There were no traumatic events that led me to depression but I felt at more times than once that I wasn’t going to survive my inner turmoil. It was through experiencing constant low moods and overwhelming thoughts of self-doubt that I decided embarked on a self- love journey.
During this constant search I became easily frustrated. Attaining self-love appeared to be so easy for others. Seeing images of people with captions like “self-love//self-care” made me feel even worse. And I know you shouldn’t compare your journey to others but I found it difficult not to whilst drowning in perpetual self loathing. This would often make me wonder whether something was inherently wrong with me or whether I’d even experience genuine self-love.
I’d even try acts of self-care like treating myself to something nice or binge watching Netflix. Although these things were valid and fulfilling at the time, they filled me with temporary gratification and made me feel like crap afterwards.
After feeling constantly beaten up by my inner chaos, I began to think more about self-love as a concept and practice. I had a realisation that my definition of self-love was limiting this whole time.
This realization launched me into a relentless search to attain meaningful self-love.
Self-love is more than just buying yourself nice thing or having a long bath with candles. I found out that there’s so much more to self-love than any material acquisition or gaining external-validation.
I finally realised that self-love is a journey not a destination. It requires practice and patience to unravel its truest potential.
Here are a few things I’ve learnt (and STILL learning) along the way,
1. Brace yourself for crappy days, weeks or even months; Part of the process of self love is acknowledging the fact not everyday will be your best and allowing yourself the space to feel a wide range of emotions. Self love is about finding coping mechanism when you’re feeling low and being capable of acknowledging you are not okay. The most important thing to always bare in mind is despite how many times you might fall on this journey, there’s always an opportunity to rise up and start again.
2. It’s yours to define; Self love doesn’t look any particular way. You have to decide for yourself what it means to you. I tried putting my natural hair in twist outs and wearing more fashionable clothes because I saw those projections of self love. It didn’t take me long to realise that I’m too lazy to do twist outs and plus I find shopping to be a tedious task these days. I must add though that I have nothing against people who do that but it wasn’t authentic to me! My advice is to make moves that are organic to you and cater to your own personal needs and desires. Self love can’t be defined by anyone other than yourself.
3. Not everyone will understand it; It may cause you to loose friends in the process or grow further away from others. But you will also gain people who understand your journey and are willing to support you. Personally I become more introverted at one point and as a result I found myself missing out on a lot of social events. It might not be the best way for everyone but I found it necessary for me to take time away in order to focus on myself. Likewise, only you will know what’s necessary for you to get to where you want to be and you have to trust that your instinct is leading you towards that place.
4. Fundamental self-love work begins and always ends with your mental and emotional well-being; Even though material possessions can make us feel good, it provides us temporary gratification. In the age of social media, it’s easily to put emphasis on the physical “glow up” instead of doing the internal work that really takes a lot of effort. Focus on loving yourself internally without having to find it through external objects & people.
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