equate to who you are. People’s opinions don’t make you less of a person. You learn to respect yourself in the absence of the respect you weren’t given.
Personally, I found myself seeking validation from the partners of my past relationships, but once these relationships ended I was left with my own insecurities to clean up. Each person however, taught me something different about the importance of self-love. In my very first relationship, I didn’t have much of a voice for myself and would find myself making excuses for every mistake “he” made (I was young and naive). The second time around I was much more vocal and confident about what I deserved and wouldn’t tolerate. However at this time I found myself inseparable from this person, so of course when it was officially over I cheated myself of the confidence I had originally established.
For the first time in years I found myself single again and couldn’t remember what I was like before. I had to become re-acquainted with being alone, but not lonely, instead more of a sense of peaceful solitary. This state of embracing a peace of mind took some time of course. In these moments I found myself coming into the awareness of self: I was less stressed, more enthused, more motivated and less concerned with seeking the validation of others….all these things subconsciously led me to self love.
Ronnesha: I’ve personally struggled with embracing self-love. For years I felt like I was working extremely hard to please certain people in my life, while neglecting my own needs. I would instantly feel backlash from those individuals whenever I did something I really wanted to do. When I got into my first official relationship in 2011, it was one of many experiences where I felt like I was hindering myself of self-expression and happiness.
I was so vulnerable that I let my relationship dictate my behavior and limit my interactions with the people in my inner circle; all because I didn’t want to make my significant other upset or irritated. I was afraid to let go of a relationship I knew wasn’t working, fearful that I would never find anyone to love me. Being free of that relationship helped me realize I shouldn’t have been afraid to be alone. It wasn’t just a romantic relationship that I needed to break free of in order to grow, I’ve experienced toxic friendships that needed to be ended as well.
2016 was the year I became single and officially cut off all the insignificant relationships that served me no purpose. That year was special because it was the first time I felt so liberated and confident in who I was becoming. A lot of pressure has been placed on me throughout the years and I’ve had enough of letting people distort the image I saw of myself. Discovering myself was the best journey I could have ever stumbled across. With my new found confidence I knew that the only way I would could truly be happy in any relationship was to love and respect myself first.
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Here are a few ways in which we find useful to establishing self love:
Stable Mental Health
Mental health plays the most important part of emotional wellbeing. Making sure your mental health is stable means ridding yourself of things or people that bring you down or fuel insecurities.
Ignore Negative Social Media Influences
It’s 2018 and let’s face it…influence is all around us. Social media has fostered a ton of beauty standards in which seem unattainable and unrealistic. Because of this it is easy to point out our flaws and start comparing ourselves to the population of curvy, well put together, “perfect” looking models that are displayed all over the web. It’s important to realize that beauty is deeper than how physically attractive you are.
Don’t base your standards on what others have that you might be in the same pursuit of. It’s fine for you not to have it all together, important things take dedication and time to acquire. Always make sure to set realistic goals for yourself and enjoy the journey to reach them despite personal defeats and downfalls…these are all apart of the process. Motto: “Your current situation is not your final destination”. Embrace your uniqueness and individuality.
Accept Change and Move On
No backtracking. Changes will come and some of them will be uncomfortable, but accepting change is necessary to not falling back into old bad habits that you once found comfort in (exes, self-doubt, laziness). Keep moving forward towards things that bring you fulfillment in life.
Put Yourself First
Anyone can tell you what happiness is, but you have to figure out what happiness means to you! When you’re constantly putting other people’s feelings and obligations before yours, you lose a little bit of yourself every single day. You become so invested in what makes other people happy you completely forget who you are and what YOU like. We’re not saying can’t care about other people, but when caring about other people overpowers the care and love you have for yourself it’s poses a major problem. Letting people walk all over you and accepting disrespect is an example of NOT putting yourself first.
Recognize Past Mistakes
Of course we all have made mistakes in the past and have bad habits we want to shake, but don’t beat yourself down and please don’t let other people beat you down for a common act of humanness. Recognize that no one is perfect and as humans we will forever make mistakes and fail. Forgive yourself for any experiences you may have been ashamed of and focus on working towards appreciating the lessons learned from it.
Think of self-love as being in a healthy relationship with yourself. Give yourself the same energy and dedication you would use to show another person you really loved them. Pamper yourself, physically and mentally, take care of yourself and KNOW YOUR WORTH. Do what you love and invest in your happiness. You are just as deserving of your own love and affection as anyone else in this world! What experiences have you all faced that prompted the feeling of inferiority? What helped you realize the importance of self-love?