Good morning/afternoon/evening/whenever you’re reading this! First & foremost, I would like to genuinely wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day today. To me, Valentine’s Day is not just about a romantic type of love (probably because I’ve never had a significant other during this holiday), but it is also about the people you are close with & who take time to understand the fucked up person you really are! Today, however, I wanted to take a quick break from my busy week to quickly write up my journey on self-love. My journey began when I hit rock bottom.
It’s safe to say that we have all been through low times where we simply just want to give up because things didn’t turn out the way we had planned them to be, someone let us down, or we’re feeling self-conscious because of some unwanted acne or extra pounds were put on. I know, for example, I have felt these things one too many times – but there are three very simple, effective ways that pushed me to love myself.
ACCEPTANCE – In order for me to let go of more than half of my insecurities, I had to accept things about myself that I would have rather never acknowledged. I was always insecure about my height, referring to myself as the BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I accepted that I will not grow shorter, so I began using this insecurity to my advantage. However, when there were things about myself that I was able to change, I did. I accepted the fact that at one point in my life, I got lazy & apparently very hungry. I stepped on the scale weighing in at 227 pounds. From that point, I chose to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Within a year, I had weighed 167 at my lowest, totaling the amount of pounds lost at 60. In fact, seeing the final result made me love myself in so many more ways than just physically. I was able to show the World that I alone did something for myself beneficial in multiple ways. I was thin, I was happy, I was full of energy, and I was strong. I will always encourage fitness for everyone to a healthier, happier life.
FORGIVENESS – I make more mistakes than anyone I have encountered in my life, and this is literally no exaggeration. I STILL make mistakes to this day. In fact, I made a pretty dumb mistake just one week ago! Just like everyone else though, I say & do things that I sometimes don’t necessarily mean and usually do not think before I act or speak. Some people have chosen to move on from the relationship they had with me, but to the ones who have stayed, I owe my life to for the endless forgiveness you have granted me. I am forever thankful for the people who have stood by my side, but that does not mean I don’t often wonder about the several people who chose to leave my life – something that I’m sure you, the reader, can relate to. Right off the top of my head, 3 people come to mind, but one day, something just changed within me. I quit wondering “what if” and embraced “what is”. Once I ACCEPTED the fact that things are the way they are, I knew I had FORGIVEN myself enough for the people who chose not to forgive me.
INDEPENDENCE – I have to say that I would not have ever learned to love myself without the constant feedback and positivity from all of my friends, whether we are acquainted or we are the best of friends – each one of them has been an asset in this self-love journey, and that’s without mentioning how amazing my family is with accepting & embracing my crazy, weird ass too. Lastly, however, when I felt so much hurt, I did something as simple as traveling places on my own. Growing up, I was NEVER the person who went anywhere by myself. I remember looking at people who would sit alone in a restaurant & I would feel so bad for them because I figured they were lonely, when in reality, it more than likely wasn’t the case. A short drive to Champaign alone, a quiet & comfy Saturday night at home are two examples that allowed me to put things into perspective & sort things out in my head with nothing but the radio on (& sometimes clothes).
If you’re struggling with loving yourself, know that you are not the only one, you will not be the first, nor the last. Remember that beauty isn’t just your appearance. I don’t claim to have the answers to the road of self-love, but I know what got me there, & although the road was bumpy, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I am ready for this positive, uplifting era that is occurring in my life. I am blessed & you are too – just open your eyes & see that.