Why Self-love Is A Long, Difficult Journey

The truth is, learning to love yourself isn’t easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. If self-love was as simple as declaring, “Hey, I woke up this morning and decided to love myself,” then the world would be a much happier place. But it’s not that easy and unfortunately, some of us never learn to fully embrace who we are.

I was recently speaking to a friend who preaches a lot about the importance of self-love. The way she tries to spread this positive message is inspiring, so I asked her how she started to love herself. She said that for a long time she wasn’t happy with who she was. This self-hatred was formed through years of bullying and abuse. She thought that she would never reach a point where she could honestly say that she loved herself, but here she is, trying to motivate others to do the same.

So, how did she get to where she is now? It started with self-care. It’s so easy to overlook the importance of self-care, but trust me, it’s a lot more than a bubble bath and a glass of wine. It’s about taking care of your mind and body. Like I mentioned before, this isn’t something that happens over night, which is why you should celebrate every small victory.

I’ve found that rewarding yourself for completing tasks or challenges is a good way to practice self-love. It also gives you the motivation that you need. Knowing that there’s something good just around the corner makes it all seem worth it.

However, I’ve read a ton of articles on the topic of self-love and I have to disagree with the message that some of them try to communicate. One phrase that I’ve heard far too many times is, “if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else.” Let me tell you, it’s not true. Since when does not loving yourself stop you from loving others? It doesn’t. I can love and appreciate and accept other people a lot easier than I would myself. And I know that’s the same for many people. We find so many faults and flaws in ourselves but we’re willing to overlook them in someone we love. Maybe it’s because we set too high expectations of ourselves; we feel a pressure to act and look a certain way.

We are our biggest critics and that’s why self-love is a difficult journey. We compare our lives to other people who seem happier, richer, luckier, without knowing their hidden struggles. We find things to dislike about ourselves because it’s easier than accepting who we are. But we shouldn’t use this as a source of negativity – we should use this as motivation to be the best version of ourselves.

So how do you love yourself? Well, maybe you should start with liking yourself first. Make a list of goals. Start a new hobby. Get off social media. Plan a holiday. Treat yourself to something you’ve wanted for ages. Don’t question why you’re doing it – it if makes you happy, do it.


Mental Health: Bad days (#1)

Side note: I created a poll on Twitter and asked people what they would like to read more of, and Mental Health got the most votes. I think the reasoning behind this is that Mental Health is a subject a lot of people like to avoid. That’s a shame, because the more people talk about it, the better it will be for all of us. Everyone needs some guidance, some encouragement, and some words of wisdom from time to time. I decided I would create a Mental Health blog series (is that already a thing? I’m claiming it as my own anyway) with the intention of reaching out to people who are struggling with Mental Health issues. It might not make any difference, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Isn’t it incredible how one, simple thing can impact our mood? A change in weather. An argument with a friend. A few words can flip everything upside down in a matter of seconds. It’s difficult to turn a bad day around. In your mind, you’ve concluded that the day is ruined, so instead of trying to pick yourself back up you admit defeat.

Of course, there are also days when you don’t choose to feel the way you do. You wake up feeling like a dark cloud is hovering over you, just waiting. And suddenly any courage or strength gets sapped from the body entirely and every part of you longs to stay in bed for the entire day, tied up in your own depressing thoughts.

Not everyone will understand it. You’ll try talking to your friends and they’ll offer you that familiar, pitying expression which you know so well and maybe a few words of comfort. Sometimes it helps, but mostly it doesn’t. You don’t want to hear that it will get better. You want to know that you’re not the only one to feel this way. You want someone to look you straight in the eye and tell you that you’re not alone. Or maybe what you really need is a distraction; a way to escape from the battle inside your own head.

Just as quickly as a good day can transform into a bad day, the scale can tilt the other way. There will be a time when you’ll feel okay, if not happy, and you’ll wonder if the bad days were really that bad after all. But you shouldn’t doubt yourself. What you felt in the moment was raw emotion and most importantly the realest thing you will ever experience.

It’s OK to admit that you’re not sure what direction you are walking in. It’s OK to tell someone that you’ve not been yourself lately. It’s OK to feel frustration, sadness and loneliness all at the same time. So forceful and unexpected that it confines you to the comfort of your own bed. It’s OK.

It won’t always be like this. When you’re having another bad day and you’re at the worst you have ever felt, wondering how you will go on, just think about those good days. Familiarise yourself with the feelings you experienced. If you felt happy once, even for a brief moment, it means you are capable of feeling that way again. Maybe that’s the encouragement you need.

Mental Movement would appreciate your votes in the UK Blog Awards 2017. They truly deserve it for all of their hard work!