Journey to Self Love: Learning to Love Yourself
I think we can all agree that everyone enjoys being liked by others. Walking into a group of people who are happy to see you, feels GOOD. As social creatures, it makes us feel loved, accepted, and like we are a part of something greater than ourselves. In today’s day and age, this need for approval is heightened by our interconnected world on social media. We gauge our self worth on trivial things like how many likes we get on a picture, or how many people view our videos. this makes our journey to self-love even more complicated. Those metrics may feel good to look at, but is the opinion of others what we want our happiness to be reliant on?
My Journey to Self Love Started with Self Hatred
Though on the outside I’ve always been the bubbly, energetic, and loud one, my journey to self-love was a long one. I think the beginnings of self-hatred began in high school, where I often sat in a stairwell by myself for lunch, friendless. Being the bubbly, overachieving hugger, people always saw me as ingenuine, extra, or too much in general. The kicker? I always needed people to like me, and I wanted to be accepted. Does this resonate with you? People would tell me things like, “Annette, you are just too much!” and I would sit in my childhood bedroom, crying, wondering how I can be less. How I could strip myself of who I am so that I could fit in. That self-hatred culminated in March of 2017 when I almost took my own life…
That’s When The REAL Journey to Self Love Began…
Because after you almost kill yourself, and then actively choose not to, you realize something has to change. I had lost my job, my friends, and most importantly myself. I tried so hard to be someone I wasn’t that I hated who I became even more. Looking at myself in the mirror, disgusted with the person who was staring back at me. My journey to self-love was long, hard, and complicated. It took months to rebuild my self-esteem from the nothingness. So, how did I go from rock bottom to using Demi Lovato’s song “Confident” as my anthem?
Tips for Finding Self Love
Stop Caring About What Others Think
Whether it’s a personality clash, a misunderstanding, jealously, or they just don’t like your face…people can and will dislike you. Instead of focusing on those people, embrace the wonderful, unique human you are. Learning self-love is an important skill we, too often, neglect. When we make our happiness a priority, we will attract people who complement us and will love us for who we are. Through this personal growth, you may find that some of your current friends may fall to the wayside. But on the journey to self-love, you have to pick the weeds and leave the flowers. Make the person who treats you the best, and makes you feel the most loved BE YOU. Worrying about the opinions of others who don’t even know your story is wasted energy.
I know this is easier said than done…
When we first started on social media, I let every single negative comment get to me. Every time I would read a disparaging comment, I felt like I was that sad 16-year-old girl, sitting alone in the stairwell at lunch. But practicing self-love and remembering that the only love that matters here is mine, helped me silence the haters, instead of letting them blow out my light. The fact is, not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. Your energy is going to attract like energy. don’t focus on the people who don’t like you, your energies simply don’t go together. Be grateful for the people who love you and accept you for exactly who you are. Most importantly, don’t let the negativity silence you. Own your self-love, wash your face, and confront life with your head held up high.
Here are some examples of me owning my own self-love:
For an in-depth lesson in Self-Love from an actual therapist, click here!
For the Love of God, Stop Apologizing
Listen up, friend. Some of you who struggle with self-love apologize way too much. The sooner you embrace exactly who you are and recognize that this life is a gift, the happier you will be. You don’t need to apologize for speaking up for yourself. You don’t need to apologize for commanding exactly what you want out of life. And you most certainly don’t need to apologize for your thoughts, beliefs, your background, where you come from, or anything else that makes you special. If what makes you special makes the people around you uncomfortable, you are around the wrong people. Stop apologizing, own your uniqueness, and stand up tall. You are awesome, babe.
Related: How to Live a Life You LOVE!
Use Self Love Mantras
Every single morning when I was going fighting through my depression I would tell myself, “I am enough”. I didn’t believe it every day, and I sometimes even felt silly doing it. But over time, I started to believe it, and once I had one mantra mastered I would repeat another one. “My self-love is the only one that matters”. It may feel silly at first, but get in front of a mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are. You will retrain your brain to think of yourself in a positive light and start to believe it (because it’s true!)
Click here to download 10 Self Love Mantras that Will Change Your Life!
Change Your Mindset
Mindset is everything in this life. Whether you want to find self-love accomplish your greatest dreams, it all starts with the way you think. When I was trying to overcome my suicidal ideation, I read book after book trying to crack the code of the world’s most successful people. The words they told themselves every morning and their beliefs, were the fundamental difference that allowed them to be successful and happy. Fill your mind with positivity. Surround yourself with friends that accept you and support you. Read books that inspire you and make you feel motivated. Focus on personal growth. This is going to make all the difference.
