For the longest time, my self-love wasn’t real.
I used to think that when it came to self-love, I was doing a pretty good job. I’d look in the mirror and, for the most part, I always felt okay about being me. Catch that? For the most part...
There were times when I didn’t like something, sure, but I wouldn’t panic about it. I never had an eating disorder or engaged in self-harm. Still, there was always something I wasn’t happy with. For a while it was my arms. Sometimes I’d obsess over my thighs or my feet. I hated my teeth. I stuffed my bra with padding as a teenager. I felt okay about myself, but at the same time I felt self-conscious.
When I think about it, I’ve gone through phases of hating almost every part of my body at some point or another. My boobs were too small, then they were too big. I’ve felt too tall, too muscular, not muscular enough, flabby, fat, disproportionate.
After I gave birth, whenever I’d have a “bad” body day, my attention would always go to my belly. It used to be firm and flat; but then it became... well, less of both of those things. Still, those days I would often look at myself in the mirror and think hot damn! because I KNEW I was beautiful — my sense of self-love has only grown since becoming a mother.
But here is the thing: it’s not possible to love most of yourself. Self-love and acceptance is an all-or-nothing deal; you have to embrace it ALL.
You are not only a part of the whole — you are the whole. Resenting a part of your body means resenting all of it. You are one connected, living, loving, breathing being.
The way you feel about a part of yourself will translate to how you feel about the whole you.
Self-love makes us confident. But if you only love part of yourself, then your confidence is fragile, easily shattered the second you get a pimple, don’t make the team or fail a test. True, unwavering confidence has little to do with what your body looks like or the talents you have.
You can be a supermodel and live in disgust with yourself every day; you can weigh a thousand, million pounds and love yourself immensely. What we all see on the surface only has importance because society has made it so, and we continue to feed into it.
I look at Lea Luna and remember what it was like to be a child, living in my body instead of looking at it. Her whole existence is a celebration of who she is — it’s marvelous. And I know that somewhere, buried beneath a lifetime of feeling like I’m not enough, there is a toddler version of myself just waiting for me to come back to love so we can play.
You might be carrying around an experience that made you think you weren’t worthy of your own love, so now you’re seeking it from everyone else by covering up who you truly are.
That’s the thing about the search for self-love: to have it, we’re all just trying to make peace with who we are.
We are. We’re fighting to find love for ourselves; to feel like we fit in; to know that we belong; to disprove that experience that told us we weren’t deserving. Sometimes we feel it. It’s rare, but sometimes we do. We notice that thin, fragile silver lining of a voice that whispers to us, “Actually… Yes. Yes, you are enough.”
We don’t always hear it often, but it’s there. It’s at the end of yoga class, in the space between our breaths; it’s in the last rays of the sun disappearing beneath the horizon as the day turns into night; it’s in the first kisses, in the quiet mornings, in the last sentence of our favorite book; it’s in the eyes of our children.
It’s in the moments that knock us off our feet and into the now and force us to ask: What if, in this moment, everything is just as it’s supposed to be? What if we might, in fact, be okay?
And we realize that we actually are. We are okay, just the way we are, with our shortcomings, and our insecurities and our boring old regular-ness. That even though we’re not like the celebrities in the magazines, or the models, or the people in the pictures that look like they have it all...we’re nothing like that, we still belong. We don’t have it all figured out, but we are worthy.
We are enough. We are human and we are trying and we are fighting and we are able. We are. In those moments, we listen and we know that even though and despite it all… We are still okay.
We all struggle — don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the only one. Show yourself love, every detail that makes you you. Every time you do, you remind those around you that they can love their whole selves, too.
A Mantra for Self-Love:
The world would not be the same without me.
I am loved.
I give love.
Because of my existence, love exists.
Because of love, I am.
It is important that I am here, doing exactly this, right now. I am where I need to be.
Never forget — the center of the universe is in you, just as much as you are in the center of it.
I am, because we are.
We are, because I am.
We are all one.
All together now… I LOVE MYSELF!!! Yell it from the rooftops, find a mirror and look yourself in the eye as you say it, write it in the comments below and make it real!!