Waddup y’all! Today we discuss one of my favorite types of love: self looovvvvveee! Alright so I’m not one to make generalizations, or prescribe “one size fits all” kinds of suggestions for growth. Basically, I am just going to keep it really real, real quick about my own life.
Self love is a concept I only truly became aware of a few years ago. Initially, I began by doing activities or buying things to make myself feel better. Ain’t gon’ lie… I still do but on a much smaller scale. I would get my nails done, eat a sweet treat, or splurge on something I wanted fairly frequently. It helped. But ultimately, my self love practices have evolved into making myself a priority amongst the many things and people for which I genuinely care.
Solely doing things or activities for myself did nothing to cultivate a healthy relationship within. It became clear that I had waaaaayyyy more internal work to do because those small treats stopped producing the same high. The biggest step for me was confronting the barriers that prevented me from accepting the woman I was at that moment in time. At that time, I struggled with a negative body image and basing my worth and value on my accomplishments. I failed to acknowledge that my body had carried me through every trial and triumph for 20+ years. All I did was mistreat and despise her. I felt as if I was not deserving of good things if I could not consistently add a bullet point to my list of accolades. I still wrestle with that one if I’m being honest. Here are a few practical things that helped me combat the negativity:
- I found a balance between not seeking outward validation and still valuing the opinions and support of those that have proven to have my best interest at heart. Previously, I had been pushing away the right people and internalizing negativity from the wrong people. I changed my internal narrative by rehearsing positive thoughts and internalizing them. I told myself every single day, out loud, that there was nothing wrong with my body and that I good things can happen to me while I am just existing. It was very hard and it took conscious effort, but it worked.
- I actively turned away from things that no longer served me. I walked away from various people, places, and things as much as I possibly could. Just as a disclaimer, it’s unrealistic to expect yourself cut off everything that no longer benefits you, cold turkey. I had to do quite a bit of evaluation of my current state, the places I was trying to go, and the various factors in my life that were either contributing or inhibiting progress. This alone is a life long and arduous process: never stop reflecting and evaluating.
- I prayed, but also actively pursued growth by developing a plan. I prayed to God and asked Him to help me show myself the grace He shows me and the grace I show others. I forced myself to accept my flaws and mental state (at the time I was extremely depressed and suffering from anxiety) so I could move forward accordingly. My plan included spending time with loved ones, developing a budget and financial plan, doing a devotional, speaking up for myself, working out, and doing other therapeutic exercises I learned while I was a therapist. Shameless plug: I am a HUGE proponent for therapy but at the time I could not afford it. GO. TO. THERAPY!
For me, it all boiled down to making consistent, small choices and discipline. I had to confront my fears, insecurities, and negative thought patterns, create a plan and engage my village in holding me accountable. I had to show myself grace and truly befriend the woman within!
Article written by Jherica Johnson
Featured Image obtained from: http://www.balayoga.com/self-love/