You Are Enough.
"I am mine before I am anyone else’s.”
Loving yourself goes beyond looking at yourself in the mirror and liking what you see. It goes beyond that of external beauty. The act of actually living it out and radiating your confidence. Self-love is not only the act of doing, but more importantly the act of being. It's the highest level of respect for yourself, a commitment to yourself that you will stay true to yourself and to others. Self-love is an internal beauty, something that develops within the soul and must be treated with care. It is something intangible, something that can't be handled by another individual. If self-love is something you often try to give yourself, but can't quite put your finger on what's missing--I want to show you how to fill the gap. Here's a couple of things I've practiced that have shaped my journey to self-love:
DEFINE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME.
She's in there—that person, that inner you that has been waiting in the wings for some time. While you evaluate the person you want to become, think about your values. The woman you want to become should align with those values. My suggestion is to write your values down, and then right down the qualities of the best version of yourself. For example, when I was working through this process I had a little journal I would carry around with me. It had my dreams, to-do lists, important notes, and goals. One of these pages held the qualities I want to completely obtain, and some of them included: Self-Love, Integrity, Confidence, Courageousness, Spirituality, Patience, Compassion, Inspiration, etc. I understand all of these qualities are simple, but the more simple you keep it, the easier it is to remember.
I began practicing these qualities by showing others I had them. I knew that if I wanted to be the best version of myself, I first had to act and believe that I am the best version of myself. I used to be high-tempered and impatient, and through time I became aware of my behavior (self-awareness is key here). Any time I knew things weren't going my way, I immediately had to take a deep breath and shift my perspective. Yes, it was hard, but I made it work. In the moment that I stopped myself from reacting, I realized I had power, and that my power was my will to be who I want to be, and that allowed me to demonstrate that power to others. What you give, you will also receive.
I've had to reinvent myself numerous times to get here, but the point of doing this is to shed off the energies that only hinder you at this point in your life. You're trying to go to the next level, but anything toxic will only hinder you from reaching the next best version of you.
"I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was."
GET RID OF ANYTHING TOXIC.
"Clip your dead ends for growth, and I'm not just talking about hair."
This should include bad habits, clutter, bad relationships, bad energies, a job that sucks the life out of you--anything that you would consider a hindrance. It needs to go--anything that no longer aligns with the person you want to be. If you don't allow yourself to do this, you're allowing anything to hinder your personal growth, and that can destroy your sense of inner peace. Leaving anything unhealthy will become second nature when self-love is set as a priority.
"You deserve the love you so freely give to other people"
Another example, if you are a giver, you need to give yourself just as much as you would give to others. This includes time, resources, energy, love, etc. Your time shouldn't be wasted--it's precious, and so is your love and energy. Of all people, you've proven to yourself you deserve it. You've fought a hard life, you've gone through challenges, you've been bruised but you're still standing. You're the only person who has walked Your Journey of Life. Give yourself what you give to the people who have not seen that part of you--the scared and broken part of you--the part of you that was shaped by all those experiences that made you who you are today. You're strong, and your strength will feed off of your love, self-love that is. When your glass is empty, you have nothing left to give. Fill your glass first, and there will be room to share.
TURN THE PAIN INTO POWER.
Whether it's pain from the past, pain from a relationship, pain from letting go...shift that pain into power. Letting go of the need to control others is the first step to this. I know, it seems contradicting... but letting go of the need for control actually gives you the power to make your own decisions, instead of letting the decisions of others affect you. Let's face it, we can't control those around us, and we definitely can't control the choices they are going to make. Whether we have good intentions or not, we have high hopes for the way certain people and situations should turn out. Regardless, it's not healthy. We need to face up to the fact we can't control everything, yet we can control our mind--and that's our focus. Your mind is the most powerful thing, so we must shift our perspective to gain that power to influence our own lives, instead of wishing we could (innocently) influence others. We are talking about self-love here--notice the root word "self." So here's where your power comes into play:
Do something that makes you light up when you talk about it. Whether that be going to the gym, reading a book, photography, going for a walk outside. Find a couple days out of the week to mix up your daily routine. For me personally, I love working out because it clears my mind and makes me feel good in my own skin. Keeping up with my fitness leads to eating healthy, and that leads to a healthy body, and a healthy spirit. The goal here is to create as many passionate moments as possible, and doing that as often as you can.
CHOOSE TO EVOLVE.
Self-love is like a delicate flower. It starts off as a seed and you must water it daily. If it's fed in the right environment, with enough sunlight, it will blossom. If you plant the flower in someone else's yard, it will be watered according to their time and schedule, and how often the other wants to water it. There are many beautiful flowers out there, but every flower is unique. Each flower doesn't compare itself to the next, it just blossoms on its own. But remember, the flower must be fed in order to grow. The more often you water the flower, the more beautiful it becomes.
Declare today that you are the person you've always wanted to be. Turn that dream into a reality. Be proud of the progress you've made, even the little bitty steps you've taken to get there...especially the progress no one else has seen. Give yourself something to look forward to every day. Stop accepting anything less than you deserve; you deserve the world because you fought for it. Don't dim your light to let others shine...there's enough sunlight for everyone. Anything toxic, get rid of it. Anything that gives you life and soul, keep it--and hold on to it. Self-love will come the minute you believe in yourself, and the rest will follow.
A couple more things to remember:
Instead of saying "I'm damaged, I'm broken, I have trust issues" etc., say "I'm healing, I'm rediscovering myself, I'm starting over." Practice positive self-talk.
In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you
If you keep avoiding self-love, the universe will send you people who also avoid loving you
Everything is beautiful when you stop looking for flaws
Stop telling people more than they need to know
Worry about yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you
Trust your instincts--if it feels wrong, don't do it
Know that challenges are strictly for your growth and can unlock your full potential
"It doesn't matter who you used to be; what matters is who you are today. You are not your mistakes. You are not your past. And you are offered a new opportunity with each breath to think, choose, decide and act differently in a way that supports you in being all that you are capable of being." You are not less than. You are more than Enough.