Okay, we've all heard the mantras. We've all heard the adamant demands for less hate and more self love. You are enough. You're capable. These are phrases that are (hopefully) becoming more and more familiar to you.
But, are you living it?
For a large majority, the answer is no. We are so quick to jump into relationships, social media, the latest fashion/or cultural trending hashtag, or a cute cat video before we even think twice about why we're doing what we're doing.
Think about it. Have you ever distracted yourself from feeling sad with food? Have you ever stayed in a relationship you knew was unhealthy because you feared being alone? Do you find yourself always needing someone around?
If you said yes to any of these questions, then in some degree you've blocked yourself from truly engaging in self love. But be not dismayed, it happens to the best of us. And so I'll tell you a true story.
When I was in high school, at the height of my eating disorder, I became part of a committed relationship. In reality, the relationship never should have happened. I was sick, and I found someone who I genuinely believed in and made me feel worthy of love when heaven knows I wasn't parting any upon myself. However, that perception of myself came from his validation. I reserved self hate for myself, and that didn't go away once I started dating someone. So I invented time and energy into something that would never be healthy because neither of us were healthy. He was just as much of a mess(self image wise) as I was. It became taxing and exhausting. And then I realized that somewhere down that road, both of us became each other's crutches. I was completely absorbed in his own baggage that it gave my eating disorder a perfect place to hide. At this point in my life, I can look back on that time and see how incredible odd and tell-tale it should have been that through the course of our entire relationship, we only talked about my eating disorder maybe twice. I was skipping meals and talking about my weight incessantly, but other people's problems fall flat to ears that can only hear their own. And that's not necessarily his fault (how you choose to deal with it and your choices are your own doing however). Long story short, I broke it off, only to have every demon I had been unknowingly keeping at bay come back to get me. Every day, the same mantra: "You are nothing. No one would care if you disappeared. You mean nothing." It didn't help that some actions on people involved part seemed to validate those fears. I believed those words. I felt like I had no one, and ED was there when I had no arms to cry into.
That's enough of that! That same year after my entire life fell apart I got the help that I needed, solidified my real friends, pursued my passions, traveled, and began my self love journey.
Today, I know that I am wonderful. I know that God love me. I know I have a purpose and I am an innately kind, passionate person. That's my core. But it's only the beginning.
So...things to remember
1) YOU CAN'T CONTROL ANYBODY'S CHOICES BUT YOUR OWN
You are not accountable for other people's poor choices. If somebody cheats on you, it doesn't mean you're not worthy of love. It means they've got commitment issues or something else going on underneath that they haven't figured out. Stop inhaling other people's baggage as your own and taking it personally. Half the time, people are thinking about themselves. You have to do your best and let the chips fall where they may.
2) YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF SETS THE STAGE FOR EVERY RELATIONSHIP YOU'LL HAVE
If you do not appreciate who you are, you will become dependent on somebody else doing it for you. Always. You will always be trying to find a new source to reboot your confidence because you will continually be running on empty. Think of the airline oxygen mask analogy. You need to put on your own mask first, otherwise, when you go to the ned task or you go to invest in someone else, you deplete yourself. It's exhausting. Start with you. Figure out those core issues you have with yourself, identify where they may have stemmed from, and find a way to process through them healthfully. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Rome's not built in a day.
3) YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMOVE TOXIC PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE
The best way to tell if you have a toxic person in your life is to see how they influence you. Do they make you want to be a better person? Are they unhealthily dependent on you? Do you feel belittled, despondent, or threatened by them? Do you just not click? All of those things happen. And in any of those scenarios, it is okay to step away. That is your right. You choose who to include in your life and what gets to influence you. If something isn't serving you, make your emotions and your feelings a priority and honor them. At the same time, don't trample on anybody else's emotions. Try your best to simply explain your stance, and if that's not possible, assert your needs and follow your gut instinct.
So, do you believe me now? Your relationship with yourself will come into play one way or another into your other relationships, so why not make it a healthy, long-lasting and committed one? I promise that no matter where you are on the self love spectrum, you can achieve that. I've been at the farthest end possible. I'm still not where I want to be, but it's a journey. Show yourself some self compassion and continue to be your own cheerleader. And if you ever fall short, that's okay. You've always got me! So wherever you're at, start making your feelings, thoughts, and ambitions a priority. Believe in them and cultivate them. Watch how much you'll grow. I can't wait to see you blossom.