Self-love isn’t selfish and it’s definitely not narcissism. It’s something we all need to work for. Self-love is caring about your well-being and happiness. Self-love is knowing and accepting who you are. It’s loving the skin you’re in and the heart and mind you possess. It’s probably the most meaningful journey you will take during your time on Earth. The journey may be long and difficult but you can’t ever give up on loving yourself. I want to share some personal experiences to hopefully demonstrate the importance of loving and accepting yourself just as you would a friend, significant other, or family member. When I was younger I was timid and a little plump. Because I was this way, I’m assuming, I was bullied for a long time. I believed every word those mean ass kids told me and I repeated their words to myself for years. My mom had to build my confidence from the ground up every weekend just for me to go through another week of insecurities. The pep talks helped, but it was always a short-term relief. I didn’t like myself no matter how much my family did. It’s sad to think that my mom may have wasted her time imploring me to see the beautiful person I see today, but her words would never resonate with me. And it’s not because I believed the bullies. I couldn’t digest my mom’s reassuring words because I was too busy choking on my own negative ones. I was my biggest bully. It never mattered what other people thought of me. It was always about what I thought of me. I had to believe I was beautiful and funny and kind. I finally realized after years of not liking myself, that I had to love myself. But you know who else didn’t love themselves in my little life story? Every kid that picked on me. The more you love yourself, the less you hate others. Remember that next time somebody talks down to you. They’re probably not very confident and, for sure extremely bored. Anyway, the more comfortable I became with myself, the happier I was. As I always suspected, self-love lead to me finding the confidence I needed to come out of my shell. When I started to like myself I became more assertive and less shy. I still have a bashful way about me, but now I can actually talk to people. Things come to mind! I’m not as afraid to be myself in front of new people. I used to struggle to think of something to say. It’s so hard to put into words, but all my shy friends out there understand me. Also, while I have you here: Can we please stop asking shy/quiet people why they’re so quiet or why they never talk or any question that resembles those two? Thanks, friends. The best thing you’ll get out of self-love is bliss. Based on my own venture into self-love, happiness knows no bounds when you love and respect yourself. I’m not going to lie and say I just woke up one day and decided to love me for me. It took me 20 years to even start the process. 20 years! What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Self-love is a constant battle between you and yourself. I promise it’s worth it, though. It’s worth all the time, tears, and effort. Again, don’t ever give up on yourself. Now that you can see the importance of self-love, maybe these little things can help you feel and spread the love. The first one is probably the easiest. Simply put, take care of yourself. Stay clean, shave if you want, don’t shave if you want, exercise, eat less junk, etc. Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself. I would also recommend meditation or yoga. Both activities could help improve your mental health. Journaling is another option. Any “me time” you can squeeze in can help. Also, stay positive. Don’t let little things get to you, especially if there’s nothing you can do about the outcome. Find the silver lining! It’s not easy to keep your thoughts uplifting, so try starting with your words. Never say anything negative about yourself. Say nice things instead. Your mind and mood will thank you. Take care of your heart too. I don’t care how cliche it sounds. Keep toxic people away. If they make you sad, if they hold you back, whatever it is. I know it’s hard sometimes, but if you’re unhappy you have to cut it. Next, forgive yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, so you might as well learn from them. Learn from them and move on. Again, don’t dwell on anything you can’t fix. Last but not least, be yourself! Do what makes YOU happy. Wear what YOU like and listen to the music YOU want to listen to. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Nobody else is like you. You’re unique. There’s no point in comparing. Don’t even think about society’s idea of beauty. Everybody’s beautiful in their own way and some people in the world don’t get that. Understand that you are special with or without society’s approval. The rest of the world will see your shine, once you realize that you are the sun. Essentially, self-love is caring about you the same way you care about anyone that you love. If you’re not at that point there are tons of things you can do to start. Participate in activities that you enjoy. Keep your body healthy. Take care of your emotional and mental health. Know who you are and love who you are. I’m happy to see the appreciation this generation has for self-love and hope we continue to teach and motivate each other to accept ourselves for who we are. Try taking yourself out this Valentine’s Day. I hope this was helpful.
I also composed a playlist in honor of this lovely holiday. Enjoy alone or with that special someone. 🙂