Self love is hard as shit. It’s brought forth so many of the things that I do consciously and unconsciously that sabotage my efforts as an ever-evolving human. There are a lot of people and Instagram influencers who preach the message of self love on the daily, but they seldom seem to use the words that speak to me. Somehow in their messages to the masses of their followers, they lose me. (This is how I know I’m meant to write anything in this world. I can’t stand it when I feel like the narrative of a topic I care about has a one-sided representation.) So in an effort to make all the fluffy, spiritually based trendy talk make actual sense, I offer myself and my experiences up for further review to the masses who read this blog. Most of the time I have no idea who you are. But if you’ve found this message somehow, trust that it’s meant for you. I do a lot of talking about myself and my experiences here on this blog, because it’s the only thing I can speak in absolutes about. I’m not an expert on wind chimes, health food, or really much of anything outside of my experiences of the world. I can only speak to what I know.
But there’s one thing I know for sure – attempting to incorporate what it actually means to love myself into my daily life has brought a shift so profound it’s challenging to put into words. But of course, knowing me, I’m always up for a worthy challenge.
Taking on the journey and adventure of true, unconditional self-love has been one of the most arduous journeys I have ever embarked upon.
I genuinely had no idea what I was getting myself into.
The idea of self-love found its way to me through means of a more spiritually based lifestyle that I have taken up in the past few years. I continued to see the importance of radical self love and acceptance being touted by a variety of sources I came across on the internet and in books. The language differs on how the message of “love yourself” is communicated, but the underlying tune of the song remains the same.
Self-love and acceptance are radical acts.
Now I don’t mean to use this entry as my personal public whipping post, but I feel compelled to share the ways in which I never realized I was lacking love for myself until recently. I’ve traveled my entire lifetime up through this point never fully knowing what it meant or looked like to completely love myself for all that I am, warts and all.
Plus, where would I even learn that from? The more that I learned about loving yourself, the more apparent it has become to me that by shifting my perspective to observe those around me, I am not the only person struggling to love myself completely in today’s world of perfectly curated Instagram feeds, skinny teas galore, plastic surgery, diet culture, rampant drug use, and ever increasing rates of suicide.
It feels to me like we are struggling on a global scale to love ourselves the way that I know we are meant to.
I know I’ve fallen victim to more self-hate traps than I care to admit to, but the point of this blog post is to get them out in the open so I can release them and hopefully, help you connect with ways you might be less than loving toward your own self. IF you’re open to it.
So, let’s go ahead and admit to some of them now.
I often times have very negative self talk. Which is quite possibly my biggest hurdle I face today, and one that is a tangled ball of yarn to unravel. There are many narratives throughout my lifetime that other people have said about me that I’ve willingly accepted, without question. I was told constantly growing up how I was mean, bossy, or selfish because I would put my own needs before the needs of others. Come to find out, after 20 years of having that narrative continue and finally push me to my breaking point, it was never wrong of me to fulfill my own needs in the first place. I was convinced for a long time that my “focus on self” was damaging to those around me, especially as a child. That was a lie.
I don’t carry many body image narratives in my mind, but there are some underlying beauty related narratives that I have carried around with me that are challenging to unravel. Having been a petite person my entire life, I’ve actually been told I wasn’t allowed to dislike anything about my body so somehow that message was able to stick. There is very little I dislike about this mortal shell that houses my soul, but I struggle to fully love it. While I may not hate my inability to weigh more than a certain number (which I don’t think is necessary to share), I don’t celebrate my body in the ways that I genuinely believe we all should celebrate our bodies. My body literally does more for me than any living human could ever do for me, and I give it such little appreciation. (Let’s hear it for the true unsung heroes of today, our under-appreciated bodies.) I think athletic bodies are worshipped in current times, and it appears they they have been for a long time. See olympics and statues and shit. However, what about all the rest of us who aren’t professional athletes? Are we not worthy of the same praise? I’m just not buying that train of thought, folks. Being able to create a new narrative in my mind about my deep love and admiration for my body has been challenging but boy I can tell you the moment I started appreciating this disposable, temporary home that I currently reside in, and treating it like it’s the only body I have (because fun fact it kind of is…..kind of) it started to do amazing things. My loved body started craving different foods, started processing those foods differently, starting communicating to me better about what’s going on inside, and so much more.
I also carry around a narrative that I’m an asshole. Being a blunt person who appears to be a know-it-all (even though I’m constantly saying how I know nothing for sure and most things are my opinion) people are quick to label you an asshole. As if sharing your values and beliefs and ideas is inappropriate. Somehow I’ve managed to become hyper aware of my “asshole” ways in recent years and it’s given me just the cutest touch of anxiety. (Read: social anxiety because I can’t human anymore with this new level of awareness.)
My eating habits are sometimes out of line with what a loving person would do to themselves. The challenge is that I’m supposed to love myself anyway and accept that I’m a flawed human who stumbles and can still be healthy if I’ve had a bad week.
I have completely unrealistic goals for myself that cripple me in the long run. I’m an all or nothing type of person, unfortunately, which I’m sure has some sort of great use that I have yet to tap into, but I’ve seen the patterns and the ways in which it holds me back from making forward movement in a majority of settings in my life. I’m terrified to fuck something up. I’m utterly convinced that if I mess something up, it’s literally the end of the world and it was all my doing. (Hey there again, anxiety, how you doing?) However, when I finally make forward movement and something turns out imperfectly, nothing happens. I’m actually so fulfilled over the fact that I tried something that I couldn’t care less if it was perfect in the first place because I tried something.
These are just the patterns I am consciously working on releasing, and I know many more exist within myself that I’m unaware of.
The point of this post though, wasn’t to get anyone to feel sorry for me or think, “wow, this girl is really messed up” because I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who struggles in the self love department. The examples that I wrote about are just my struggles, the ones I am aware of and working to change. As with all my overly personal blog posts, I use myself as a template for my readers to know that it’s okay to be a continual work in progress. You can simultaneously be a masterpiece and a work in progress, and don’t let anyone ever convince you otherwise. It’s okay to recognize that you haven’t been loving yourself the way you maybe should. The important part is what you choose to do once you realize it. Do you continue to hold onto the negative narratives that feed into the self hatred machine? Or do you work on unraveling where they came from, how they are false, and appreciating all that you are instead of focusing on all that you are not?
The choice is ultimately yours, but hopefully after reading this post and hearing about my own efforts, you are able to take the next step toward self love with me. A journey is much easier when traveled together.