How do you practice self-love today in a world that is loud, busy and sometimes harsh?
We read magazines, see pictures on social media, and see models on TV that we feel we should emulate. I’m not sure where that comes from, but it’s a long-time issue. Like millions of others, I have struggled with self-love.
I have three kids, and have gained and lost 60 pounds afterwards. My body has changed a lot. I’m 5’2” and weigh somewhere in the 170s. I don’t weigh myself often because I get mad when I don’t see numbers I like. I don’t even own a scale. I’ve got stretch marks everywhere I can think of looking. I didn’t even want to wear leggings for a while because I was afraid of how I would look in them. And guess what I am wearing today? Leggings. I LOVE THEM.
I was not the prettiest girl.
I had horrible curly hair, weighed probably what I do now, but shorter and had really bad style. I read magazines with almost no girls that looked like me in it. I’m biracial and grew up in the 1990s so it was a bit rough to find models that looked like me. I hated looking like I did, because I didn’t look like anyone else. I didn’t appreciate my curly hair until much later. Through the years, I tried to stay skinny, like my friends and the models I saw, but my metabolism was not about to allow that. I also like to eat, so that didn’t help.
So, here I am, in my 30s.
I eat anything and everything. I wear what I want. I like my curves. I love my curls. I keep them short to avoid complete loss of control. I gained 60 pounds before I got to this point, but I’m okay with that. I also gained more love for myself along the way. I lost the 60 pounds because I was stressed and on the edge of filing for divorce. I was so unhappy with my life. I was constantly in the gym and I barely ate. My doctor was a bit concerned with this because at the time, I had type 2 Diabetes and I was considered underweight.
Nope. She recommended I gain about 10-15 lbs to help this issue. I gained 60. The main event that happened to cause the weight gain was the loss of a close friend to suicide about a week after that appointment. I became very depressed, and began eating and drinking to deal with my pain. I stopped exercising and got a bit more sedentary. (I have since got back into yoga.)
How did I learn to love myself again?
Therapy. Lots of therapy. My therapist has helped guide me through the body issues I have had and learn to love myself.
Appreciate what your body has done for you. My body has done a lot. Three kids. That’s a LOT. I’ve also survived a mini-stroke, thyroid surgery (the left side is no more) and I no longer have type 2. I’d say that’s a lot.
Make a list. Try to remember what your body has done for you and you will appreciate it a lot more. Remember what really helps those models and actresses out: filters, Photoshop and other similar things. Models are models for a reason, they’re gorgeous. That is how the world operates. They do have help, however. That is where filters and other things come in to make you believe they never have a bad hair day (highly trained and well paid hairstylists), breakouts (makeup artists) and are never bloated (trainers and Spanx). Maybe some of them are naturally that great looking, but it’s not without some maintenance. Maintenance that most of us don’t begin to have time for right now.
Develop self-esteem. It is a must. It is part of loving yourself. I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to quotes, and many of them are to remind myself of how awesome I am every day. If I am having a not so good day, I’ll take a peek at it. I had to start small and make a list of the things I liked about myself and my body, and build from there. Work on this part of yourself the best way that you can. Start small. The part that matters is that you start.
It is not an easy task, but self-love is possible!