I don’t really know how to start this, because the simple answer to “How did I learn to love myself?” is this: I just did. I simply made the decision to love myself. I decided to appreciate every aspect of who I was inside and out. Because why the fuck not?
But now that I think about it, that decision only came after I put the mindset work in for other aspects of my life. Once I started making my mindset a priority, I was finally able to get to the point of looking in the mirror and saying, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m hot, I’m fun, I’m funny, and I love me.” Through mindset work, I was able to get to know myself and figure out all the little quirks that I’d subconsciously been hiding that actually make me quite lovable.
It started with meditation. Well, let me go back. It started with failed meditation. It started with several minutes of me lying in bed trying to quiet my mind and anxiety before finally giving up. But I kept going, I kept trying. One day, I actually, finally, reached a trance like state that was so euphoric, I cried tears of joy. I felt happiness that I didn’t know I could feel. It was amazing. My world was changed. I still remember the way that euphoria felt and am so in love with my mind for being able to take me there.
It also started with journaling. It started with writing all about how unhappy I was with my life circumstances. Every depressed thought I had, every ounce of anger within myself for being in such a desperate place, I let it explode onto the paper like a bomb. Then while re-reading the entries I realized, “Holy shit. I sound like such a miserable person. This is not okay.”
So I began writing out the things I was happy about. I started focusing on appreciation for my life. It didn’t mean the shitty parts weren’t there - it just meant that I was choosing to look into the light instead of the darkness. It was a hard pattern to break, going full blown optimist and all, but things in my life truly did begin to change to match up with the bright side I was forcing myself to focus on.
Positive changes began taking place in other aspects of my life, so it was time to complete the circle and love myself. I used to avoid the mirror. But just like I did with the whole forcing myself to focus on the positive thing, I forced myself to look in the mirror and love what I was seeing. I would say affirmations like, “My body is amazing. I love my body. I love who I am.” Slowly but surely, I would mean what I was saying a little bit more and a little bit more every day. My body was the same - stretch marks, extra pounds - but the way I was choosing to look at it was different. I wasn’t focused on the so called “bad” parts about me. I was focused on having two legs that allowed me to run and play with my children, on my curves that look amazing when I dance, on my stomach that housed all the nutrition and chocolate I put into it. I stopped feeling embarrassed about talking to myself in the mirror and started owning it with enthusiasm because no one is going to pump yourself up like you can. The people in your life may compliment you and tell you that you look great are you are fabulous just the way you are, and that’s wonderful! But to really stick, to really feel it, that shit has to come from inside, even if you have to fake it until you make it.
I think the key thing to note is that it’s an ongoing process. You cannot love yourself if you’re not ready to make the changes within your mind. You can’t snap your fingers and have everything be different and perfectly in place. But you CAN make the effort every day. You CAN put the practices in place that will help you get to a good place mentally. Hell, even now, I absolutely love myself but I have a rare day here and there where I don’t feel like the bad ass chick I am, and that’s a-okay. It’s just part of the journey. Give yourself grace and then tell yourself that you love how you’re able to give yourself grace. Isn’t it so wonderful what an amazing and gentle person you are? Isn’t it so wonderful how you listen to your body and mind’s needs? YAS KWEEN. You got this!
If nothing else, just look in the mirror every day and say an affirmation. You don’t even have to mean it right away. You can feel silly saying it, that’s fine. But keep doing it and see how your perspective starts to shift. The things we tell ourselves shape our reality. You have the control, so take it!
I became so in love with myself that I ended up doing a boudoir shoot to celebrate. Highly recommend doing one of those. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and it is so empowering. I now love who I am and who I will be in the decades to come, after years of being down on myself. It’s time to love yourself.