THERE are days when you wake up, look at the mirror, and approve of yourself and what you have accomplished. At other times, when you look at the rearview mirror, you may realize what a mess your life has been, reality kicks in and you start feeling down. “Why does everyone judge me? Don’t they see the true side of me, that I am a wonderful person with great potential?”
All of us have such moments of highs and lows, where we feel proud or disgusted at ourselves at the same time. The truth is these roller coaster moments may never stop. You will never get to a point in your life in which you are totally free from them because loving yourself is a constant –consistent fight that is never absent from your day-to-day existence.
Thanks to Kim Quindlen of Thought Catalogue in her article How To Love Who You Actually Are, we now understand that loving yourself is not a destination or an end goal. You will never be a point at which you finally arrive. Just like life itself, it’s an ongoing process which is never-ending, because your life is fluid, and it changes every second of every day. You will never reach the finish line of loving who you actually are — which is how the whole self-acceptance thing works, and affects everything that you do, whether you realize it or not.
When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.
- It is not a formula — People want you to think that loving yourself is a formula, with a specific solution, with a secret ingredient. That’s how they profit from you when you continue to buy their makeup, their hair products, their expensive suits, their phones, gym memberships and their life coaching sessions. And while none of those things are inherently bad, they do become dangerous when they’re attached to a message that says “This is the key. This is the answer. This is what has been missing from your life. This is why you are not good enough. This will fix you.”
- You cannot be fixed — Because you are not broken. Maybe you feel broken, and you have been through things that almost broke you. Maybe you’ve been through some problems that were not fair and it wasn’t your fault, but you’re still growing, evolving, growing, fighting, and hanging on to keep going.
- It is a state of being — It is a process, a lifestyle, and how you look at the world. It’s not something other people can beat you at. It’s not a race or a place you’ll get to with your next promotion, your next accomplishment, your next significant other. Loving yourself is a state of being. It’s not about being immune to criticism, doubt, rejection, judgment, or insecurity. It’s about learning to keep going in spite of those things.
- Take the challenge — Understand that much of the time, loving yourself comes from doing the things that make you feel the most insecure, most scared, and most uncertain about yourself and any (or all) of your capabilities. There are times when you will feel most uncomfortable and uneasy with yourself (like writing, stand-up comedy, improv, attending a college 500-plus km from home, accepting jobs that were completely out of your comfort zone, moving to new cities) that you’ll experience the most growth, the most enjoyment, and the greatest amount of contentedness in spite of stress, anxiety, and crippling inadequacy.
- Choose to love — Love is something you can choose, the same way you choose anger, or hate, or sadness. You can choose to forgive someone who has hurt you and begin to finally heal. You can choose to be grateful for what we have. You can choose love, and its always a choice within you.
The truth is, you may have thousands of friends, but it is you, who will live with yourself for the rest of your life. If you are not willing to love yourself today, then you are not going to love yourself tomorrow. You’ll never get there, but you can be there. Right now. Today is the day you can love yourself totally with no expectations.
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