For most of my life the answer would have been no, although to your face I would have told you I did. From as far back as I can remember I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought I was weird, different, and thought if you knew who I really was you wouldn’t like me. I set unrealistic expectations for myself and set the bar so high I was never able to achieve the goals or expectations I set, and as a result, would beat myself up time and time again for not measuring up in my eyes. As I got older the expectations got bigger, as did my self-hatred. I constantly had a negative narrative running in my head berating myself up for not living up to who I thought I should be and what I thought I should be capable of. My lack of self-love led me to darker and darker places until I found myself not caring anymore for my own well-being and taking dangerous chances with my life. I was very fortunate to have recognized how dangerous the place was that I was living mentally and found the courage through a friend to reach out for help.
The road from self-hatred to self-love was a rocky one to start, and some days can still be challenging, but it was worth every stumble and every second of work it took to get me here. When I began this journey I hated myself so much I couldn’t physically say I love you while looking at myself in the mirror, something that, when I think back to, still makes me sad. I had to learn to forgive myself if I was ever going to love myself, and I had many years of forgiveness to find. I didn’t do it alone, I did it with a mental health professional and with many in support groups who were on the same path I was, with the help and guidance around me I was able to start to move forward toward a path of forgiveness. I also focused on gratitude, for what I had in my life and for myself, again, that wasn’t easy to start, but I was encouraged to start with one thing each day, find one thing I was grateful for and one thing I liked about myself. Sometimes I would sit and struggle to find them, but I did, and I would write them down and carry that piece of paper with me to remind myself during moments of frustration or fear for the place I was. It was those little steps each day that slowly added up to me finding more and more to be grateful for, and, reasons to appreciate myself. Another key ingredient was to give back to others, and it was demonstrated to me early on that we always have something to give, even when we don’t think we do, just by sharing our truth and asking someone else how their day is or asking if there is something we can do for them. No matter how far down we may feel, someone else may feel lower, or just need a friend, and by extending our hand we are able to get out of our own head and be of service to someone else.
During this time of social distancing and, for some, isolation, a time when most of the world is on pause, we have the opportunity to really ask ourselves if we like who we are, and if we don’t, look into why that is. It is a great time to work on making some positive changes in our lives, and to give back where we can, and, if we’re having trouble finding some things we like in ourselves maybe ask a friend or family member what they like in you, sometimes it’s easier to find our way to those things through someone else’s eyes until our own see us for who we really are. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Would you say you like yourself? If not, why not? If you do, what do you like about you? Have you always liked yourself? What changed from the time you didn’t like yourself to liking yourself today? If you don’t like yourself, was there a time that you did? What changed that? What can you do today to find something about yourself that you like? What are you grateful for today? Focus on those things SLAYER, and challenge yourself to find more in the days to come, asking others for their thoughts as well, and making sure the reasons you have are not in place to keep you down, and not overcome, ask yourself why those reasons are so important to you, and how you can let them go, or, forgive yourself for them. Self-love, or even self-like, is out there for you to embrace, it may take some time, but take that first step today.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you