Do you love yourself? What does that even mean?
When this question was asked to me, I couldn’t help but think that I did love myself. I love my life (for the most part). I love my husband. I love my friends. I love my mom. I’m okay with where I am at in life
occasionally… So I must love myself, right?
I love all these people and sometimes enjoy stuff that is happening in my life, but that doesn’t really answer the question. DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF?
What I answered was I love the people and joy I have in my life, but what about my personal self, my emotional self, my physical self. Do I care about her at all? As time went on, I began thinking to myself.. I kept repeating this question to myself over and over again.
I came to the conclusion that the person who asked me this had seen something in me that I was avoiding, something I was trying to hide. Do I care about myself? Do I really love me? Of course I would’ve said yes, but in reality.. I was lying to myself. I cared more about the people around me than I did myself. The only reason I seemed like I cared about myself was because I cared about what would happen to the others around me. I cared about how they felt. If anything were to happen to me, I wouldn’t have cared. The only thing I was concerned with was how it made everyone else around me feel. But that didn’t really mean I loved myself; it meant that I loved everyone else around me. I didn’t want anything to happen to me because I didn’t want to hurt anyone else….
Sure, it is a self-less way to live and to think, but over the years I never realized how much emotional damage I was causing myself. I created an irrational fear within myself that was hard to overcome.
Now I have found myself working on how I can love myself, truly. Loving the people around you is great, but it cannot be your only reason to want to live. So as I am working on my struggles and finding out what I want out of life, I want to leave you with some tips that I follow and how they have helped me see the light.
Let go of your fear:
I cannot reiterate this enough. Letting go of my fears is the most difficult thing I am still learning to do. I am constantly seeking reassurance in everything I do or say. I am still needing that comfort of someone by my side when I am about to do something I think others might judge me for, but the only difference is now I AM ACTUALLY DOING IT ANYWAY. I am no longer thinking about it and the outcome of what is going to happen before. I am letting those emotions take over AFTER. I can’t control those thoughts unfortunately, but I can learn to make them gradually go away. It’s a habit, and I habit I am well on my way of breaking and getting rid of.
STOP Comparing Yourself:
One of my biggest flaws that I will continue to work on is realizing that I am no less and no more than anyone else in the world. We all have our FLAWS, and that’s okay. The thing is we can’t base our lives and achievements on others. Just because people on my Facebook are posting about graduating college doesn’t make me any less. I am on my own route in life. I am creating my own path. The thing I have come to terms with is that God is in control. I can make decisions, but I must always be aware that He is the one who sets out my plans, not me. He made me the way I am, and I will forever embrace that.
Let go and Move On:
I have held on to things in my life that have kept me bitter, that have caused me to lose friendships because I couldn’t let things go. To anyone who I have ever made feel that way, I deeply apologize. The thing about it now, as I continue to grow in my faith and in this world, is that holding onto those grudges doesn’t benefit anyone. They don’t matter. People grow up. They grow apart. They move on. It’s the circle of life. We are made for connection. We will, eventually, find those connections in other places (when the time is right). Even if it feels like the end of the world, I can guarantee you, it isn’t. Letting go and moving on is something that is really hard for me to do. I question everything and ultimately blame it on myself, even when that is not the case. Then I remember that God’s plan is at work, Even if I don’t know what He is doing, I have to trust. So I am learning to do that now with lots of things in my life.
SPEAK LIFE into Your Heart:
One of the last things I am learning to do right now is letting myself dwell on self-affirmation. I am learning how to get rid of the negative thoughts that consume my heart and telling them that they can no longer win. I must learn to tell myself that I CAN do something not that I can try. I AM BEAUTIFUL not that I look okay today. I must learn to tell myself that I AM SMART and not that everyone is secretly laughing at me behind my back. I wish these things would have stayed in high school where I was told they would happen, but truth is, they’re real in my everyday life. I limit myself because I don’t want to be talked about, I limit myself because I don’t want to be open to everyone. I limit myself because I don’t want others to think that I love attention. Truth be told, those same people that I care so much about what they think, probably are not even thinking twice about what I am doing. It’s still a
struggle battle that I am fighting, but I am not backing down this time.
Doing these few things for the last few weeks has helped me a lot. I have found a new joy and peace in my heart that I didn’t think that I could find. It has made me open my heart to myself and to others. I have genuinely felt guilty about the way I have treated people in the past for a long time and no, there is no justification for it. The only thing I can do now is come to terms and trust in God. With my new knowledge, I can only move on and pray for continued guidance in my life.
Maybe these things won’t help you or maybe they’ll only start your journey. You never know until you decide it is time to get out and live. Only YOU know what you want in life, others are only able to give you their advice.
Fully loving myself is teaching me that I must be self-less towards myself so that I can treat others in a dignified manner. I must love myself and then can I truly love others. I must learn to consume my heart with God and His grace before I can tell others about how amazing He is.