What Is Self Love And How To Practice Self Love?
In my very few years of existence, I’ve noticed on a large scale that people treat you the way you allow them to. I’ve also learned that the way you allow yourself to be treated is a reflection of what you think you deserve. Whoever said “You attract what you are,” might’ve been on to something. More times than not, how you think you deserve to be treated is a representation of the love you think you deserve and the love that you ultimately give yourself. Self love is something that has become a sort of buzzword lately. We see reference to self-care’ and mental health at every turn it would seem.
At A Fork In The Road
In the words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” From being on Twitter, I’ve learned a few things about loving yourself, how to identify your toxic qualities, as well as how to reclaim your time. For some of us, we grew up in a household that was more centered around progression than love. Many of our parents saw the plight we faced because of our skin tones and trained us from we were young that the hustle is the way out.
Somewhere along the journey, by emphasizing the hustle, a different form of love was neglected. Our families are the first set of people we learn how to love from, and when that foundation is voided or insufficient, it’s hard to exude that energy. The way in which we know how to receive love is also the way we show love to others and ourselves. If we grew up void of the emotional mechanism that allows us to love properly, then loving ourselves won’t be easy. This is especially true if you pair it with how we are taught to approach the world.
It wasn’t until university that I realized the importance of self love. At this time, I was always around persons of different backgrounds and experienced how easy it was to lose yourself in the chaos of it all. The love that you show yourself dictates the level of respect you have for yourself, and by extension shows people how to love and respect you. The whole process of self love is not as glamorous or as simple as many might make it seem. Self love requires an intense sense of self, dedication, and strength. But, it is all so worth it.
Many persons don’t achieve this readily because of their unwillingness to accept certain truths about themselves. When I was on this journey, trust me when I say that the road was filled with winding turns, narrow lanes, and many aggressively deep potholes. But at the end of it, my energy was unlike any I’ve ever experienced before, and it was genuine and long-lasting.
The Road To Self love
I’ve found that anything pertaining to self-development is never a quick or easy fix. It has to be something that is well thought out and carefully orchestrated. It is never something that just happens to you, but rather it requires you to be consistently intentional and present. The road to self love requires dedication and willingness to get to the ugly truth about yourself.
From my journey, the hardest part for me was getting started, but I knew I had to, and the signs were there. Some of the signs I had noticed was a change in my behavior. I no longer held myself to the same esteem as before. I was allowing people to talk to me any way they felt like, I accepted people’s disrespect, I no longer stood up for myself, and I allowed people to narrate my life. I was becoming the toxic person in my life and, needless to say, it manifested itself in multiple aspects.
The thing about it is that it’s never contained. Once there is something awry in one aspect of your life, it starts to spill over into everywhere else. So, my grades started to reflect this diminishing self-worth, my relationship with close friends and family started to fall through, and the things that usually kept me afloat started to feel like anchors. While I was going through this, I didn’t realize what was happening or what had triggered these things. One day I was crying on my floor while I was journaling, and the answer started to spill out on the page. I didn’t love myself. And the tears did come rolling in as I stared at the words on the page. “I hate myself.”
It was only after the shock and tears settled that I realized I honestly couldn’t continue along this self-destructive path. A drastic change was necessary. I can tell you that my life didn’t start looking up the next day. I was, however, intent on never saying those words to myself ever again, and that’s where the journey began. It took me almost a year to get to that point where even if life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I still loved myself. I have enough confidence in who I am as a person to repair any situation and handle my business accordingly. It took losing some people, enduring many nights listing the pros and cons of being myself, realizing that I had toxic traits and finding a way to neutralize them to get here. Falling in love with myself has been one of the most fulfilling journeys I’ve ever embarked upon and I have absolutely no regrets.
From my experience, here’s how to practice self love:
- Be open and honest with yourself.
- As with any other relationship, it takes time and commitment.
- Don’t be afraid to choose yourself.
- Don’t put a deadline on it; allow the process to happen as naturally as possible.
- Be intentional with your journey, don’t just let it happen to you, take notes, make changes and stick to the intention of loving you.
- It’s not selfish to choose yourself; persons may try to make you feel as if you’re wrong for loving yourself – you’re not.
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