Self-Love: A Growing Process

A constant debate I've had with myself is letting people paint a gorgeous, soft, kind picture of me that's far from how I view myself, and if it's my duty to correct them. I usually side with letting them paint this picture. After all, it is their picture to paint. It's only their perception of me, and the blame can't be placed on me for letting them own this perception. I know there are hints of misinterpretation within this picture, but usually I stay silent because the moment's already passed, and the picture in their mind is complete.

Even though this seems like a small moment that soon becomes a distant memory that's packed away, this seems to be the overwhelming theme of my life. Sitting in a culmination of my thoughts, one day I realized that I am living my life for every single person that I meet. I smile at the girl next to me in class, in hopes that she'll perceive me as someone that can help her. I listen to my friends when they talk, in hopes that they'll perceive me as emotional support. I call my family in hopes that they'll recognize the little girl I once was in present-day me.

I realized that I consistently put everyone else's vision of me above my own. I understand so well what everyone needs me to be, so it's easy to meet those needs. However, I was so caught up in giving little pieces of me to every single person I loved, that there was no time to even ponder what I needed me to be. It was natural for me to understand how badly people needed me, and I knew I needed me; I just didn't how to meet both these needs. Neglecting myself has to be the biggest mistake that I will never make again because you have to be selfish in the pursuit of your own true happiness.

Somewhere I read, "Be true to yourself because if not, what's the point?" This really stuck out to me. In a sense, I was pretending to be a different person, someone more lovable. Someone that seemed approachable, unproblematic, and consistent. Someone with soft edges and a soft voice, someone that was calming and could help you. That's what I thought I needed to be for people, but it isn't what I needed to be for me.

My own happiness has become my new priority. When you get caught up and overwhelmed with what everyone expects of you, it's easy to get lost. It's easy to feel dissatisfied when all of your worth is placed on everyone else's validation.

This aspect of self-love and understanding who I am is the longest journey to date. I understand how to fulfill my happiness within myself, and I finally understand that no ounce of my efforts can ever fully satisfy anyone else without their own self-love. In a different way, I never thought that efforts to make other people happy could ever be hazardous to my own well-being. I guess everything, and I mean everything, is needed in moderation.

Making anyone else that isn't yourself your number one priority is a mistake. For a long time, I thought self-love was just that, loving yourself. I guess it comes hand-in-hand with not just being true to yourself, but everyone else around you. After all, when you love yourself in every sense of the word, you're not afraid of judgement. You're not afraid to be too much, too little, or just enough for anyone because you're just enough for you.