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WW3: The Battle of Loving Yourself

There are numerous self-help books and individuals telling us to love ourselves. They're not wrong, but I think it isn't as simple as they make it seem. Some days loving ourselves feels effortless. You accomplished something, you helped someone, your hair looks fabulous... But what about those days we're not at the top of our game? When we have done something that in our book is unforgivable, wrong or even irritating, it can be very easy to be hard on ourselves.


If you're anything like me, on those days it can feel like days of self-love has gone down the drain, and now all that's left is you feeling incredibly fed up with yourself. Now to the important questions. Why does self-loathing come so easy? Why does loving yourself feel like an on-going battle? And most importantly, on the bad days, when it feels near impossible to even like yourself, where do we begin to change?

Let me give you my little guide to self-love for the rainy days, when we need it the most.

1. HUMANNESS (yes, that is a word apparently)


I think a good start, is to realise we are only human. We need to stop with the black-and-white thinking. One day you're amazing, the next a raging abject terror.


I know it can be hard in the midst of a satisfying self-loathing/wallowing-in-self-pity-party, but understanding our humanness is one step to sustainable self-love.


The same way one accomplishment doesn't suddenly make our whole identity, neither does a failure. We identify with our accomplishments, but unfortunately our failures too. I don't just mean our careers or education. Our relationships with others and yourself, how we reacted that time after an argument, those times we let someone down… Those emotions of guilt and shame can cloud us in the moment. But this is part of being human. The mess of it! What helps me snap of out of it is consistently telling myself I am not meant to be perfect. We are not robots. Imperfections embody humanness.

2. BABY STEPS


I think liking, or dare I say loving, ourselves, means on those days where we feel regret, shame or guilt but can cut yourself a little slack, that's loving yourself too. I think we see people full of confident self-love, and it can be intimidating. But we don't become like that overnight. Even those people who love themselves what feels like 24/7, have days where they are feeling out of sorts. If we can snap out of a train of ruthless thoughts, and give ourselves a drop of self-compassion, we are still winning. Every little step counts!

3. SELF-LOATHING: A DEFAULT SETTING


We didn't just wake up one day and started hating ourselves. This was a long process, due to many factors, external and internal. Keeping in mind that our brains are set at a negativity bias anyways and that this mindset of hating on ourselves is long ingrained, can go some way in forgiving ourselves for not immediately being full of sunshine and daisies. Like most things, give it time and a little patience.

4. FORGIVE YOURSELF


Look, if we were genuinely in the wrong, I'm not saying to just sweep in under the carpet. But in the process of taking responsibility for our actions, feeling shame and regret it clearly means we understand the scale of what we have done. Some things may not be fixable, but often we can heal bridges. I don't just mean big things. If we're characteristically hard on ourselves, little mistakes can seem massive to us. There is also another scenario, where we are largely over-estimating our role in what happened. This is why we need to process what happened, talk to the people involved and eventually learn to forgive ourselves. This is one step on the road to self-love.

5. EXPLORE!


You know those things that we've always wanted to try, but something always got in the way? Was it kickboxing, learning a language, origami or writing a song? It is surprising, how those little things that make us feel so passionate, can be turned into hobbies. The more we explore and find these different sides of us, the more it's almost like a safety net. Too often, people get everything from one source. But that's a dangerous way to live. If we get all our sense of self, belonging, love, accomplishment from one place or person than of course the absence of it can drain all your self-love. If we aim to create a stable internal platform, then the bad days don't have to be so tumultuous.

I hope this little guide will help you navigate the waters of self-love. I want to leave you with this beautiful poem:

My darling,

You are only human,

And you are allowed to make mistakes.

You are allowed to fall apart sometimes.

You are allowed to hurt and feel pain too much.

You are allowed to ache and get jealous.

Be easy on yourself, and let yourself grow.

Let yourself learn.

Let yourself be.

You are only human,

And you are allowed to make mistakes.

- Nikita Gill

 
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