Hello hello hello - it's been a minute and a half.
There's so many things I want to write about but can't seem to pick one thing and stick to it - so let's just go with the flow mi amors. Kind of like life, right? You want to do so many things in life, but you're just going ahead with whatever life hands to you.
Welcome back to my written ted talks - today we're going to talk about the battle of self-love. You know, when you think you're happy with yourself, but you don't really know how you feel? You label it happiness, because everyone says you should be happy. But you actually feel really heavy and tight in your chest. You keep taking deep breaths. Calming all your anxious nerves. But at the same time, there's nothing weighing down your heart. Your heart feels light as a feather. But your chest feels like it's tied to a massive rock dumped at the bottom of the ocean. You're not happy per se, but at the same time you don't really have anything to complain about? You know?
What do you do in those situations? Or what do you tell yourself in those situations?
"Love yourself" - "Be kinder to yourself"
We're kinda obsessed with the idea of 'positive vibes only' and 'love yourself always'. Wherever we go, people love preaching that - I am guilty of the same. If you scroll through social media, everyone loves reminding you to be kinder to yourself and love yourself. And honestly, we should. We should be more compassionate towards ourselves. I tell myself everyday that self-care and self-love is so important. But when it actually comes to practicing self-care, it starts feeling a lot more like self-scare because I have to face my thoughts and monsters.
I tend to scare myself with all intangible things and unrealistic thoughts. Some days it's hard to love anything in this world when you wake up struggling with mental health issues. On those days, loving yourself is the LAST thing that you want to do. In my opinion, it seems a lot easier to love and please others because you can choose to turn a blind eye towards their flaws. You can choose to only see the best and positive sides of them.
It's not really the same with loving yourself, you can't really turn a blind eye towards your own flaws. You're the only person in the world who knows the real you, who knows all the personalities and faces you show the world, whether they are good or bad. You're the only person who knows what monsters you store in your head and face on a daily basis. When you're the only one who knows that reality, it becomes hard to find it in you to practice some love towards that monster-filled mind.
Self-love is meant to be an acceptance of unconditional support and caring for yourself.
Unconditional. Never-ending. No strings attached. No matter what.
Seems like a nightmare tbh, who would want to love themselves for that long? Isn't it easier to love someone else and let them worry about loving you?
I honestly don't want to oversell 'self-care' or 'self-love' because it's not always going to be about spending on a nice spa day or going for a nice dinner. Acts of self-love come directly from your own willingness to meet your personal needs. That can be something as simple as showering when you don't want to, but you still get in the shower and come out smelling great because that's what humans do. It can be something as simple as eating, you're meant to eat meals for basic nutritional purposes, doesn't have to be a huge meal, but even a small snack. Even breathing - to merely exist. Start thinking of your little daily actions as you doing something for yourself and label it self-love and eventually maybe we can get to a bigger better place (nice spa).
I'd like you to think about someone you really love. What would you do when they're having a bad day? Wouldn't you do your best to help them regain their energy and bring back the positive vibes in their life? Wouldn't you order them some food, take them out for dinner, tell them it's going to be okay, remind them how strong they are? My therapist always says that I need to be more loving/forgiving towards myself and I should treat myself as if I were a close friend as I would show more compassion to that friend than I would to myself. I've not gotten there yet - but it makes so much sense? Why do we put ourselves down every time things go bad? Why can't we show ourselves the same love when we're feeling low? We need to find it in us to love ourselves when we have anxiety, depression or any other mental illness. We need to find it in us to give ourselves priority when we're feeling extra extra low.
They (professionals that I googled) say that unbounded low self-esteem can lead to mental health issues, or even worsen existing mental health issues. Which makes sense, because it's when we're at our lowest that we let our minds wander into the darkness of self-destructive thoughts and decisions. Personally - my thought processes makes practicing self-love extremely difficult. Some people just don't believe that they are worthy of any love. It could be because of experiences of abandonment or some type of trauma they witnessed or even neglect - it can make a person feel unworthy. In moments like this - the tiniest negative thought can spiral into a big issue and have a negative effect on the ability to love yourself.
On top of everything, it's not easy being a problem solver, trying to fix every aspect of your life, struggling with it and then saying 'i'm going to practice self-love because that may be the solution to my problems' - self-love isn't a quick fix. It's a constant practice. It's a constant task. A constant job. It requires a SERIOUS shift in your thought process. It requires actively making an effort to shut out the negativity and accept the positivity.
Self-love sounds like a serious job too. And honestly, it's a job that should be taken seriously. But you can break it down into bits and keep trying to come back to them whenever you feel low because you and I both know we're not good at keeping up with jobs we're required to do.
So here are 4 things you can try to focus on:
Protecting yourself - keep your sanity protected, surround yourself with positive people, keep likeminded people around you, get rid of people that make you feel like shit, protect your sanity.
Forgiving yourself - it's okay if you've made mistakes, it's okay if you were responsible for your own sadness, it's okay if you were a little rude and tough on yourself. Find it in you to forgive yourself.
Focusing on your needs - we tend to focus on what we want and become obsessed with the narrative of getting what we want and aspiring to get what we want. Focus on your needs. Basic things. Small things. Baby steps.
Trying therapy - if you feel like you've hit rock bottom and there's no way you could ever love yourself even if you tried. Try therapy. Speak to an expert.
Self-love isn't easy, but nothing in life ever is. I hope we get to a point in life where loving ourselves comes to us as easy as ordering an upsize fries from McDonalds.