The internet taught me that the only way to love myself were either indulge in pizza and ice cream or to give up all processed foods and live off of carrots forever whilst meditating. Funnily enough, none of these have worked out all that well for me, so I’ve been thinking about the times I have truly shown myself love.
Dumping My Childhood Sweetheart
I haven’t really been single for much longer than a couple of weeks since I was 15, but when I was 17 I broke off a relationship that was the greatest act of self-kindness I could muster at an age where I was filled with self-doubt and loathing. I was preparing to move away to university and I was in a relationship with someone who didn’t have a drive for the future. I realised one day that I didn’t want to make new friends and have to introduce him to them. There was nothing wrong with him as a person, but he wasn’t right for me and I realised I was hiding behind a relationship instead of allowing myself to grow. It took barely a few months – and a fling or two inbetween – for me to find the man that I am now marrying and soppily in love with. Ending that relationship enabled me to open the door to my forever love, but more importantly, it opened up the opportunity for me to learn to love myself, and that is the greatest gift I could have given myself.
Taking Millions Of Selfies
Some time after coming home from living in Germany and before starting my final year of uni, I decided I was tired of hating my body. I decided I was going to combat that by buying the clothes I thought were pretty and taking pictures of me in them and posting them online. It sounds vain, it sounds trivial, but it helped me become more familiar with my body and the loving and supporting comments I received helped too.
Finding My Own Style
The more photos I took and the more I allowed myself to buy clothes I liked, the more I allowed myself to be free in my self-expression. I started letting myself buy clothes from peace festival markets, I started adorning myself in clothes filled with flowers and colour in a way to frame myself in sunshine. A lot of friends and family thought it was a bit odd, suddenly wearing over-patterned, flowery, baggy clothes, but to me, it became a positive crutch I leant on. The brighter my clothes, the brighter I felt. A friend of mine admitted that the main reason he dyed his hair bright, quirky colours was so that he could convince himself that when people looked at him, they were looking at his hair and not him. For a while, I worried I was doing the same thing, but I realised that I wasn’t hiding behind the brightness, I was searching for myself within it. I don’t feel quite so attached those patterns now, I can wear plain clothes and still feel lovely, but those clothes still feel like home to me.
Letting Myself Fail
About two months ago, I closed down my website. My official, This Is My Business website. Over a year ago my fiancé and I had to move home with his parents so he could have a heart operation, I decided to try my hand at freelancing. After quite a few months of having no money at all, I eventually gave it up and got a “normal” job. It was a little crushing at first, that I couldn’t make it on my own, but actually letting myself try and accepting that it didn’t work was good for me, it was healthy. And although it was difficult, it helped me to see that I didn’t need to be a career success to love myself.
There are a million other things I’ve done that, now that I think of it, were healthy things I’ve done, gifts I’ve given to myself as an act of love. From colouring books to dance classes and cutting toxic people out of my life, they’ve all strengthened me and made me happier and healthier. If you’re reading this, I’d love to know what how you’ve shown love to yourself too.