My daughter sings at the top of her lungs, dances when the beat hits her and expresses herself in a way that is all her own. When I look at her and how she interacts with the world, it is pure jubilation, happiness, silliness and love. She has no inhibitions, she is free spirited and carefree. She is also 11, and I have a strange suspicion her world will come crashing down on her as we navigate middle school. But for now I will admire her self expression, her self esteem and her self love. Somewhere along the way we lose ourselves to worry and comparison, and that self love we used to have as a child takes a back seat.
So what is self love? For some, self love is a hot shower at the end of a stressful day, eating a good meal or reading your favorite book. The truth is, self love is not all about pampering and yummy treats. For many, self love is learning how to conquer and keep our demons in check. Self love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions. It means taking care of yourself and not sacrificing your own needs to please others. Finally it means never settling for less than you deserve.
Somewhere along the way, many of us lose that self appreciation and love. We give up time for others, we go through rough patches, we settle for less because the fight seems too big. Whether it happens in our pre-teen years or after a nasty divorce or just because we are ignoring our own needs for our children, losing the ability to self love can result in digging yourself into a pit of darkness that seems hard to navigate. But there is a light at the end of that “pit” and the journey to self love will help guide you back to that silly pre-teen you once were (just with a few more responsibilities!). Follow along the path to self-love to get to a place where you come first.
First Stop…Be Honest With Yourself
I know what you are thinking…for the first stage of this journey we are certainly asking a lot. Bottom line is, stop following the trends; fashion, technology, tv shows, etc. Take some time to figure out what it is you truly like to do, how you truly want to dress. Don’t worry so much about how others will perceive you just because you prefer a style from the 90’s as opposed to a trend from 2022. Remember you want to find out who YOU are and embrace it. Contemplate what truly makes you happy…what brings back that smile you have missed so much. When you are honest with who you are, it shows in your attitude and how you carry yourself. Eventually, everyone will want to get on board!
Next Stop...Building Your Self Esteem
If you are lacking inner confidence, you have to work on yourself. But this is not a quick fix! Whenever you think negative thoughts about yourself, do your best to replace them with positive ones. Believe in yourself and make it part of your morning routine to compliment yourself everyday in the mirror. As you become more confident in yourself you will feel better about showing people the real you!
Get on Board and Express Yourself
Channel my 6th grader for this one! Now that you know what you love and what makes you happy…express yourself. Show off your fashion choices, embrace your go-to hobby and sing your favorite song loud and proud. Express it, own it and enjoy it!
Next Stop…Try Not to Worry So Much About What Others Think
This is the hardest one for me…but sometimes it is important to disregard what other people think. If you are happy, why does it matter what they think about you? Most people that make remarks about others, deep down, are wishing they could be as confident as you. Happy people raise each other up...just remember that.
Next Stop…No One Compares to You
Comparison is the thief of happiness. The world revolves because of the unique qualities we all possess. Be strong, be kind and find your own way…it is a much better path than someone else's.
Final Stop…Surround Yourself With People That Make You Feel Good About Yourself
It's time to ditch the people that make you feel undervalued. Be picky and choose wisely when it comes to deciding who to spend your time with. You only get one life so fill it with people who genuinely love and care about you.
For some, self love is a true talent that takes time to master. While you should always have a drive for self improvement, “self love” has to come first. Accepting and loving yourself for who you are is the key to happiness and success. So stop the negative thoughts and get started on your self love journey.
By Melanie Akerberg
People Happiness Manager
Bliss Virtual Services