Last year I took a 10 month break from social media and it was probably one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. It stopped being fulfilling for me and whenever I closed the apps, I felt less than and frankly unworthy. I realize that I can’t place the blame on Instagram for making me feel this way, it was something that I had to work through for myself, and that’s exactly what I did. I spent 10 months, roughly 300 days, on a journey to self: self-love, self-care and self-control.
I spent a lot of time figuring out the things that make me feel the most alive or the most like myself and focused on living out those things. My journey included learning how to love myself better and to be “okay” with who God created me to be. I have spent many years crippled by anxiety and I’ve spent more time than I would like to admit second guessing myself or overthinking every little thing. This “journey of self,” as I call it, has taught me how to accept the pieces of me that don’t fit so perfectly and to not hide away from the parts of me that some might not deem worthy.
Whether today’s just another day for you or you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with six dozen roses and a box of chocolates, I’m sharing my 3 tips that I’ve carried with me on my path to truly loving myself because self-love is the best love.
1. Stop Apologizing for Who You Are
I am a very loud, in your face, and obnoxious person. I can admit that and I know my closest friends love me for it. Sometimes I am 100% put together and other times I can’t remember the last time that I showered. I take pride in being someone that my friends know they can depend on for a shoulder to cry on, a good time, or someone to laugh at (yup, laughing at). I know there are pieces of me that are confusing to others (like the fact that I carry my own organic soap with me because I don’t want to wash my hands with soaps that have triclosan, but I get lash extensions every 3 weeks, ha). I am who I am and I’ve grown to love who I am by not apologizing for being that person fully.
The bible says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. Created in God’s image. Stop apologizing for being that person. Friend groups change, people outgrow other people, but you’ll always have you and you need to be the truest version of that person every single day. Don’t hide away from the parts of you that don’t seem to have a place in this world. Tap in to them and be unapologetically and uniquely you.
2. Stand Up For Yourself
I’m not sure why this is so hard for women to do, but if someone is making you feel less than, uncomfortable, or is just being a straight up pain in the ass, stand up for yourself. You deserve respect at work, in your friend group, at home, everywhere. One thing that I promised myself last year was that I wasn’t going to be someone who suffered through even if it’s more convenient for someone else. Whether it’s as small as telling a Lyft driver I’d rather ride in silence than partake in mindless banter or leaving situations and friend groups that make me feel uncomfortable, I’m never afraid to stand up and defend my peace of mind. This can be really intimidating and seemingly impossible at first, but the truth is that we overthink things 100x more than the other person.
Earlier this year, one of my close friends (unintentionally) hurt my feelings. I knew I had to say something or else the passive aggressiveness would have taken over and probably put a dent the friendship over something so small. I spent a lot of time drafting out the reasons I was hurt and even ran it past a second set of eyes before I sent the dreaded “you hurt my feelings and I’m upset” text message. But the truth is, she did and I have every right to defend my emotions and hash things out. I was overthinking it, she saw how that could have hurt my feelings and instantly apologized. I’m never afraid to do a little heart check to make sure I’m in the right place and then stand up for myself when someone has been inconsiderate or hurt my feelings.
Unsolicited advice: This is a two way street, so you also have to be willing to listen when someone stands up for themselves to you.
3. Saturate Yourself in Scripture
We cannot know love if we are not walking in step with the One who is love. I’m sharing a few of my favorite scriptures that speak to my heart on how undeniably beautiful I am in the eyes of God because let’s be honest, this world makes it really hard to feel loved. When everyone is photoshopping and enhancing instead of embracing, it can make you look in the mirror and wonder, why aren’t I enough? Sis, you are and there’s scripture that proves it.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7
The bible says you are loved, beautiful, enough, and God’s handiwork. His very best. Walk in that truth.
Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to censor what you allow to influence your day. I have unfollowed so many accounts on Insta because I can only look at so many fitness models gorging on donuts and still losing weight before I pull my hair out. I like to follow real and authentic accounts that encourage open conversations about how divinely different we all are and celebrate those differences.
I’m wishing you the happiest Valentine’s Day and praying that you feel overwhelmingly loved by God and loved by you.