I had an entirely different Motivational Monday post planned, but after some recent events...I did some thinking and decided to dedicate this post to the importance of self-love, self-worth, and self-acceptance. This post was inspired by both positive experiences and negative experiences. Let's start with a positive experience...
My good friend, Julia, and I were having a conversation about my post "Let's Cut Ourselves Some Slack," and we had some really uplifting thoughts. Whenever we talk, we have THE BEST conversations that make both of us think so deeply, and it changes the outlook on my entire day. She told me that she's been working on giving herself more credit for things, not dwelling on things she can't change. As we get older and experience new things in life at different stages in our lives, self-love takes on different meanings and we understand it in different ways. For example, self-love takes on a whole new meaning in college, at the start of our adult lives. We are doing more by ourselves and for ourselves than ever before. It's definitely a struggle, as we both agreed, because it means that in order to do things efficiently, effectively, and happily, we really need to rely on ourselves. We're also doing more by ourselves and for ourselves than we probably ever will in the future. When we get married and have babies, we won't do as much for ourselves because it's not about us anymore -- we'll be doing more for them: our husbands and our children. We won't be doing as many things by ourselves, either, because a marriage and a family works together and helps one another. At this time in our lives, we are selfish, because we can be. We only need to worry about our own needs, our own success, our own well-being. As soon as that changes, it will never be this way ever again. THAT is why I feel that this is such a crucial "self" time in life. We need to learn to know ourselves and love ourselves while we JUST have ourselves...so that when it's time to do things for another person, we know we can do it for them because we've done it for us. We are learning competence. We are learning independence. We are learning what we like, WHO we like, what we want, and why we want it. We are young and we are doing things for ourselves, and that's okay. Cutting slack for young mistakes and trials is so important...it's cutting slack PLUS self-love...forgiving yourself for what you've done wrong while accrediting yourself for what you've done right.
We've all had these. A certain person or a certain group of people makes you feel unworthy of their love and acceptance for no good reason. It hurts your feelings. You start to reflect on yourself and your actions and your appearance and your overall being. AM I good enough? Am I doing something wrong? What is it that made this go south?
YES you are good enough, NO you are not doing something wrong, THEY are what made this go south, when they stopped (or never started) appreciating you for who you are. Get these toxic people out of your life, fast. They have issues way bigger than just not liking you...they have personal problems that you are not part of, that you will never understand, that they need to address.
I have a really big heart. I love really deeply, really wholeheartedly, really openly. If I had to pick one thing that my mother taught me growing up, it would be to BE KIND. Absolutely the number one thing she taught me was to show kindness to others...whether they are different, not very nice themselves, whatever. No matter what, I will never compromise this about myself. I stand up for myself, don't get me wrong, but if I want people to think just one quality about me and know it to be true: it is that I am kind. This is very important to me.
That being said...I don't think everyone's mother instilled that in them. Either that was never a moral that some people possessed in the first place, or it's something that some people are pushing to the side for whatever reason, and their mothers would be mortified. I would NEVER go out of my way to intentionally hurt someone's feelings. Ever. I would be eternally embarrassed and sorry if someone was really, really hurt by something I said to them that I shouldn't have. I know better than that. I AM better than that.
Of course, strive to improve yourself always. Nobody is perfect. But improve yourself with love and care, not with hatred and cruelty. Don't talk down to yourself. Motivate yourself. I saw "you are fat" written on a friend of mine's mirror. This really saddened me. That's not motivating. Motivating is "you can do this." And, you can do this.
The truth is, self-love is a constant roller-coaster. As human beings, we are going to mess up. We are going to do things and then say "how could I be so stupid?" It happens. We can't take it back. All we can do is embrace all of the good around us, lift up all of the people who lift US up, and try to do better next time.