Three years ago I was a self-professed expert on love and relationships. With much of the internal battle from both parties unseen, I believed and truly comprehended that my relationship was at a grand peak and I had much experience to declare myself as worthy of addressing just about any subject regarding love. Now, twelve well documented yet short lived seasons later, I’m coming to the understanding that even with a great deal of experience and awkward situations under my belt, I have still fallen short of knowing the greatest depths of love, partially because I hadn’t reached deep enough within myself to discover the love that is rooted beneath the woman I am to the world. I truly believe that half of the love you give someone is the love that you have for yourself. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your self- love. We’ve heard a particular saying endless times, and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear it bringing a sharp reminder of who I am and who I have yet to be. They say, “You must love yourself before you can love someone else.” As positive and true as that quote is, without a sense of direction on where to go from there, it can leave someone still craving more of the truth that waits patiently to be heard. With all appreciation to the person that put that notion into a worldwide declaration of self-righteousness, I’ve never had the honesty with myself to say to someone else, “Thanks for being seemingly perfect but I’ll pass on your offer of being everything I might need in a man, because I simply need to love myself more before I can love you.” I still have yet to utter that verse.
In a perfect world, perhaps I would take that chance and send a man on his way, explaining in the perfect words that there’s so much more that I must know and appreciate about myself before I should embark on the journey of sharing who I am with someone who wants all of me. From experience I can say that it is an exhausting task to love someone in ways in which they don’t even love themselves, and to give someone a love that they repeatedly insist to society that they are unworthy of. So yes, self-love is proven to be a key component to healthy relationships.
Since I began the journey of unvieling true self-love, I’ve found that establishing a good relationship with myself is much more complex than doing so with someone else. In fact, now that my upmost honesty has presented itself, I can admit that there’s a lot that I don’t know and apprehend about who I am. In the past I have tried to give people all of me, without truly knowing what all that entailed. I always said I love who I am but when I ask myself why, I’m paused at what all I’m made of and why I love those things. But the journey of unfolding my colors and laying them out to piece together is becoming easier and something I can do on a regular basis and in a respectful manner.
So I’ll attempt to share with you how I am learning to grasp the warm comfort of self-love. First I think we all need to be aware of where we stand on the matter. Do you feel that you have too low of a self-esteem and perhaps you lack self-love? Or do you think that you may be a bit too confident and be pushing close to the border of arrogance? Perhaps you battle with a bit of both. Either way self-love is an understanding that can shine a light on who you are, delivering you from so many unseen and unspoken battles that dwell within.
I’m a smart girl who is learning when to let wisdom speak through me as well as when to stop foolishness from escaping my thoughts and shattering into an open conversation. I also have a keen way of separating the people that I appreciate to the point of needing in life apart from the people that I simple WANT to be in my life. I’ve come to abundantly respect and necessarily dismiss so many people with these understandings. I also have a nurturing heart that will always thrive to care and comfort others. That has always been a major part of who I am, and even when I attempt to bury that giving girl in hopes of protecting my ego, she whispers sweet nothing’s of kindness and honesty beneath my core letting me she’ll always be WHO I REALLY AM rather than someone I will outgrow. In fact if I ever truly did dismiss my caring heart and replace it with a girl that didn’t give two shits about someone else’s feelings, I would be living a lie and living as someone that I’m not. I think everybody has that alter ego to them, pieces of who they are that they try to do away with in hopes that they won’t get hurt by someone else or even bring shame to themselves. Maybe they feel those pieces make them a weaker individual, or perhaps they’ve given that character too much airplay in the past and they ended up getting screwed over. Either way I think we all tend to bury pieces of our psyche in hopes to escape a deeper war weighing within. I’m coming to believe that the very voices we push away are sometimes the ones we need to hear the most. How many times have you ignored Gods’ advice, assuring yourself that you’ve got this one covered? How often do you catch yourself denying something about yourself, in fear of the person you may have to face next time you take a quick glance at the mirror? Think about it, and open yourself up to your new found zone of honesty.
If I were asked to list my strengths, would my tone and confidence drop when listing my weaknesses? I ask myself, would I want to curl up and disappear if someone questioned me about my most honest and shameful insecurities? Eventually I hope to carry the same confidence and belief in who I can be regarding my flaws and imperfections as I do with the things I know I’m great at. I’ve been blessed to witness confident people who are well aware of their flaws, and can even address their insecurities with a confident understanding and respect for themselves. That’s beautiful to me! That’s the vision of happiness within myself that I will continue to strive for. But let me be clear, I don’t think self-love is something someone can succeed at, rather I think it should me a never ending ladder for one to climb rather than a goal to be obtained; only because we’re constantly learning about ourselves and hopefully growing into more beautifully flourished souls. However, with that said, when I do imagine success that self-love and genuine happiness that I will carry is most definitely in the picture.With all the great characteristics we can name off about ourselves, the flaws and insecurities are just as important to recognize and respect. Those are inner battles we must eventually face, if we ever want to welcome ourselves to the wonder of self-love.
With a world of great characteristics stitched together within me, I am also pushing myself to address and figure out the flaws I carry and why my deepest insecurities still trouble me and set me off guard. No matter what your inner battles are, they do need to be confessed and dissected in order for you to understand who you are and further on respect the not so pretty things about yourself. Put it this way, there may two people with the same bad ways, one who’s story I know and understand and the other who has never let me in to see why they are the way they are. I’m more likely to respect and still appreciate the open individual because although they have the same bad ways about them, I at least understand what made them that way, and as the friendship or bond flourished I’m more able to help them overcome that battle thanks to the honesty that opened the door to improvement. It’s hard to help someone if they can’t admit that they need help to begin with, which applies to conflicts with yourself as well. What I’m trying to say is that denial won’t make anything, and I mean ANYTHING disappear. From my experience it only deepens the wound, burying it further into a dark hole only to eventually be drugged out and exposed.
Loving yourself means accepting yourself for who you TRULY are, behind the great impressions you make of yourself and deep into the thoughts that cause you to wonder, questioning what you’re all about. I’ve always told myself that beautiful people are the ones that know they’re worth and have an unguarded and patient respect for the most painful pieces of reality they’ve witnessed in life. With that said, the most appreciative things in my life are the things that I have had to battle with and truly earn as my own; self-understanding is one of those things. It’s hard to appreciate the foul components of yourself when you don’t really understand why you are the way you are. Confidence isn’t about believing that you’re perfect or even that you have less flaws than the next man or woman, it’s about knowing the strengths you possess and how to not abuse them, as well as recognizing your areas of improvement with belief that you can do better; this means doing so without putting yourself down and being your own bully.
Facing who you are completely and being honest with the beauties and bruises of complexity you possess is a key to finding self-love. I truly believe that if the world could just understand the concept of loving who they are and not abusing that privilege or in other cases robbing themselves of it, than having enough room in your heart to love someone else wouldn’t be such a constant battle that we run into.