The more I learn to love myself, the more I truly grasp what it means.
I used to think that loving who I am meant that I had to be perfect. I used to think that loving who I am was tied to who and how many people loved me.
I used to think that loving what I look like is defined by others’ opinions of me. I used to think that loving what I looked like had to be what the world thought was worthy of being beautiful.
I used to think that loving Sharee was based on outward things.
I have learned that loving me is based on one thing. That the One who created me, loves me.
God loves me when I’m right; when I make mistakes; when I’m headstrong; when I’m sad; when I’m full of joy; when I’m looking “rough”; when I fall short; when I do everything right; when I assume; when I do good; when I listen to His guidance; when I don’t do anything right. The Creator of the universe loves me no matter what, and so should I.
Another thing that I have learned about self-love is that it is influenced by our environment, the people we hang around, the movies and films we watch, the celebrities we love to follow, the books we read, the things we believe.
One day, I was feeling insignificant, like people in my city were “sleeping” on me – my heart, my work, and my abilities. I heard God tell me, “If anyone is sleeping on you, it’s because they aren’t looking at you through my eyes and don’t see you the way I see you.”
This changed everything. No one has to acknowledge who I am, the work I do, nor what I have to offer to the world because God sees it!
We often experience who we are and define ourselves based on our surroundings.
This has helped me to see that loving myself requires me to let go of anything and anyone who gets in the way of me recognizing the best in me.
Loving myself is more than accepting who I am. It is protecting me. It is respecting me. It is choosing peace. It is inviting everything that uplifts me and blocking everything that devalues, assaults, belittles and condemns me.
Loving myself is choosing to see my beauty, even when I don’t look the way I want to. It is realizing that it is my spirit and soul within that makes me beautiful.
Loving myself is allowing myself to see the places I still have to work on, to grow, and become all I am designed to be.
I have also learned that it is impossible for me to practice self-love if I am not self-aware. If I’m not in tune with my feelings, don’t know who I am on the inside, don’t know why I do what I do, have no idea what my wounds and dark places are, or can’t determine what it is that I truly desire, then how can I get to know and love the real me?
Self-love begins with being self-aware. It starts with self-exploration and discovery. Then from there, you do the work to accept who you are, while looking forward to and doing the work of becoming who you hope to be (in action, not just perception).
So this thing called self-love is work. It requires tears made of sorrow and joy. It requires open wounds made whole. It requires looking back to see how the past effects the present, but focusing on the now and moving forward. It requires the knowledge that God created you just the way He wanted you to be. It requires taking care of yourself the way you expect God to take care of you.
Self-love is the foundation of being bold, courageous, great and free. Self-love is everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. I am thankful to God for self-love, that God first loved me.
How have you learned to love yourself? What holds you back from loving yourself more?
Be loved. Love you. Be love.
*Photo Credit: CreateHER Stock