Here’s an excerpt from a poem that I wrote 13 years ago, during a time of intense personal agony:
I long to love me.
I want to hold me,
As much as I held him.
I want to console me,
Forever know me,
As I insisted on knowing him.
Now he’s gone.
I’m still here.
What does it matter,
And having known him?
Yes, the poem was inspired by relationship woes. But the bottom line is that I truly wanted to find love for myself. Let me tell you. I was going through my own personal hell, and it makes me emotional to read the poems and journals that I wrote during this era of my life. I do have to say that not all of that emotion is negative, so much of it is grounded in pride. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come since then. I thank God for giving me the foresight to know that the only way out of this angst would be for me to begin making myself a priority and loving myself. The phrase “love yourself” sounds so simple, but when you approach it, finding self-love can involve digging through a whole lot of ‘ugly stuff’. For many of us, the ‘ugly stuff’ includes extinguishing lies that we’ve been conditioned to believe about ourselves. It’s tragic for a woman, blessed with gifts, talents, and beauty to live life and never get to realize her hefty value. We can’t allow this to be our reality, so it’s necessary for each of us to identify and conquer the “ugly untruths” that continue to hold us back.
There are two “myths” in particular that I am determined to ban from my life:
Ugly Untruth #1
I'm Too Quiet/Don't Have the Personality to Shine
When I was younger, I allowed this to hold me back in so many ways. I have come very far, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area. Yes, I’m quiet. I’m very much an introvert, which means that I’m content with not being in the spotlight. My comfort zone involves a whole lot of quietude, just me and my own thoughts. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m content with this, but I refuse to see it as a roadblock or even as anything negative. I do and will continue to move out of my comfort zone to reach my goals, to make my voice heard when I have a message.
Ugly Untruth #2
I’m not attractive
One of my cousins posted a childhood picture of me on Facebook recently. I looked at the picture and saw an adorable little girl. Why didn’t I feel that way, then? Why didn’t I feel that way growing up? I don’t know. I’m clueless as to the origin of me feeling that I wasn’t pretty. Low self-esteem is a terror. It causes you to minimize your positive attributes and highlight the negative (and create beliefs about yourself that are not even true). It was not until I had children and saw their beauty that I began to feel attractive.
Here’s How I’m Working on Loving Myself the Way that I Deserve
1. Change the language that I use about myself- I am very much a believer in the strength of positive affirmations. Being armed with uplifting bible verses, quotes, etc. is vital to combatting the negative thoughts and beliefs that I have held about myself for so long.
2. Forgiving others-Yes, I recognize the part that others may have played in creating the scars that have affected my life, but forgiving those individuals is necessary for my own growth.
3. Taking care of myself -mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am a work in progress in this area. I am working to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and I am sure that it would make me so much more content. People joke about New Year’s resolutions, but adopting a healthier lifestyle is certainly one of my resolutions for 2015.
4. Make myself a priority-we make no qualms about supporting and nurturing those around us. We have to save a portion of that ‘loving kindness’ for ourselves
5. Setting and achieving goals –there are not many self-esteem boosters greater than bringing a goal to life
I’m ready to love myself with no boundaries. What about you? What are some “ugly untruths” that you’re working on expelling from your life? I look forward to reading your feedback.
Very good post. It is so important to love oneself. The struggle is real. It is so important to teach kids to be okay with themselves, the scars left behind can be so damaging and the effect so long lasting :-( . I've always had a sort of CAT steam roller mentality. I just roll over everyone :-) .
4/4/2016 08:49:45 pm
Great article! I struggle with the same things. I am struggling with the forgiving and letting go. But I know with time I'll get it. I learned a long time ago to love myself and put myself first! I think that's another important key to loving yourself.
4/4/2016 09:19:09 pm
I am confident in the skin I'm in. I just need to work on saying no when it makes sense. I need to stop spreading myself thin.
4/5/2016 10:16:08 am
Such a great post and such a poignant poem. I think that getting physically fit is an expression of self love. Maybe if more people looked at it this way, then maybe it wouldn't feel like such a chore. I'm definitely working towards prioritizing self love through physical fitness and cleaner eating. I'm a work in progress.
Instead of seeing the negative, I see all of my potential. There are things that I want to improve, like gaining a few pounds. During childhood, I didn't exactly feel pretty either. I wore glasses and was teased all of the time. When everyone started to fill out, I was left behind and my body was always a topic of ridicule. For me it took my husband's admiration of my body and me birthing babies to truly love myself. I'm still insecure about my size so I'm going to gain 15lbs. I love being pregnant because of the extra weight, but still I get told how tiny I am. I'm also an introvert. I've learned though, that people are gonna talk about/complain about you and your actions no matter what. You can't please them all and it isn't your job to in the first place. #doyouboo
4/6/2016 11:12:36 am
Beautiful post! We need to definitely start looking past what we are not and begin looking at what we ARE.
4/6/2016 05:47:05 pm
Self love is the best love! I'm so excited to be reading more about it these days.
5/29/2023 06:55:40 am
Very nice blog you have heree
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The creator of Truly Charmed, Antoinette Cain, delights in all things fashion, all things fostering empowerment, and all things that inspire ambition. Antoinette started this fashion and lifestyle blog to celebrate those who are living their Charmed Lives and to empower those who haven't yet realized that life may be imperfect, but in every day there is a Charmed moment.