In lieu of this week of love, I want to touch on the topic of self love because you cant expect someone to love you when you cant love yourself.
Self Care starts with loving yourself!
Working with youth as both an educator and a non-profit mentor/counselor, I come across many individuals, young and old, who are still uncomfortable with themselves, putting themselves down when others are trying to lift them up, not believing in their own beauty, talents, or smarts.. and it just reminds of the days when I was uncomfortable with myself, I did not like showing skin, wearing dresses or make-up, I felt my limbs were too long, i thought I was too skinny. I hid behind my books and quiet nature until I had my heart broken. After that I gave no fucks and then I continued on finding my voice and shaping my own view of the world. I stopped needing the validation of others because I simply didn’t care anymore. I became of a more ‘I didn’t ask you’ kind of person.
I did spoken word, lingerie and nude shoots, random photo-shoots, I bought a long ass mirror and touched my body, caressing every curve, looking at all my stretch marks, my scrapes from being a kid, my moles, my tattoos, all my flaws and imperfections and instead of just smiling and shying away from compliments, I started accepting them because I accepted myself. I accepted everything about myself. I accepted who I was and all I had to offer, because at the end of the day I still have to look and the mirror see me. It’s my reflection that I have to live with. It took me years to get to this point, the whole fuck you, i’m just gonna do me’ mentality. This is me take it or leave it!
If you have to say it to believe it, do like Gabrielle Union on being Mary Jane, write down daily affirmations, place them where you’ll see them the most (bathroom mirrors for example), read and try to stick by that quote for the day.
But having friends and family and your significant other in your corner can help speed up this process. It helps significantly when you can believe what they say is coming from the heart. Just remember family does not have to say kind words to you, they are not obligated to lift you up and make you feel good about yourself, it’s a choice, just as much as you choose to believe what they say.
The mind is a tricky thing when it comes to things about yourself, so jot down what you love about yourself. Why do you love these things? What are you doing to work on things you dont like?
Some individuals I recommend following on IG is Alex Elle, JChavae (apologies, I cannot find any male pages that promote self care on all aspects other than physical fitness, which is a topic that can be discussed another time!)