A Journey to Self-Love

I don’t love myself. Hell, most days I don’t even like myself. Growing up I struggled with low self-esteem and at one point I had a deep hatred for myself. If you’d asked me back then how I described myself, words like hideous, fat, devil, monster, and idiot came to mind. I couldn’t even look in the mirror because I was disgusted with who stared back at me. I searched for love in others because I didn’t love myself. Truth is, the love I was so desperately seeking from others and so freely giving away, is the love I should have been giving to myself. After years of mistreating myself, I’m finally at a space where I’m working on me. I can’t say I love myself just yet but I’m learning to like myself and that’s a start. 

Lately, I’ve been a lot kinder to myself. I’ve been buying myself flowers, staying hydrated, saying my affirmations, sitting in meditation…spending time in nature. I’ve been doing things that make me happy. I want to get to a space where I come first. I’ve always been selfless, putting everyone before myself. I’m at a point where I want my life to revolve around me. Not a relationship or anyone else. A question that has been popping up for me lately is, “Why don’t you do more of what makes you happy?”  I know what I’m interested in and what I’m passionate about but my problem is I don’t make time for these things. It’s not a matter of not having the time, it’s more like not feeling worthy of deserving happiness. I can hardly recall a time when I felt like I deserved happiness or good things. But in this very moment, I can wholeheartedly say I deserve all of the good things. I deserve love. I deserve freedom and peace. I deserve the world and for so long I thought I needed someone else to give it to me. I can give it to myself. 

I often wonder where I’d be if I’d known how to love myself. I wonder where I’d be if my mother had discussed certain things with me when I was younger. If she’d provided more guidance and emotional support. I wonder if my father had been present, would I still have looked to older men for love and acceptance. 

I find myself reliving the past more than I care to admit. I spend hours replaying situations, wishing for a different outcome. I spend hours sulking in my hurt and anger, caused by past transgressions. Yesterday, as I sat at the park, under a tree, I felt content. I wanted to revel in that moment forever. On days like this, I wish I could make time stand still. 

Honestly, I’m not sure how one learns to love themselves but I know I need to accept myself first. I also believe I need to start making time for what matters to me and what puts a smile on my face. So that’s where I’m starting. I don’t expect this self-love journey to be easy but I know that years from now when I’m looking at myself in the mirror and I feel nothing but love for the woman staring back at me, it’ll all have been worth it.

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

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