As a kid, I learned to admire the beautiful and famous celebrities who gracefully presented themselves on the red carpet. I realized at a young age that there was a link between being beautiful and being loved.
When I watched TV or viewed magazines, it was clear that everything was either based on looks or popularity. Growing up with this shallow mentality did not escalate well in my teenage years. I started putting boys on a pedestal based on their physical attributes rather than character. I developed feelings for all the wrong people and let it affect the way I viewed myself. My self-esteem was at an all time low, constantly feening for attention and validation from others. What I really should have been doing was building myself up and giving myself the type of nourishment and care I so deeply longed for.
When I first heard of self-love, I cringed. It was a corny phrase I would roll my eyes at. The phrase made its way onto magazines, songs, and posters. What is self-love? All my life I tried so hard to please others rather than please myself. Impressing others was all that I knew how to do, and every time I failed at it, I blamed myself. Self-love made me frustrated every time I heard it, which had me thinking: Why does the idea of loving myself make me feel so uncomfortable? I knew deep inside that something was not right. For years, I abandoned myself, constantly ignoring my inner voice. I never paid attention to my interests or quirks but instead followed whatever was trending. I followed the crowd like a sheep, and it never once felt right.
I spent all my youth crying, wishing I was more beautiful or wishing boys would love me. My inner self felt shame from within for putting my energy into shallow things. Shallow things that could never fill in the actual void I felt deep inside. It all perpetuated a toxic cycle of shame, insecurity, and unworthiness. I latched onto guys I thought were better than me, a type of trophy I could show off and brag about. It was all an attempt to feel better about myself, really. It took me years and countless amounts of breakdowns and months of therapy to realize I was not meant to follow the crowd. I am my own unique individual, warts and all.
Realizing this was the first step to self-love. I stopped caring about gossip or superficial aspects of life. I embraced all my quirks and all the oddities that made me, me. I cared less and less about what my image was or what the crowd was following. I started to listen to my heart. For the first time ever, I let my inner magic speak to me. I listened to my soul and heard its whimpering cries from being abandoned for so long.
All sorts of emotions overpowered me at that moment, but it felt right. So I ran with it. I figured out what it is in life I really wanted to conquer, I put myself first, and I did not listen to others or what was trending on social media. I listened to me.
This was the turning point. This was when I knew I just unlocked my inner self and won. Even though I was left heartbroken time and time again from the past, I somehow felt invincible. I was going to be unstoppable from this point forward, and that realization is what I like to call self-love.