I have been on a self-love adventure for the past two years of my life, and I can tell you honestly that I now truly love myself. Yes, I said it. I love me! It feels so free to admit to you that I indeed love myself, and (here’s the best part) not feel guilt or shame or embarrassment in saying it.
It certainly wasn’t always like this. I guess I liked myself growing up, but with a mom devoting love to me 24/7, getting recognition for being a star student, and receiving applause from audiences when I performed, I didn’t exactly need to love myself. I got “love” from other people and for my achievements. Which is why once all of these things were gone, I crashed.
Somewhere in between college, where as a musical theatre major I was constantly told how fat, untalented and “not enough” I was (apparently theatre directors think that this sort of thing toughens you up) and my early-mid-twenties when I was struggling to figure myself out, leave an unhealthy relationship, and generally just get my footing, I lost my self-love. It must have fallen out of my pocket one day and I never even noticed it was gone. (Or more realistically, it wasn’t actually ever there to begin with.) Until I did suddenly notice, and I blurted out to my life coach one day: “Ummmm, I don’t think I love myself!”
Without anyone else to love me as much as I desired, or achievements to validate myself from, or really much of anything going on in my life, I realized then that I needed to love myself just for being ME, without all of the “stuff.” The Uni-verse was giving me the perfect situation to find this self love: I didn’t have a career to define myself by, or a relationship to hide behind, or anything tangible to validate myself with. I had to dig really deep and learn to love myself just for BEING. Not for doing anything, but for just being myself. My beautiful, wonderful Self.
It started with a lot of healing and accepting of where I was, who I was, and what I had gone through. I did (and still do) a LOT of self-forgiveness for the judgments I had placed on my past, my present and my body. As the layers started to peel away, I had a bigger and more conscious realization that I was a child of The Uni-verse, a beautiful, wonderful child of The Uni-verse, and that I was made just the way I am for a purpose. And so are you. You are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are exactly the way you are designed to be. And if anyone has told you otherwise, it’s perhaps because they didn’t love themselves.
Loving myself doesn’t outwardly appear very different, at least I don’t think so. I don’t shower myself with gifts, I’m not shouting about my love from the stern of a ship, and nothing looks drastically different. But inside, it’s a whole new story. I have this deep inner well of love for myself, and it’s pure because it has nothing to do with what I’m doing- only with who I am. I accept myself and also still recognize where I can grow in life (lots of areas!!) and in consciousness; but now it comes from a loving place instead of an “I need to fix myself” kind of place. It feels very peaceful to me, and I’m sure that as I grow to love myself even more, it will keep evolving and changing.
Do you feel like your inner self-love well is full? Or is it dry? Do you constantly belittle yourself or think that you should have done something differently? Do you have judgments about your past? About your present? Do you think something about you “should” be different? Are there things about yourself that you actually don’t like at all? I can tell you, I really hear that and I get it! But I am here to tell you that you are perfect. Your past was perfect, your present is perfect, and YOU are perfect.
If you are finding yourself having a strong emotion in reaction to what I just said, here are some things I have learned to help you uncover your own self-love:
1) Forgive, forgive, forgive! Forgive yourself for all the judgments you have thrown and continue to throw on yourself. None of them are true. Not a one.
2) Everything in your life that has happened, is happening and will happen is perfect. It all happened for a reason and it is perfect.
3) You have always done the best that you can do, even if it seems like you haven’t.
4) You haven’t done anything wrong, even if it seems like you have.
5) You are SOOOOOO incredibly worthy of your own love and affection.
I am doing this exercise, inspired by a class that I recently took to tell myself at least five things per day that I love about myself! Join me? It’s fun, and even if it feels silly or uncomfortable at first, I promise it will get easier. And if you feel called to, I would love it if you shared those five things with me and the other TDL Readers! We can all benefit from the self-love you share with us. Now, go get loving yourself!
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Erinn Selkis is a health and wellness counselor who compassionately supports her clients to improve all aspects of their lives through nutrition and personal growth. Check out her coaching website at http://www.erinnselkis.com.