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There are so many things I should've learned about self-love

It's beyond important that you love yourself regardless of where you are on the journey

Brick Wall with a Heart
heart-shaped red and beige pendant
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

People often say that this year —given the course of events—is the year of realization and transformation. This revelation is true to my life in so many ways that I've started to dive deeper into the world of self-love and what it means to transform myself for the better.

According to an article in Psychology Today, self-love is described as "an umbrella term to host many different acts of love we perform towards ourselves both physically and non-physically." Our understanding of self-love is often cultivated during childhood from those who cared for us. In other cases, self-love is taught on the unconscious level; we caught glimpses from observing those that raised us.

In my formative years of life, the aspect of self-love was not discussed. The primary conversations that I was a part of were that of "you must have respect for your elders" and "you're too young to have an opinion because it can come off as rude, and that's that." Within this conditioning, I did learn to respect people. Still, I also understood that I never learned to identify or express what I loved about myself in a comfortable way.

The exact moment in time that brought this idea to the forefront was around last year when I was viciously talked down to by a superior. Without getting into the specifics, let's just say that what was said really insulted me as it was downright inappropriate for a workplace, and quite frankly, a bruise to my ego in terms of a solid work ethic. Despite this, I somehow managed to keep a smile on my face, handling it as a "respect your elders moment" and "it's not a big deal." I neglected to embrace my voice in the situation (and in many similar instances )—the courage to use my voice to stand up for myself, know my worth, and genuinely love myself regardless of others' assumptions.

Here are some of the ways that helped me realign and begin to love:

Accepting your emotional state

As human beings, it's okay not to be happy all the time. The key here, though, is to acknowledge that you will have highs and lows; address it within yourself instead of diminishing your feelings.

Recognizing that even though your career is essential, it doesn't define you

Like many of my peers, I grew up with the sense that to succeed in this life meant overworking yourself. I had to study and work hard to obtain an ideal job, status, and sense of respect. Having these things is not an issue as education and money are essential for survival, but we must not lose sight of the simple comforts in life. We live in a capitalistic society, so we tend to neglect those other aspects of life that need to be tended to.

Get up, get moving, and start doing things that you love in your free time!

Forgiving yourself

To forgive yourself means to embrace self-compassion. We are not perfect and make mistakes, big or small. Even though this can seem like the earth is shattering all around you, chances are it's not as bad as you think. Things happen all the time, and life carries on. When embracing self-compassion, it allows you to reflect on your actions and past events with a kind heart and empathy, making it easier to forgive yourself. Holding a grudge against yourself is not only counterproductive. It's damaging to your well-being.

Although these few tips have been a great help to me on my journey, there are still so many things that I need to discover within myself to free my mind of the doubts that I succumb to at times.

I hope that no matter who and where you are on the journey that you find unconditional peace and love within yourself.

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