Just like a relationship with your significant other, your loved-ones or friends, self love actually takes work. To get to a place of true self-love, you will have to consistently practice self respect, setting healthy boundaries, giving yourself grace, getting rid of rotten ways, and self-sabotaging traits.
Most of us see self-love as luxurious milk baths with pretty flowers, cutting off “toxic” situation-ships, and telling yourself positive affirmations on a daily basis. But, that’s just the surface and easy side of it. You know, on Instagram everything is the “pretty side”.
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1. Love who you are.
In actuality, there’s a painful side of mentally learning to really appreciate and like who you are.
For example, admitting to yourself or someone that YOU were actually the problem. Asking yourself, “Am I gonna make a conscious decision to choose new habits?” or stay stuck in the “Oh that’s just how I grew up, that’s what I was taught” mindset. Even the realization that “Yikes, I am projecting my pain on others” and “I don’t like such and such about myself”.
For example, ever since I started my process of loving myself wholeheartedly I had to sit down and write out traits that I didn’t think were a big deal to change or get rid of but, in reality those same traits were my problem. They were the reason why I was always in a funk or feeling like I wasn’t moving forward in life. The traits and behavior may be subtle but it’s the small things that’ll hold you back or launch you forward, trust me!
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2. Having patience with yourself is a form of self love.
Just like ‘life’, your self love journey is a growing process and you have to be realistic that you will have to face the growing pains of the journey. Just stay the course and try your hardest not to run away from each learning point because you feel some pressure. Sometimes pressure is necessary.
The Bible says to “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 MSG
You are in the thick of undoing EVERYTHING you thought you knew. You’re in the process of truly self discovering. True self-love is allowing hidden thoughts or desires to be uprooted, so that broken parts of yourself that have been neglected and ignored can finally be stripped away and be healed at the root.
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3. Practicing self-discipline is self love!
This is not a “cute” process or a “I wanna be perfect after this is all done” process. It’s a “I now see my flaws, I see where I could do better but I admire my imperfections and the fact that I don’t know everything and that’s ok” journey. It is a journey where you choose to keep going (stay disciplined) and do the right thing even when it’s painful and you don’t feel like it.
If it was an easy journey, all of us would be in healthy relationships, have life totally figured out and be operating from unconditional love instead of fear, hate, and disappointments. Well-formed love banishes fear. We were commanded by Christ to love others as we love ourselves. We will keep struggling with loving others well if we don’t correct the way we treat and deeply love ourselves first.
You can’t give away what you don’t have. Until you have a tender heart for understanding yourself, celebrating what makes you different, and embracing your humanity, it’s always going to be hard to understand others and their story. To me, the most beautiful thing about humanity is the power of understanding and the ability to be empathetic to others.
In the moment, it’s painful as hell to feel resentment, unforgiveness, self-hate, laziness, misunderstanding, and disappointment being cleared out from the depths of your heart. But, those are the places where you find your true self on the other side.
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4. The REAL you is powerful.
That’s where you learn to believe a broken rose is still a rose. You’re still powerful and strong despite a dysfunctional up-bringing or toxic relationships. You’re still loveable and inspiring to be around. You can still sprinkle and leave a mark everywhere you go. You still matter and make a difference, even though you’re probably not gonna get it right everyday. And that’s the whole point!
It’s ok to ‘become’ who you really are despite the pain it takes to pursue self-love and self discovery. You can only be better and greater than before. Humans exist because of love. Don’t sell yourself short and stop learning to carry love well, give love well, and receive love well… You deserve it despite your imperfections. At the end of your journey, the REAL YOU is your priceless reward! And, it’s worth it.
Love yourself well! Happy Valentines Day!