Taking the time to love yourself has never been more important, especially during these times. It is an everyday battle, but a rewarding journey and even though I just started this adventure, I truly feel like it is going to be such a beneficial long-term experience for myself and the people around me.
This self-love journey has translated through the different outlets that I have in my own life and has given me the confidence to know that when an obstacle comes my way, I will be able to adapt and make it through no matter how uncomfortable the circumstance may be.
Like other people in the community, I have suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life and have had trouble coping with it by myself especially after the pandemic. One thing that really started helping me move past anxiety and depression was taking a long reflective look at my situation and coming up with solutions for things that I could change, such as my daily schedule and morning routine.
I also try to focus on the things that bring me joy and challenge me at the same time. An example of that is going to the gym almost every morning. I have noticed that on the days I do not go to the gym, I have a little bit less energy while starting my day and I am less enthusiastic about getting tasks done.
I also noticed that just working on my physical appearance is not going to elevate me to the level that I want to be at if I do not work on my mental health as well. So now every morning I take the time to do a daily ritual of reading a positive affirmation and writing in my journal on the things I could work on and what I love in life at the moment. This helps me tremendously because I have shown myself that I am important to myself and taking the time to let me know that I love myself and care about my well-being. I am letting myself know that I matter to myself and not just going through the motions in life. I want to be present in not only where I am, but who I am as a person.
Another thing that I have been taking the time to learn is to stop guessing how people feel and think about me and focus on myself. To know that if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, that it will be brought to my attention and if it is not, then it is something that I do not need to worry about until it is. How a person may feel about me or think of me is none of my business and that was something that I needed to put into practice. This has relieved myself of so much anxiety about people and being in social settings because I am now free to be who I want to be without the worry of what others are going to think of me.
While taking the time to love myself and really reflect on the things that I love to do, I have discovered that I have so many creative outlets within me that I never let myself explore because of the fear of being judged not only by others, but by myself. I have discovered that I love photography and taking pictures of people and editing photos. I love doing interior design and decorating. I also love writing and expressing myself in a way that is profound and therapeutic at the same time.
In other words, I was holding myself back from truly being free and expressing myself in different avenues and different styles. This journey of loving myself is an everyday journey and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to finally move forward in a way that is beneficial for myself and that can ultimately rub off on others who are around me and supporting me.
Self-love takes discipline. Because when you love yourself, you must show up for yourself and you have to let yourself know that you’ve got your own back. But when you do start showing up for yourself and you do start showing yourself how much you love yourself, everything changes.
There are still attributes of myself that I want to elevate and start putting into practice but I know that it will take time and patience. I do not need to take on my whole 32 years of life in one session and try to fix everything all at once. Anyone who tried to do that would be discouraged a little bit. Creating achievable goals in a realistic time frame is the best way to take control of your destiny, situation, and life without becoming stagnant and overwhelmed.
The last thing that I have learned, which would seem so simple to cultivate in your life, is gratitude. Trust me, especially after the past year and everything that has happened, I know it can be hard to look in the mirror and list off all of the things that you are grateful and thankful for but when you really reflect and start being thankful for even the smallest things like having toothpaste to brush your teeth or a blanket to keep you warm at night, your perspective of life, as a whole, really begins to manifest and change positively.