“Love yourself before anyone else.” You see and hear it everywhere, from podcasts to self-help books. But how exactly does one do that? For a huge portion of my life, I’ve dealt with many personal issues that led to the deterioration of my physical and mental wellbeing. Being in the comfort of my loved ones and even getting professional help did not help address the root of the problem: not knowing how to love myself.
What I didn’t realize was that the longer I delayed finding a solution to such a simple and cliché problem, the more negative situations and circumstances I attracted. I never thought I was good enough or even deserving of the things that I had achieved for myself. I constantly prioritized and reminded myself of the words and opinions of other people, when they should not even have mattered in the first place. I did this for years and before I knew it, I subconsciously adopted a toxic and negative mindset that influenced every decision I made and unfortunately, how I felt about myself. I blamed myself for the actions of others. I made excuses for them by conveniently faulting myself in the process because that “made the most sense” to me. I took it upon myself to hold onto relationships and situations that should have been immediately let go off. But my empathetic self sought to fix situations and relationships when I really did not deserve to do so. I deserved better, but I was scared and thought it was senseless to accept that thought.
Although I’ve come so far and have grown from that old version of me, I still have my bad days occasionally. The key to overcoming them is to truly give yourself mental space and allow yourself to not be okay when you’re having a bad day – without giving in to the negative thoughts and hurting yourself in the process. It really isn’t easy.
Whatever it is – allow yourself to hurt. Allow yourself to grieve.
I think loving yourself will always be an ongoing process. The hardest part for me in my journey of finding myself again was accepting that I had a problem – it was having to accept the sole fact that I deserved self-love and to move away from the negative space I was comfortable in for so long. I wish there was a guide that people could reference from, but loving yourself and finding your sense of identity is an individual journey. The advice given by my loved ones and professionals would not mean a thing if I did not even think I was deserving of love in the first place.
So, remember that you are. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t give up.
Focus on the things that you love, even if they’re unconventional or quirky. Why should you care about the opinions of others especially if it makes you happy? Why validate yourself through the words of others? Why bother impressing other people? They don’t run your life, you do. You deserve the best of both worlds. You deserve the unattainable and more.
You’re amazing, don’t ever doubt that.