I have searched pretty much any place outside of myself while on the hunt for self-love. There were no limits to how far I would push myself to get a dose of what everyone seemed to be preaching about. I kept coming up short; I kept falling flat on my face. I tried drugs and alcohol for a while, and all that did was land me in jail, as well as the hospital. I thought exercise may do the trick, but all that did was fill me with a new kind of emptiness. Food? I learned that no amount of sugar could make me love myself at the end of the day. In fact, that just filled me with more self-loathing, and depression. Social media can also be thrown into that mix. I convinced myself that likes and followers would make me love who I am. What I discovered is that likes in the form of hearts cannot substitute for the real thing. So, what was left? How about me? What was so wrong with myself that I felt the need to get attention from anything and everything except the one person who could provide it?
Intellectually I understood what it meant to have self-love, but a true feeling of it within myself? That was a foreign concept to me. I will admit, this is not easily done over the course of a day. How we get there is up to us, and everyone is on a different timeline. It comes down to the changes we make in our lives, the people we surround ourselves with, and what we are willing to give up in the process. For me, self-love takes work and incorporating daily practices into my routine that makes me the person I AM the proudest of. When I was able to stop seeking external validation, the internal love was able to blossom the way that it was intended.
As humans, I believe we try our best to figure out the quickest way to get the results we want in life; especially in the societies and cultures we find ourselves in currently. There is no shortage of places to look where we can compare our journeys, judge ourselves against others, and feel disheartened by our growth. Quick is not synonymous with progress. Like I stated earlier, the time that we achieve something is not going to be the same as everyone else. Growth is not linear, and self-love can be viewed the same. There are many ups and downs to be faced when we begin our journey back to ourselves. We can either look at this in one of two ways…we can allow this to hold us back and make us give up, or we can find the trek to be exciting and something to always learn from.
One thing that surprised me the most when venturing towards self-love was the number of people that I lost along the way. Don’t get me wrong, these were not losses, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt when a handful of those closest to me were not in support of my wanting to get better. When you are healing, you are going to serve as a reminder to those that they are not making the best choices for themselves. It is not your job to convince them, fix them, or save them. After some time, you begin to see these “losses” as a reminder that you are on the right path. People will begin to come into your life that WILL support you. This is just one of the many benefits of choosing self-love. When you decide to want the best for YOU, the Universe will start to show you that it has had your back all along. The only person who can truly get in your way is yourself. Do not let that be the case. Take back your life, and discover the self-love that has existed within you this whole time.
Lastly, trust the process. It is not always going to be easy. That is a fact. When we make the decision to discover the love within ourselves, this also means that we are accepting all the dark that resides inside of us. Let’s not forget, the light cannot exist without darkness. We do not have to label it good or bad…it simply just is. We can choose to love it and we can also choose to let it go. You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, easier said than done, and I get that feeling completely. I fought it for quite some time. To be where I am today, and to actually be able to look someone in the eyes and say that I love myself, well, that is something that I am proud of, and something that no one else can take from me.
Regardless of where you are at currently in your self-love journey, know that it exists within you. It always has, and it will always be there waiting for you to find it. You just have to start. Removing the layers that you have put on over the years can all be shed away. Underneath all of that is the love that you deserve. It begins and ends with you.
Thank you for reading,