In my twenties, I thought I loved myself. I thought I was the greatest thing ever. What I really had was a huge ego that was a mask for all of the things I hated about myself. I didn't even realize it until I embarked on my journey to self-discovery and self-love, a journey that is lifelong. The more I worked on myself and switched to a more positive mindset, the more my life began to change for the better. Over the years, my relationship with my daughter improved, I began to feel happier more often, and I started realizing how unhappy I was in my last relationship, and that I should probably do something about it.
The more I loved myself, the more friends I lost, and my ex and I grew even further apart, but of course, this was all for the better. The more I loved myself, it started becoming painfully clear to me how many people don't truly love and value themselves. They (myself included) stay in jobs, relationships, homes, and situations that make them miserable. They blame others for their problems. They wonder why they keep meeting the same types of toxic people and keep ending up in the same situations. They worry what other people think about them. They need everyone to like them. They beat themselves up. They're perfectionists or complete “failures.” Or, like I was, both. They don't respect and value their time, their worth, and their energy. I am still one of those people from time to time.
I have become self aware of when the lack of self love is showing up in my life- any time I experience anxiety, disappointment, impatience, frustration, anger, tension, or any feelings of lacking worth or not having my needs met, I realize I’m being triggered and not giving myself the love I need in that moment. It happens less and less often, and for shorter periods of time, but now I am able to sit and observe these feelings, and figure out what I need to give myself in order to feel better. Like I mentioned, I had a big ego to tame, and it still roars from time to time.
We are human, and life is a mystery. It can be really easy to become negative minded, especially in the societies we've created for ourselves over the centuries. We live in a world ruled by patriarchy, commercialism and corrupt governments that want to keep us down. They want us to be miserable, mindless drones, greedy for the next thing they want to spoon feed us and take our money for. Self-love takes constant work on a daily basis for life, and it can mean something different for everyone. Every person is on their own individual path, with their own particular set of needs. The most important thing to remember is that YOU and only YOU are responsible for those needs. YOU are in charge of your life, YOUR happiness, YOUR feelings. You don't need someone else to love you, adore you, compliment you, lift you up, etc. Only we can do that for ourselves. If we don't already love and value ourselves, then no amount of love or praise from another will ever be enough. We will never truly believe their words. I am so grateful to have people in my life who support me in every way, people who love me and believe in me. Despite all of my efforts towards self-love over the past six years or so, there are many days when I feel like a failure and a disappointment to everyone in my life. Days where I feel nothing I ever do is right or good enough. And that's OKAY. I have to remind myself why I feel this way. Usually, it stems from childhood, and I have to remember that isn't my life now. I don't have to hold on to those things, and I have the power to change what I believe and how I feel.
(I do a lot inner child work. A lot.)
No one else's opinions matter; at the end of the day, you need to be happy and satisfied with yourself. Even though I still have my ups and downs, and my 'bad days', I have seen how drastically my life has changed because of self-love. I am less judgmental, far more compassionate, more patient and understanding. Years of anger issues have practically disappeared, and my relationships with others have improved tenfold. I don't take things personally anymore, and I take full responsibility for my feelings without blaming external circumstances or people.* Life has become so much easier and enjoyable.
*Most of the time
Learning to love myself has taught me how to set boundaries, stick up for myself and my beliefs, to value my time and energy, and to not take shit. I learned who I am and what I'm willing to accept in life. Of course there are still situations that pop up from time to time that are out of my control, but I have learned how to tackle things as they arise and handle them like a big girl...even if I have an anxiety attack after the fact, which is better than when I allowed anxiety to paralyze me from taking any action at all.
If you're feeling lonely or unloved, start showing up for yourself. Be your own best friend and companion. When you start meeting your own needs and giving yourself the love that you deserve and that is already inside you, you won't feel dependent on someone else...and that's exactly when you'll start attracting the right people and situations into your life. No one can be a better advocate for you than yourself. You already have all of the love you need inside of you. We are all made of love, we just have to start giving it to ourselves, so we can then give it to others. It's easy to think that you're giving your love away without it being returned, but if you don't have a healthy relationship with yourself, and don't send that love to YOU, then the love you give to others won't be healthy either. It will be filled with conditions and endless disappointment.
I'm telling you these things because I have been through all of it for most of my life, and while I am still a work in progress, it pains me so much to watch the people I love suffer. YOU ARE SO LOVED BY THE UNIVERSE! Discover that love and BE that love; I promise you that miracles will happen! I am so thankful to have learned what unconditional love really is and that it is possible, and I want to start sharing it more with others.
This month, I’ll be posting ways to help you on your journey, like learning what boundaries are/which ones you need/how to set them, and follow along on Instagram for my Self-Love Challenge. Every day, I encourage you to post something that you love about yourself, and use #stellasselflovechallenge so I can follow and support you!
If you're reading this, I love you and you're doing great!