I’m starting a new section to my blog, so now other than Dear (insert month here) and my writings, you have Lessons I’ve Learnt now too. Welcome to the fam! Lessons I’ve Learnt is a reflective platform for me, like Dear (insert month here). The inaugural topic I’ve chosen for Lessons I’ve Learnt is on the topic of choosing to (learn to) love myself.
If I did only one thing right in 2016, it would be choosing to love myself. I can tell you right here, right now that it is singlehandedly the best decision I have ever made in my sixteen and a half years of existence. I’ve always been indecisive, I’ve always been unsure, but this time, I can assure myself that yes, I’m right about this.
I’ll give you a little backstory on why I chose 2016 to be the year that I chose myself (no, I do not want this statement to come off narcissistic, but as long as you get the gist…). Prior to 2016, I had been “burdened” with emotional baggage. There were a series of events that happened in my life that caused all that. It started in 2010, then it accumulated, then reached an all time high in 2014 when I entered a downward spiral of mental/emotional instability. I’ve had it hard, some people have it harder, but every year, my resolution remained the same: to learn to love myself. At the end of 2015, so many things had happened (not that a lot hasn’t happened all these years but still) and some of it made me change my perspective on the way I was living my life. That period of time, amidst of working non-stop, I kind of realised the things and people that mattered the most. I don’t quite remember the exact moment when I made my choice, but I know it changed everything.
Choosing to love yourself is not easy. If you’ve spent years hurting, you can’t just “snap out of it”. You need to know how. Here’s how I started the journey to loving myself…
- STOP comparing yourself to others. STOP letting people’s comparison of you to others get to your precious head and heart. STOP. The moment you start comparing yourself to others, you get stuck in a vortex you cannot get out of. Everyone is unique, no one is the same as the other. There is not gonna be anyone like you.
- Take time out for yourself. Take time out to do things you forgot you even loved. Take time out. Some things can wait, loving yourself can’t because it is so damn important. Start to do things that once made you happy or still made you happy and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be someone you should keep in your life. I remember being distant from writing for almost two years and reconnecting with it made me feel like myself again. Find something you love to do that you used to identify with.
- Keep in mind why you’re choosing to love yourself. Keep in mind who you’re choosing to love yourself for. The answer is you and only you.
- Detox / ˈdiːtɒks/ (noun): a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification. Clean out whatever could possibly be something that could hinder your progress towards you ultimately, wholeheartedly loving yourself. Whatever is a negative source, hit the delete button online and offline. Does someone make you feel horrible about yourself when they say something about you? Stand up for yourself or if they’ve been doing it for the long run, it’s time for goodbye. In a digital age, social media can sometimes make us question the person you are and the life you have. I cleared out my Facebook friend list, from a 600 odd figure to just below 300, that’s more than half. A social media detox is necessary if you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to someone on social media platforms (especially Instagram). Read about ways to do a social media detox here.
- Realise the fact that self love is in you. You just have to begin the long journey to find that love. Realise your worth. You are amazing.
Lesson No. 1: Learning to love yourself is a long journey, but it’s worth it.
I think that when it came to learning to love myself, I grew a bit of patience, which everybody knows I never really had. But why would I consider the journey worth it? One answer is obvious, you get to finally, wholeheartedly love yourself. Do you know how many people dream of being able to say that to themselves? It is so heartwarming to even think about it. The next answer, is that you get to discover parts of you that you never even knew about.
Lesson No. 2: It’s better late than never.Patience. As mentioned earlier, patience is not exactly my strongest point. These two lessons correlate, patience just lies in both. My friends know I can only give a 10-15 minute grace time for them if they’re late, one second past the sixteenth minute, I flood their phones with messages. When you take time to stop and love yourself, you realise that everything happens for a reason and that’s okay. Every tough experience not only made me stronger but it also made me realise I should never solve my problems a particular way again. But what I’m most thankful for is that it also made me wiser.
Lesson No. 3: You start finding happiness in the smallest things.
When I had time for myself, I had time to notice things around me. I call this period of time where “one finally takes the time to smell the roses on the sidewalk before they began to wilt”. We all know that roses don’t last very long, no matter how much love and care we give it. Taking time to appreciate everyone an everything around you before they’re gone, is exactly what that sentence means to me. See when you’re so caught up in everything life throws at you, your vision looks straight ahead. It doesn’t look at what behind you, on your left, on your right, above you or what’s on the ground before you. When you stop and just take a moment to appreciate the world around you, it’s kinda great actually. Here’s a great article to begin in finding happiness in the smallest things.
Lesson No. 4: You recognise and acknowledge that your only enemy is yourself.
As the saying goes, your only enemy is yourself. It’s true. When I started to love myself, I realised that the person who was the hardest on me, was actually myself. When negative things that people said was just treated as constructive criticism, not taken to heart or simply went in one ear and went out from the other, I began to realise that most of the time, the person who hinders your success, is you. Self doubt, self loathing all obstructed your way to self love, remember? Ironic, isn’t it? I think, for me, self love only happened when I started being sure of myself, giving myself self assurance. Self assurance is so easy, yet so hard. Tell yourself you can do it and if it fails, tell yourself it’s okay to fall, just remember to pick yourself up. As the saying goes, “fall down seven times, stand up eight”. It’s better to have a friend than an enemy and we all have to be on our own sides.
Lesson No. 5: When it’s me against the world, at least I have me.
As narcissistic and melodramatic as it may come across, I am my own best friend. No one knows you better than you. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Believe in yourself is like trusting someone new, just that this person happens to be one you have known your whole life. Knowing yourself and start being proud of a person that you have become. It might sound funny that your only enemy and your only ally is yourself, but the world works in warped ways (alliteration game strong) and this is one. You are your only enemy and you are your only limit.
Lesson No. 6: Choices are yours to make.
There is a quote on the back of Divergent by Veronica Roth, “One choice will define you.” I have always found it hard to relate to this quote, but I knew it meant something and resonated with at least one part of me. It’s your life, it’s your choice. If you choose to “wallow in self pity”, that’s your choice. If you choose to pack up and just go, that’s your choice. Choosing to love myself is my choice. Life makes rules that are meant to be broken, if you constantly abide by teh rules, are you ever gonna live? You have the right to make your choice, but every choice you make defines you. No, that statement is not meant to trigger some sort of fear in you and send a chill up your spine, it’s meant to tell you, that loving yourself is a choice you can make and it is always going to be there until you choose to take it. And I suggest that you grab it by the lapels and tell it you want it, you need it.
I think that’s all I have to say. I will never feel like this post has come out the way I envisioned it to be, but regardless, it was necessary to put a post like this onto my blog. I’m happy that I get to be one of those “bloggers” who has made a post on self love.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”