One thing nearly everyone struggles with is proper self-love, or rather, actually loving ourselves the way we say we do or the way we want to. It can be love of character or love of body, but as they are both crucial parts of us, one often affects the other.
For example, like many ladies out there, I have often struggled with self-love physically. My reasons being, as is the case for far too many, that I have been the subject of abuse and assaults, and this creates a very specific hatred of the body. It becomes seen as something dirty, something wrong, something that makes you squirm and wish you could escape. It’s surprisingly similar to touching food in the sink when you’re washing the dishes, and you get that icky feeling. Often it leads to the mentality of “well nobody else cares about my body, so why should I?” which of course it not a healthy perspective, and is difficult to get out of.
Some time ago, I was in a really awful job situation. My best friend finally says to me, “Don’t focus on what you cannot control, focus on what you can control. You can control you, you can hit the gym and eat healthily and take baths and do face masks. Take advantage of your free time and treat yourself to some self-love.” I thought about that a lot since I had spent too many months thinking my body was kind of worthless and disgusting. And the more I thought about it, the more I started to think that maybe it was a good idea, maybe since nobody else cared about my body I could compensate by caring for it extra. Maybe I could use this idea of pampering and self-care as a way to learn to at least accept my body and all it’s gone through, maybe someday learning how to love it. I figured why not give it a shot?
I hit the gym a few times a week. I took baths a few times a week. I did face masks twice a week (more is not recommended). I started doing hair masks (I plan on donating my hair, so the healthier the better). I tracked my nutrition. And I started to feel amazing.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and I did this for about six months. Needless to say, I became hooked on self-pampering and fell in love with the results. I am in the best condition of my life, from top to bottom, and it’s had a dramatic effect on my self-confidence and my self-love. I found that the more I took care of my body, the more I began to like myself, both outside and inside. I don’t cringe when I look at the mirror because now instead of remembering the way others have treated me in the past, I instead see the effects of how I take care of myself: toned body, smooth skin, healthy hair. It makes me feel good, and those thoughts and emotions only get stronger as time goes on. And yes, it takes a little time and a little money and a little dedication, but it’s worth it tenfold.
Now let me make something clear: this is not pride. This is confidence. It’s being able to say that my body is strong enough to endure hiking for half the day in the rocky desert mountains because I go to the gym twice a week and stretch regularly. It’s being able to say I don’t have any need for makeup because my skin is in amazing condition. It’s being able to say yes, I can donate my hair in a year because it is strong and healthy. It’s the ability to reclaim yourself, and to be confident in who you are and to know that you are doing everything you can for yourself. Because in the end, nobody else can do that except for you. Please don’t let anyone shame you for the “extravagance” of self-pampering. The world sees it as prideful, vain, and unnecessary, but in reality, it’s a fantastic way to learn how to love yourself. After all, we only get one body, might as well learn to love it. And let’s face it, who isn’t automatically happier after a little pampering?
I realize everyone has different goals for their physical self. I happen to be able to cover every aspect fairly easily, but I mean pampering is pampering however it comes (Pinterest has all the options after all). The point is, don’t be afraid of indulging in beauty or your physical state of being because of what the world deems as “vanity” or “unnecessary.” People like to feel pretty, and everyone feels nice having their hair washed and clean or their skin fresh from a face mask, even things like pedicures have a surprising effect. I think joy is underappreciated, especially joy in self. Why not do something that makes you feel good now and benefits you in the long run? It literally doesn’t do any harm and gives you all the benefits.
Why are you still reading this? Go Google your skin type and start figuring out what is best for you!