I have always struggled with self-love. Of course, I took care of myself (never took any heavy drugs and I have never gotten too drunk and forgot what I did) and I respected myself (I don’t do things that could potentially ruin my reputation) but I never really *learnt* how to love myself. When I thought of myself, all I could ever see were my flaws – why is my face covered with pimples and blackhead? Why am I so skinny? Why do I still look 12 when I’m actually 20? Why do I look like a demented horse when I laugh? Where are my eyebrows? So really, what’s there to love about me?
I would find it so easy to love someone else wholeheartedly, and I would always make sure that they were happy all the time, which resulted in me ripping myself apart to ensure that they are kept whole. I would stare at people who looked so perfect and wonder where they get the water they bathe with and how they dim the sunlight so that it makes their skin shine instead of burn. I would feel uncomfortable when someone complimented me because it made me feel like they can see that I am nowhere close to being beautiful, but they just want to make me feel a bit better about myself.
I learnt though. I learnt that self-love is a process – you don’t wake up one day, look and the mirror and be like, “Oh my, is this me? Have I always looked like this? Damn, those pimples look amazing. These flabby arms are to die for and that extremely flat butt is looking hella lovely.” No, that is not how self-love hits you – it is a very slow and slightly emotional process.
It is a process that helps you unlearn what you were taught and what you thought. It starts off by you going on a mini-journey to self-discovery where you get to know yourself – your likes and dislikes, your preferred kind of fun, your true mates and spaces where you feel most appreciated. From there you will find yourself spending most of your time in solitude – reflecting on your behaviour and thoughts, reflecting on how different your life was a year ago and how you want it to be from now on, thinking about what and who really matters to you, thinking about what is worth your time and thinking about how to *think*.
Self-discovery and solitude lead you to self-love. Self-love really isn’t about you loving your flaws; no, I still don’t like some of my flaws, but self-love has swiftly escorted me out of heartaches from previous relationships, and self-love doesn’t even allow me to dare compare myself to anyone I know and don’t know. I see ‘self-love’ and ‘loving yourself’ as two completely different things – you can tell that someone loves themselves by just listening to them make everything about themselves and by scrolling through their social accounts and just seeing selfies, whereas you could hardly identify someone who is deeply immersed in self-love – they are people who have mastered the art of sharing personal information with you, but at the same time not giving you enough info for you to go around saying you know them.
Yes, we all love ourselves, but then again, we need to understand that loving ourselves isn’t enough. Hence, we need to go on the journey to self-love. Tears might be shed, distancing yourself from loved ones is almost guaranteed, and you are definitely going to change and at the end of it all, it will all be worth it.
Author Bio: I am a blogger for Budding Regardless, and I promote self-love and individuality.
Link to social media or website: Twitter @umbalenhle_k | Instagram @umbalenhle_k https://buddingregardless.com