Loving everything about yourself is hard and quite frankly it doesn’t have a lot to do with what people think of you. I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble but you will likely never reach a moment of complete and overwhelming love with yourself. You might be content if you’re lucky, and that is okay.
Recently I read an article written by Kayla over on Saged Fibers where she voiced her stance on the quote, “We must love ourselves first, before somebody could ever love us back”. In her article entitled, “You Don’t Need to Love Yourself First” she lashes back against this mindset. In short, I completely agree with her.
Similarly to Kayla, I have become more grounded in who I am and content with myself through a supportive relationship. As I was reading her article I remembered a picture that I saw my first year of college. With a view like this, we are set up for self-doubt.
You will never see yourself the way others see you. We start with a skewed perspective which is extremely difficult to shed. Something less daunting that we can focus on before tackling self-love and adoration is trust in others compliments, their genuine love shared with us, and their enjoyment in our company.
Placing trust in someone to be honest with you about the way you see yourself and treat yourself can be difficult. Releasing your insecurities to someone and trust them to be honest and supportive is even harder. But boy, oh boy! It will change your life, not to mention your relationship with yourself. I should mention that this person doesn’t have to be a boyfriend or a girlfriend. They can be anyone who you feel comfortable being vulnerable and honest with. You might even be surprised what your vulnerability could do for their own doubts and baggage.
Now, you shouldn’t rely on others to fix you. Just as you can’t fix anyone else. Kayla made a great point. She said, “Independence and self-love are not synonyms”, but independence is an essential foundation for self-love. Chances are that if you are a self-doubter or a believer that you need to love yourself before you’re worthy of love yourself, you are more independent than you think. By being defensive and critical of yourself and your feelings; by being guarded; you have been independent and self-reliant already. Whether you realize it or not, you have been your own greatest protector against your greatest nemesis; yourself.
My Experience With Trust
I have found that self-love comes from the release. By trusting yourself to be vulnerable and to embrace the possibility that you could be rejected or hurt in some way, you are trusting that you will trust yourself. That, my friend, is the foundation of self-love. It is scary. Believe me, I get it. I entered my current relationship guarded and naturally, overtime my walls started to crumble and I began to trust him with my secrets and was more and more comfortable being vulnerable with him. This process did not come without tension or tears, but when you do finally work yourself up to, and ease yourself into vulnerability the freedom is payout enough.
For me, the possibility of love returned was enough. (Although, honestly, there might be a sick part of me that liked the risk because all my doubts, fears, and insecurities could have been validated.) My independence, however, reminded me that despite that possibility I would learn and grow from this experience regardless of outcome. For the record, I have learned more about myself and others than I thought I would.
Love What You Do First
It is easy to get stuck up on physical insecurities and little habits. I’ve got my fair share. I constantly get caught up on my thighs being too big, my butt not being perky enough, my face being too angular, and some of my habits and jokes being annoying. For these things it is great to know, to feel, or to hear that someone you trust, love, and admire feel differently. Your own self-love and independence can start somewhere “easier” and less deeply rooted than those insecurities that have been ingrained into you by society.
Start with what you do.
What do you do daily or can you do daily that you love? Or what do you do that makes you feel good? Make these things your primary focus.
Do you support your friends when they are having a rough time? Awesome. Think about that the next time you hate what you see in the mirror. Or maybe you do yoga, drink orange juice, always brush your teeth, or go out for drinks when you need a break. Love those habits. They are not selfish. You are not selfish. Eventually loving the things that you do will replace your negative feelings about yourself. This will take time.
You create your own path and you are entirely in charge of who you end up being. Take some time to be alone with yourself and appreciate the things that you do and what you are; who you are. Rid yourself of habits that are not adding to who you wish to be and increase habits that do. The same goes for people. Surround yourself with people who support you, care about you, and truly enjoy you. There needs to be a struggle to create change. You will be better for it. Give it time.