The person you will constantly have in your life is yourself.
Some of us love ourselves, and some of us aren’t sure how we feel. I am writing to you from the middle of my self-love journey.
I know it is typical nowadays to see the ongoing movement and uproar of self-love. For me, I feel like it is constantly surrounding me on social media. It doesn’t matter if I am scrolling through Instagram or doing research, it seems to always slap me in the face.
“Love yourself, love who you are and what you do.” The positive tips go on.
As much as I respect this newfound fascination with self-love, I’m having a hard time with it myself. Seeing those constant reminders almost makes me feel shameful. Why can’t I love myself already? Everyone else seems to be achieving it with ease. What is wrong with me?
That’s the beginning of a vicious cycle. “What is wrong with me?” seems to be my mind’s favorite question no matter what I’m doing. For years, I fed on that cycle, I agreed with my mind’s negative questions, and relentlessly searched for their answers.
I felt like I was on a treadmill going nowhere and always trying to tackle one problem in hopes that I finally would feel good enough, only to have another “issue” pop up. I was running and running all through my younger years and high school until bam, I hit a wall—a terrifying one that gave me the final answer I thought I was looking for: I should just end it.
It sounds pretty morbid, but seriously, that was the grand solution stemming from mindless running and wanting it to badly stop. Now, do not get me wrong, I did not love the whole idea of ending my life, and I never pursued it too seriously, but it was tempting. I stared at that thought straight in the eyes—I was on the line, and I could have gone either way.
Luckily, I had the right support systems around me who yanked me back to reality and safety. The smack into that wall did change me though: it lit a fire under me that pushed me to change and find some other way to live more peacefully. I took inventory of my life, all the things that have gone wrong, and all the relationships that drained me and made me feel useless. I realized that I blamed all my worth, my power, and my downfalls on outside sources.
When in reality, it has always been up to me. It was me who gave my power away and did not find worthiness in my own life.
I still fight with myself every day to get up and make the right choices and take time to heal. Healing is scary and tough, but the closer I get to finally love all of me, the greater I feel. Start with doing something little for yourself every day: move, breathe, feel, and do not let others take away your power. It is always hard to begin, but once you do, you won’t regret it.
Here are a few small things that can help you on your self-love journey:
The easiest way to begin your journal practice is to write gratitude lists. Take time to sit with yourself, and write out the things that you are grateful for.
Take a shower or a bath
Water is known as a healing source. If you take showers on a mindful level, you will feel the effects. Envision the water washing away all the sadness and the stress that have occurred in your day. For me, I am a big fan of baths. Dressing them up with oils and Epsom salts is the best detoxification for your mind and your body.
Practice breathing exercises
A counting breath exercise is so simple to start with and helps bring your body down to a calmer state. For example, inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. This breath technique eases anxiety and calms the body. There are so many different techniques online, and you can start with the one that works for you.
Go for a walk
I promise when you take a step outside, no matter where you are, you will be able to really see how big the world is. Going for a little walk a day to focus on yourself and how you are truly feeling, without too much outside stimulation, will help you calm down and connect with yourself again.
Meditation can be done anytime throughout your day. You do not need to sit in a quiet position for hours. For some people, it works wonders, and they are able to do it, but others can’t, and that’s okay. Getting lost in your favorite hobbies is still considered meditation, such as sitting still and drawing circles on a paper, working on your breath while walking, or being mindful of your surroundings. Meditation works and it helps—it is good for all of us, but it won’t work if we don’t enjoy it.
A few simple stretches a day to get your blood flowing will elevate your mood. Taking time to sit with your body and really feel what it’s feeling is also a form of moving meditation.
Build your uplifting support system
There are people in this world who love and care about you. Find the people who want the best for you, who will guide you down a better path, and lean into them.
With all of this, I am trying to tell you that you aren’t alone. Feeling alone is normal, and for some people, it is harder to love and believe in themselves. We are supposed to love ourselves, believe it or not. It might take a little more effort for some of us, so learn how to show love to yourself, have a glass of wine, and take yourself out on a date.
Little daily things—like the list above—show us that it is necessary to treat yourself well. I hope those tips help you know that you aren’t alone. Learning to care for ourselves can be a long hard journey, but it is worth it.