Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall

The Most Important Love: Self-Love

I’ve spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts recently and it’s been eye-opening. This period of time for me has been one of reconstruction and listening to myself. This is new for me; I’ve always been someone who is very preoccupied about how others feel, but I never really paid attention to how I was feeling. Our minds can be harsh sometimes, but it’s important to monitor our thoughts and the way we perceive ourselves. After all, your thoughts impact your self image.

Step 1: My Body

I’ve spent so much more time thinking about my physical self in quarantine. The society that we live in has bred us to never quite be content with the physical aspect of ourselves. We are taught to always be in a battle that restarts each day based on what we’re eating, how much we’re moving, and if it’s enough. I’ve realized how incredibly hard I am on myself. During quarantine, I’ve tried to listen more to myself. I’ve started to ask my body what she needs, rather than what I need from her. I expected the answer to be more protein, more exercise, or more water. But soon I realized, as I spent more and more time with my body, that the problem was me. Nothing I could ever do for my body would be enough for my mind, and that was the real problem. My body needed me to love her and accept her unconditionally, even when she wasn’t perfect.

Step 2: My Perspective

In order to find peace of mind, focus on how you react to things out of your control. You are the architect of your own happiness, and everyone else is just a visitor. You have to take full responsibility for your thoughts or they’ll never change. Blame could be placed on others forever, but what’s the point? Hate doesn’t help healing. Forgive everyone who’s hurt you, and be kind to yourself. How other people perceive you isn’t your problem, you just need to find peace with your own thoughts.

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Step 3: Take up the Space You Deserve

Along with being hard on yourself, it’s hard for me to take up space when I need to most. I have a tendency to let others’ opinions control the room. I’ve seen people’s opinions make others uncomfortable and that’s something I’ve always tried to avoid. I know that other’s opinions won’t offend me, so I try to let others take up the space that they deserve. Recently though I realize that’s putting everyone else above myself. That might not sound like a bad thing, and I don’t mean for it to paint me in a light that makes me seem better. Something that seems inherently good can still have detrimental effects on placing others worth above your own. This has affected a lot of my close relationships in life by leaving both of us unfulfilled because it’s hard for me to express what I believe, what I want, and it’s hard for them to read my mind. I’ve realized that there needs to be a space for me. And if there isn’t a space, I have to make it.

Step 4: Be Kind to Yourself

I’ve learned that being nice and mature is a sign of growth and it has close to nothing to do with anyone else. Everyone’s struggling, trying to justify themselves, and proving to themselves they are worthy of being loved. All you can do is be true to yourself and show them support, as long as it’s not at your own expense. For me, it’s hard to draw a line on what’s helping me and what’s hurting me. I’ve let myself turn goals into toxic situations. It’s important to be kind to yourself, after all, that’s the only validation you need. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to become the best version of myself that I lose sight of what that really means. Maybe the best version of ourselves is someone who’s accepting, someone who is gentle in the parts that are still healing, and someone who’s willing to accept our own faults in hopes that they can try again tomorrow.

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