I know I’m not alone when I confess that I struggle with self love. It doesn’t matter how many #positive Instagram images I come across, or how many self improvement books I read or how many inspirational speakers I watch – when I’m left alone with my thoughts I bring the hammer down on myself. Hard.
I am, and have always been, my own toughest critic. There really isn’t any insult that anyone can fling at me that I haven’t already thrown at myself. Of course, I would never dare treat someone else the way I treat myself. Could I imagine saying those things to anyone else? Hell no. That would be horrible. But when it comes to myself… I deserve it. At least I feel as though I do.
For me conquering self love is a big leap. It isn’t going to happen after reading a few hundred inspirational quotes. I think the first step is self acceptance – just learning to be comfortable, or at the very least, OK with yourself.
“This is me and I have many faults – both physically and emotionally – but I am OK with that.” I’m not saying I’m happy with it or that I’m grateful for it, I am just OK with the fact that this who I am as a person. And there are things that I cannot change, no matter how many diets I go on.
It’s taken me a while to get to this point and it will no doubt also take sometime before I reach a point of acceptance. That’s fine. That’s life. What’s interesting is that I feel as though this journey to self love is almost one of regression. I used to like myself, a lot. I think all of us are born loving and accepting who we are – we just don’t know any different, really.
But somewhere along the way we turn on ourselves. Rarely can we pinpoint the exact moment it happens. Usually it’s a slow hate that festers within us. It grows from subtle insults and is nurtured by jealousy and comparing ourselves to others. It’s insidious.
And that brings me to G.
Ever since she was born, G has loved looking at herself in the mirror. She poses, she pouts and then she smiles at herself. It’s that pure, self love that exists only in children. There isn’t a hint of ego in it either. It’s so simple: “I like what I see. I like this person”.
I want that for G. I want that for her forever.
Only I know there will come a time when she will turn against herself. She will become her own worst enemy and biggest critic. I know that. But I think it’s because I know that, because I’m not naive enough to think otherwise, that perhaps the self-loathing won’t hit G as hard as it has me. I hope that as she travels down her own path, whatever that may be, I can help put the breaks on for her when I spot those self-loathing signs.
I can teach her what I’ve learned and what I’m still learning and, most importantly, to help her see herself the way those who love her do – in all her perfect, happy, joyous and kind glory.