Everyone has heard the phrase, “Love yourself or nobody will.” But, in reality what does that even mean?
To me self love is spiritual. It’s something I could not figure out on my own. I finally think I understand it now. It came from asking God to reveal areas of my life that stole away my love for myself and my joy.
I’m used to putting the needs of others ahead of my own, which is just apart of who I am. But, I learned that I do not have to feel guilty for considering myself too. Showing myself some love used to send me on a guilt trip.
I will tell you what self love means to me now, at 26 years old. I am comfortable enough in my own skin to talk about self love.
It’s definitely not something that can be bought. It can’t be painted on…it’s something that started in the deepest and most delicate part of my heart. It’s acknowledging that in order to give love it has to genuinely live inside of me. Otherwise, I’m just existing and not living.
Self love doesn’t always have to be super deep and profound. Sometimes it’s found in the simple things.
1. Not being depressed when the number on the scale doesn’t match the number that I’m hoping for before I step on the scale. No, that doesn’t mean NO DISAPPOINTMENT – it means no DEPRESSION. The scale used to depress me. Loving myself is being okay with the extra 15 lbs. I’ve gained in the last year and taking responsibility for it (let’s be honest, I ate more and worked out less – blame it on engagement & newlywed bliss.) Loving myself looks like, doing what I have to do to get my weight back to a happy place – but not obsessing and depressing over it. Now I know that obsession is unhealthy and usually doesn’t work long term. Taking responsibility is loving myself, that’s healthy.
2. Taking time for me while I have no kids. Sometimes that means just zoning out to my favorite show, The Real, and feeling like I’m best friends with Tamara. It’s sitting in a pedicure chair, and closing my eyes imagining that the auto massage is better than it really is. It’s just taking a moment to do absolutely nothing, even when there are a list of other things I could be doing. Loving myself looks like stopping sometimes. Chilling. Loving myself is shamelessly taking advantage of my child-less years and being a little selfish sometimes. That won’t always be possible. So loving myself is taking the time now.
3. Setting attainable goals. I am proud of my goals I have set for the year. I’m proud because I didn’t set any goals that I did not believe I could actually achieve. Loving myself is being realistic and not setting impossible standards that I know are not real for my life right now. It means, challenging myself while realizing that I can do anything I want to do…but, it’s okay to not do it all RIGHT NOW.
4. Creating the rhythm I want to dance to, not the rhythm others feel I should be dancing to. Loving myself is owning my own life under God’s direction.
5. Looking my anxieties dead in the face and telling them to, “GO!” As a person who could be the poster child for anxiety attacks, I realize that sometimes I speak life into the attacks by inviting situations that make me anxious into my space. I’m learning to not be anxious for anything but in all things put my trust in God. I’m learning to take my anxieties up in prayer. Or, when I can’t deal on my own…loving myself is asking for someone to help me through it. Loving myself is letting go of my pride and saying, “I am not okay…please pray/talk with me.” Loving myself is not being ashamed when I’m overwhelmed.
6. Not giving other people the authority over my emotions. THIS.IS.HUGE! I’m such a people pleaser. I do not like for anyone to be upset, especially not with me. My heart is BIG and very delicate, believe me. I just want to get along, & have everyone love me, and vice versa. However, I realize that there are just some people in my life that I can’t please. I also realize that it’s not my responsibility to do so. If someone has a problem with me just for being who I am…it’s their problem. Loving myself is knowing that what people think about me is their problem, and none of my business.
Self love is completely necessary. Most of us go through life depleting ourselves and then wonder why we end up sick and tired – literally.
I encourage you to reflect on how you show yourself love. Ask God to help you if this is an area you struggle in. Your spiritual, mental, and physical health literally depend on the way you take care of yourself – it starts in the vessel that keeps you alive. Your heart.