Self-love is often a word that is frivolously taunted and thrown around. Just love yourself they say! As if the journey to self-love is an easy one. Anyone who has actually gone down this road. Knows that self-love is HARD work!
Self-love is defined as:
[su_quote]“a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”[/su_quote]
Would you believe me if I told you I wasn’t always confident?
Usually, peoples first impression of me is that I’m confident because of my tall stature, high cheekbones and the gracefulness I exude when I enter a space. In the past, that couldn’t have been the furthest from the truth. At 24 I’m just now becoming confident in who I am as a person. And let me tell you, it took a lot to get here. Self Love isn’t an easy destination to reach– there are thorns and needles along the way. But, it is a road worth journeying.
self-love is hard, but it’s worth it
The Inner Voice
So, let’s talk about where my lack of confidence stemmed from.
Growing up I was a shy kid. I suffered from a lot of trauma growing up, but hey who hasn’t? During those adolescent years, which are most pivotal in a child’s life my self-esteem was constantly under attack; after consistently being told one thing about yourself you subconsciously digest and internalize said things. Who was I to believe I was smart, worthy, and beautiful when the people who were supposed to pour into me didn’t believe so.
It was during this time I formed my own self-hate club in my brain. I no longer needed outside sources telling me I wasn’t great, because the “Ronicha Hate club” was already in my head beating them to the punchline.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the voice in your head. It’s the little silent one that’s always demanding your attention? You probably can hear it as you’re reading this. Whenever I attempted to be great that lingering voice made it loud and clear that I wasn’t.
For years, I engaged with this voice. I believed it when it said:
” Your voice isn’t meant to be heard”
“You are dumb.”
” You aren’t worthy.”
“You aren’t beautiful”
“You’re not phenomenal”
It is so important to pay attention to that inner voice. Listen to what it’s saying. These are messages that are being fed to you subconsciously. If you’re dabbling in negative self-talk without a doubt these will become your hardcore beliefs. Convincing yourself you are unworthy and unlovable will only keep you planted where you are. Honor yourself and bloom. This book will help you learn how to master your inner voice.
The most important advice I heard surrounding your inner voice was from HeyFranHey who said, “If you won’t allow a friend to talk to you in that way, why would you allow yourself?
be aware of your inner voice.
be gentle with yourself.
Struggle in Social Settings
In social settings, my authentic self-was buried 6ft under with no intention of making a cameo. Instead, people were met with the mask of my insecurities. I felt like a foreigner in my own body, unsure of who in the hell I was. I’m sure my uncertainty translated to others as well– If I was unsure of who I was how could I expect others to be?
With those negative feelings festering inside of me. I walked around feeling threatened by those who appeared seemingly confident. Compliments caused me to cringe, I was conflicted with the feeling of how someone could see greatness in me that I couldn’t even see within myself. Ultimately, I just chalked it up to it being a lie.
Every so often I spent days in the mirror picking myself apart analyzing every flaw. Over the years my dissatisfaction with myself seemed to somehow get worst. The voice in my head was meaner. The days in the mirror were longer. The feelings of unworthiness– stifling.
I was so busy trying to morph into this perfect version of myself that I wasn’t appreciating who I was at the core, I wasn’t embracing myself every step of the way.Until I told myself, enough was enough. So, I decided to jump headfirst into the fire and deconstruct and rebuild a solid foundation of who Ronicha was.
Welcoming Self Love
The emotional healing allowed me to unravel and unlearn old belief systems and build a sturdier foundation. I no longer needed outside sources to validate who I was. I validated ME. My confidence wasn’t contingent on friends, parents, or a boyfriend. I poured into myself time and time again.I honored who I was and let my light burn wildly. And I am much happier because of it. I finally can say, I LOVE ME. Wholeheartedly.
One of the things I practice and still practice is writing “Gentle Self Love” reminders on my phone. Shout out to Jennevam ( the bald, soulful, melanin queen) for putting me on to this tip.
Every few hours my phone alerts me with this:
I encourage you to do the same. Often times those reminders come at the right time when you might need a little pick me up.
As you heal you’ll be able to pinpoint the trauma, the experiences, and negative feelings that caused you to doubt your self-worth, to begin with. What you’ll come to find is people projected their experiences, inadequacies, and lack of self-worth onto you. You’ll realize you have a summation of bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with you.
[su_quote]But I’ll tell you this: Everything you need, everything you aim to be is right there inside you. Sometimes it’s lying dormant and just needs a bit of practice, persistence, perseverance, and faith (the ability to believe you will heal) to awaken the love that’s lying in every vessel of your body. [/su_quote]
My struggle to self-love has been a very long journey and it is an ongoing journey that I am happy to embark on repeatedly. I owe myself appreciation, acceptance, and unconditional love.
Self-love is a continuous journey
How did you learn to love yourself?
What experience taught you not to love yourself?
What habits do you implement daily to help you on your self-love journey?