By Glory Edozien for Guardian Woman
I’ve found that the root of many of the internal issues and struggles we face as women, stem from our lack of self love. I’ve found that many of us, women, don’t understand what it truly means to be in love with self and as a consequence we miss out on what life has to offer. We think self love is about taking care of our bodies, being fit, going to the spa, dressing up or being in a healthy relationship. These are all good things and can be attributes of self love- in fact it is possible to do all of these and not have a genuine understanding, acceptance and love of who you are. Loving yourself is about having the ability to accept who you are, believing that you are worthy enough to achieve your dreams and giving yourself the permission to follow after your dreams, relentlessly. That is why self love is a key ingredient for success.
But how do you love yourself? Where do you begin? Well, the first thing to note is that self love is a journey. I started mine 9 years ago and I can testify that it has been one of the best journeys of my life. Here are 5 tips on how you can start yours
Know who you are- Like any marriage, you cannot love someone without spending time and getting to know your partner. It is the same with self love. In your lifetime, you will spend the greatest amount of time with yourself compared with anyone else. So find out who you are; what do you like? What gives you joy? What is your personal definition of success? What are your strengths and weaknesses? The truth is many of us are living on borrowed personalities. We like this car, because our friend bought it. We are in this job because people will respect me. Getting to know who you are is the first step to loving yourself and making decisions about your life.
Accept yourself- I see a lot of women struggling with this. We are short but we want to be taller, Curvy but want to be slim, dark and want to be lighter, extroverted but want to be introverted. In my opinion, this is an exercise in futility. Everything created, either by man or God, comes with specifications for a reason. You are better off finding out the purpose for your uniqueness instead of doing everything you can to change it. Accepting yourself, doesn’t mean accepting bad or self sabotaging habits. It means realising what you have control over- and focusing on what you have the power to change, if it is necessary to change it
Focus on your strengths- for years I struggled with mathematics. I would have headaches before, during and after math classes. But I was always excellent at English. Imagine, if I had spent years trying to perfect my ability to solve further maths equations, I would never have found the great joy and pleasure writing gives me. Many of us fall into this trap- we are so focused on the negatives, we completely forget the bountiful opportunities that come from honing our God given skills and strengths
Use your pain- the pain we’ve experienced in the past sometimes prevents us from loving who we are, or have become. Any time I give presentations on self love, I tell women there is purpose for pain. It is always difficult to understand at first, but in the end you will find use for pain. There are women who have started initiatives, run businesses and Not for Profit Organisations from a place of pain. Whether it was heart break, the loss of a loved one or an issue in society that affected them deeply- each found a way to use their pain for good. This doesn’t mean you need to start an initiative or a businesses, it could be as simple as sharing with someone who is going through something similar. As you journey towards the love of self, sometimes, exploring how to use your pain can birth your purpose. It also creates a path for healing, something that is very necessary as you learn to love who you are.
Go where love is: a wise person once said, some people will not love you, no matter what you do. Some people will love you no matter what you do- go where love is. This is the truth about life. Unfortunately, we spend so much time trying to convince people that we are worthy of their love- that we are loveable and loving us is in their best interests. Meanwhile, there are people who love you for free. Who without effort, see the best in you. Yet, we concentrate on the former and feel upset, or worthless when they don’t change their minds about us. I have found that creating a support centre of people who love and appreciate me is critical in my self love journey. These people see the real me, they identify with my struggles and are always quick to remind and reassure me when I start getting off track.
Be gentle with yourself: This is a really difficult one for most people. We wither spend too much time comparing ourselves with other people- we graduated at the same time but she has a better job- or when something goes wrong in life, automatically we blame ourselves and say mean horrible things to and about ourselves. Life is a marathon not a sprint and every one must remain in their lane. Realise that each person has their time and season and spend time cultivating the kind of life you want, instead of comparing yourself. If you have made mistakes in life, forgive yourself.
Make amends where you can and where you can’t, learn the lesson and move on hope these tips have been helpful. If you have questions or something to share, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org