For the longest time, I thought that I had to get to a place to be like “oh I love myself.” After I got to that place, I never thought that I would have practice self-love again and that I was set for life. I thought I had to be in a relationship with myself to get to that point and boom all of my problems would go away. I was wrong. I was so wrong that I think it’s the funniest thing now.
I didn’t understand self-love. I didn’t know what it entailed because bluntly speaking, I didn’t see how awesome I can be. I didn’t know how to love myself, and I didn’t think that I ever could. I didn’t like a lot about who I was as a person. For a long time, I attributed my value to the people who were around me. I felt that if the people around were these amazing people, then that meant that I was an amazing person because of the associative property. Well, when those people leave your life and you grow apart from them, it can put you in a bad spot. It did when it happened to me.
For a long time, I was not in the best spot emotionally because of that experience. Life continued to get harder, and I found ways to distract myself from my emotions because dealing with them was not fun. Then I started therapy and eventually life got better. I got into my dream grad school, I got my best GPA ever, and I had this amazing support system. Then I was scrolling through social media and I broke down in tears because I felt empty inside and I felt so alone. One would think that I was on top of the world after all of that good stuff in my life. Ha, I felt like I was on the bottom. It was not a good feeling at all, and it made me realize that I didn’t love myself. I talked to my therapist about this, and I learned about self-love and what it truly means.
Self-love means appreciating who you are even with your “flaws”. It means being your own cheerleader and best friend on the hard days. It’s about picking yourself up, even when you’ve faceplanted onto an icy sidewalk (I didn’t face plant, but I did land on my butt which was not fun).
Self-love isn’t a destination, it’s a skill. It’s something that you have to continuously work on and practice every day of your life. Obviously, it takes time to develop the skill but it’s not like once you have the skill you have it for life. It’s not like a riding a bike. If anything, it’s like working out your muscles. You have to build them up to get them toned and then you have to do it consistently or else you will lose them. Each workout you do, works out your muscles in a different way (according to the people who tell me how to work out.) Point is, that same concept applies to self love.
There are different ways to practice self-love. It could be watching your favorite movie, journaling, listening to your favorite music, working out, or others. One big thing to do on top of whatever you choose to do is to remind yourself what you like about yourself and what traits you embody that you think people are drawn to. Then to pretend that those traits are comforting you during the hard times. I struggled with this for a long time.
I didn’t understand why people wanted to be around me. I only saw the negatives in my personality. Finding what people might like about me felt like the impossible and that is not an exaggeration. I had to think long and hard about what I liked about myself and what traits were “unique” to me and how I presented them. In the spirit of sharing, after contemplating it for a long time I realized that I love how caring, driven, and how funny I am, and how these are unique to me. If you’ve met me, you know that I care about everything and anything that comes to my life and I want the best in everyone. I don’t care if I’ve met them for two seconds, I will cheer everyone on. It explains why I want to be a teacher, why I’ve done the clubs I’ve done in college, and why I am so against tearing people down. I am driven, if I have a goal in mind there is nothing stopping me from getting to that goal. I will work endlessly, and I won’t give up at the first or thousandth challenge that comes my way in achieving it. Thirdly, I love my sense of humor. I make myself laugh on a daily basis. Honestly, I think it’s because I grew up in a family where laughter was just always in the air especially around the holidays. There’s never been a holiday where there isn’t laughter. I think I am funny because I grew up being around such hilarious people. There are more traits that I like about myself, but those are the 3 that make me feel warm and a sense of love inside. I remind myself of these 3 things every single day.
Overall, self-love is a commitment and a skill. Life is going to go on and it is going to be challenging at times (trust me, my life never ceases to give me a good challenge). During those moments, taking the time to practice self-love through whatever avenue and reminding yourself about what you think is so special about who you are is vital. I can tell you it’s not easy all of the time. Still, that doesn’t deter from its importance.
I love who I am, and I know I am really awesome. Some may disagree, but like who are they determine what I think about myself? They don’t know the full picture of who I am. Only I know that. I know that Kathryn DeBois (me) is a special person, and so are you (the reader). I will continue to practice this skill of self-love and remind myself of why I am special every single day. I hope you (the reader) do so to for yourselves.
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