Loving yourself is so freaking important. Although, I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with it. A lot. Especially when depression has its grip on me, or it’s that time of the month. So, you know, almost always. But when I’m with a clear mind and I’m being grateful for all around me, I’m pretty happy with myself.
My biggest challenge is to accept the way I look. I don’t look the same as when I was 16 (see picture above) and I don’t even look the way I did a year ago. The biggest change is gaining all my weight back that I had just recently lost. I fell into a pretty bad depression and basically stopped eating anything at all. I was surviving off of half a pop tart a day. That was it. Caffeine and nicotine kept me alive. But, I lost all the weight I had gained in Tennessee. It was great. Then, I got into a relationship with a man who loves to eat. Helloooo tummy! And fuller face, bigger butt, and bigger boobs. I ain’t complaining about that bigger butt, though!
So, how can you tell if you’re loving yourself? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You think you’re loving yourself but then you take the time to think about it and you realize that maybe there’s more you could be doing.
Signs You’re Not Loving Yourself
1. You don’t feel free to be yourself
I’m partially dealing with this right now. It’s hard to explain. I’m just not allowing myself to be as passionate and open as I once was. Honestly, I think I’m holding back because I’m still in a newish relationship. While it feels like we’ve been together forever, we’re still learning about each other. And I’m kind of afraid he’ll make fun of me for how passionate I am about photography. Even though there’s no logical reasoning as to why I think he’d make fun of me. He’d more than likely smile and think it’s cute. But, we’re going on vacation soon so, he’ll be seeing that side of me.
2. You don’t spend time with yourself
You just don’t. Every minute is spent with someone around. Whether you’re at work, with your family, or hanging out with friends. Alone time has helped me love me. Being with my thoughts after a busy day keeps me connected to myself. If you can’t stand to be alone with you, you might need to work on some things (advice below).
3. You’re not respecting your values
This one I’ve struggled with a lot in the past few years. I’ve done a lot of things that go against my values to make people like me. I started drinking to make people like me. I started smoking pot to make people like me. I started sleeping around to make people like me. I did drugs to make people like me. I’ve gossiped to make people like me. The list goes on for miles. The truth here is, those people aren’t worth it. No one is worth disrespecting your values for. And I’m glad I’ve learned this.
4. You’re not eating right
Whether you don’t eat at all, like me, or you only eat junk food, it’s a sign you’re not loving yourself. I’m going through this right now. I stopped eating for a few days because I thought it’d give me the bikini body I want for my vacation next week. It won’t. I was starving myself for nothing. And that’s not okay. You gotta love yourself, you gotta feed yourself good things. Today, I had to force myself to eat pizza. At least I ate something.
Now, you’re probably wondering where the hell do I go from here? If you’ve realized you may not be loving yourself, that’s okay. I got your back. There are long lists of ways to love yourself. I’ll be posting a piece on that soon. But, here’s some tips that go along with what I’ve said so far.
How to start loving yourself
1. Express yourself (be free)
Forget what others are thinking! Express who you truly are. If deep down you’re a total metal head, go out and buy a Memphis May Fire tshirt (or any other band, they’re just my favs). If you love to paint, paint something and share it on Facebook! Do something to express yourself, and make sure people see it. Let them know you don’t give a fuck what they think. It’s time to be you! Unapologetically.
2. Quality time (hang out with yourself)
Spend some time alone. Just you. Don’t go out shopping alone, don’t go to a coffee shop, there’s people there and who wants to be around people? Sorry, love/hate relationship with the human race. Anyway, lock yourself in your room, go sit out on the porch, wherever you feel like being yourself. And then, do something to get to know yourself. Journal, write, do whatever. I’ll be posting a journaling piece here soon as well.
3. Respect yourself (keep with your values)
Don’t lower yourself to please someone else. What matters is how you feel about yourself at the end of the day. Can you truly be happy with the choices you’ve made? Think about it.
4. Make yummy food (eat right)
This is the hardest one of all, especially if you’re me. I mean, who the hell wants to start eating right when you’ve been indulging in Fritos and cake and so much coffee? But, I heard you feel better when you eat right. I don’t have any tips for you here, when I do eat, it’s not perfectly right. But, I’m more focused on making sure I eat something, anything. I am cutting back on the junk, though.