Best Books for Finding Self Love
Mindvalley is an online personal growth education platform where you can find courses on dozens of self-help topics. Its specific focus is to help people lead better and happier lives through courses provided by online experts in self-help fields. They have tons of free courses and masterclasses covering things like meditation, and self-love! Their words, “The Mindvalley curriculum is designed to unleash the fullest potential of your mind, body, and spirit. It’s about being a rockstar at work. Having a healthy, youthful, energetic body. Experiencing unbreakable joy, love, and fulfillment. Connecting deeply with the people and communities around you. And contributing your unique gifts to the planet.”
Hop-Off of Social Media
Excuse my language here, but the comparison game is a bitch. My entire life and job is on social media, and even I have to make an effort to not compare myself to others. From someone who spent four years at the University of Florida studying Psychology, let me be the one to tell you that social media can actually make us feel worse about ourselves. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are simply albums of people’s greatest hits…It’s NOT REAL! Take it from someone who’s life is all over social media. The pictures of us at a beach, or at a waterfall are maybe 5 days out of an entire month. But the reality is, it just wouldn’t be as interesting for me to post 700 pictures of me sitting in my sweat pants staring at my computer every day. I save that level of realness for our Instagram Stories.
Furthermore, for people out there who care about how many likes they get on a picture, the odds are stacked against you. Algorithms are always changing on these platforms to make what they deem “good content” to show up on top. Sorry to break it to you but this means that your content may not even be getting seen! But regardless, relying on other people’s judgment of you to determine your self worth is always going to disappoint you because…
Only you know your whole story.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all judgmental. Whether we vocalize our criticisms or not, most of us don’t jump to give people the benefit of the doubt. Think about the last time someone was late for a work meeting or class. Was your first thought “Oh, they probably had a flat tire on the way here. Poor them”? I highly doubt it. We don’t do this intentionally, and it doesn’t make us bad people, it just makes us human. This is why it is so important for us to be secure enough with ourselves to not be affected by the perception of others.
I’m someone who is very loud, bubbly, touchy-feely, and positive. I love that about myself…but not everyone does. People frequently perceive me as ingenuine, too loud, or just too much energy in general. For a long time, I struggled with this because I wanted people to like me; I wanted to fit in. And this is even more amplified with our lives on social media because people make snap judgments of me on a regular basis.
But if people knew my story…how much emotional, verbal, and physical abuse I endured growing up, they would understand why it’s so important to me to make others feel encouraged, loved, and appreciated; why it’s so important to me to be the opposite of the environment I grew up in. I had to learn that people just don’t understand my story, and I’m not going to change who I am just because it makes someone uncomfortable. You shouldn’t either.
Practice Self Care and Self Love
The journey to self-love is based on practice. It’s not as simple as saying, “okay! Today I’m going to think I’m freaking awesome and that’s that”. It doesn’t work that way. Self-love is a practice that you put effort into daily. You can practice self-love by:
- Pampering yourself with a long bath
- Taking time to exercise
- Doing yoga
- Giving yourself 2 hours without social media a day
- Reading your favorite book
- Repeating self-love mantras to yourself
Related: Stress Less with These 6 Easy Steps
Love yourself FIRST
Let me tell you something you may not have heard before. You are FREAKING AWESOME. No amount of likes, comments, or followers is ever going to show you that. This is true whether you have a million people who want to be your friends, or you’re that person that grabs coffee by themselves at Starbucks (I’m totally guilty of this). But you know what’s going to make you really awesome? Believing that yourself. Not letting some girl behind a keyboard tell you that, not letting society tell you that, but being able to look at yourself in the mirror and being happy with the person in the reflection.
Do me, and more importantly, yourself a favor and go to a mirror tell yourself just how great you are. Because you are wonderful! Your story may be filled with sadness, pain, and mistakes, but guess what? All of our stories have some of that (and maybe even a lot of that). That doesn’t define who we are, or who we are meant to be.
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*Updated January of 2020
When I originally published this article, Chase for Adventure had just started. We didn’t have a single video up, and we maybe had 100 followers on Instagram at the time. As we’ve grown, we’ve been able to amass an amazing online community filled with people who are loving and supportive. Every now and then, we get comments that frankly hurt, and I’ve had to go back through this post and remember how to love myself again. Like I mentioned, this is a practice and a journey. Not a, “lemme read this blog post real quick, and I’m suddenly going to think I’m a badass”. It doesn’t work that way. But no matter where you are in your journey, know that you are enough. Don’t ever apologize for who you are, and don’t ever let anyone silence you. You are way too precious and important.
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