The Magic of Self-Love
My journey to loving myself has been long and complex but worthwhile. I was seventeen years old when a friend of mine at university asked me how I seemed so confident in who I was, I was sort of in awe of this question. The truth is that I had a very unhealthy relationship with food and my body which resulted in some intensive restrictive eating. My self-love was in-authentic.
When I was seventeen my idea of self-love was deciding that I was good enough because of how low the numbers were getting on my scale as a result of my restrictive eating, an unhealthy way of developing “confidence”. Now, at the age of twenty-five, my idea of self-love means showing yourself kindness that is not contingent on anything.
Self-love is acknowledging that we are worthy of compassion - from ourselves, for ourselves - at every point in our lives.
The amazing Maya Angelou once said: "In diversity there is beauty and there is strength".
This quote has always stuck with me because it challenges social norms. My generation was raised in an era that has normalized unrealistic expectations for everything and everyone. And while I believe we are working towards shifting this, I also know that it takes a huge amount of strength and consistency to actively challenge ourselves to embrace the beauty of our diversity and love ourselves through this process.
My journey to loving myself has not been perfect, in fact I often have days where I struggle to remember that I too deserve my compassion. My body has looked very different at various stages of my life and I have come to learn that I am no less of a person because of my body shape and size. The way I speak to myself is not always perfect but I work to consciously be kind and compassionate and have identified that my shift to loving myself for something more than a number on a scale has come from actively reminding myself that I am enough.
Acknowledging the way in which we speak to ourselves creates a space where we can be kind and compassionate to ourselves. When we speak kindly it creates a culture of self-love within ourselves that serves as the base for all things we do: how we treat ourselves, how we treat others and what kind of space we create for all humans in our life. Allowing ourselves to be as is and becoming the brave space for others to do the same, this is our magic. We have the ability to change the culture that we live in by inspiring those we meet with our magic.
So as we move into the time of new years resolutions and perhaps feeling guilty about not exercising enough or enjoying "bad" food too often, I invite you to do the following:
Remain compassionate towards yourself, through all of your ups and downs
Acknowledge the magic you posses
Create a space for others to engage in appreciating their own magic
Challenge negative self-talk and replace this talk with kind words
Follow those on social media who inspire you to love yourself instead of comparing yourself
Continue with these invitations for your whole life
"You are imperfect and you are wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging." -Brene Brown