Throughout the past month, I have spent a lot of time learning about myself and learning to love myself. It is definitely a journey, one that I am still on, but I have seen so many changes in my heart and mind. Throughout this process, I have found things that have worked for me, and I have found things that did not quite cut it. I want to share some of the things that helped me to love myself more in hopes that y’all will start the journey of loving yourselves more too.
Healthy living – changing what I eat, drinking more water, working out, and prioritizing sleep has definitely made a noticable impact on my life. I feel more energized, I have seen some physical changes, but, most importantly, I have gained a confidence and a sense of pride in myself that was not there before.
Do what YOU enjoy – this one took a lot of reflection for me. As some of y’all can attest, I have read many books over the past month. Throughout this month, a theme of “pruning” has come up in many of my books, as well as, in some of my pastor’s sermons. The idea is that even good things can take up time, effort, and joy that we can place in something more fruitful. For me, this meant cutting out things that I did not enjoy, that I was not doing for myself. This has really made a difference in how I view myself. At first, it was difficult to cut out different activities or say no to different opportunities. I felt that I was becoming a quitter – and my daddy did not raise a quitter. What I soon learned was that by pruning my life, by saying no to an opportunity, I was able to say YES to so many other things – sisterhood, serving in ministry, family, etc. By saying no, I have been able to say yes to becoming the best version of myself – a version that I have come to love so much.
Change your perspective – there are a couple of ways that I have learned to change my perspective throughout this last month. One way is how I choose to view my goals. Rather than beating myself up by focusing on how far I have to go, I have learned to focus on how far I have come. When I think of how far I have come and take time to celebrate little accomplishments in my life, I create a sense of pride in myself and my abilities.
Keep moving forward – this is a practice that I love, but it can be very difficult to do (and I definitely struggle with it)! For every bad thing you think about yourself, strive to give yourself two compliments. If you take one step back, take two steps forward and you will always keep moving forward. It is easy to be negative and to beat yourself up. It is harder to be positive and to build yourself up, but that is a choice that you have the ability to make. You can move backward, or you can keeping moving forward. I promise, that if you choose to keep moving forward, you will learn to love yourself more.
Allow yourself to have emotions and to even talk about them – ground breaking, I know. But, when we allow ourselves to talk about our emotions, we acknowledge that we are messy humans with feelings and problems, and we are not alone. Sometimes you have to break down those walls of emotion in order to move forward in loving yourself – I know I did.
Stop apologizing – for being yourself, for making mistakes, for doing what is best for you, and so much more. Live the life you were meant to live. Your life is not yours if you constantly worry about what others think – and you will not be able to love yourself fully if you care what others do not love about you. So stop apologizing and live your best life being unapologetically you.
Stop comparing yourself to others – turn off social media notifications and limit the time you spend on it. When we compare ourselves to others, we forget that they are always human. They have flaws, they have bad days, they may even feel unloved, but that is not always what we see on social media. So, stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, spend your time loving yourself and loving others.
Vision board – this is what I loved most about the past month. I created a vision board, and I filled it with things I love. I spent time reflecting on myself – what I love, what I enjoy, things I struggle with, things I hold dear, and more. I wanted to create something to look at daily, something that would remind me of who I am at my core and who I am striving to be. It reminds me that in order to love myself, I have to constantly be true to who I am, and that I should not settle for anything less.
Read the Bible – in order to fully love yourself, you must first love Jesus and understand just how much He loves you. God is madly in love with each and every one of you – even before you love yourself.
This day, this week, this month, this year, I pray that each of you has an encounter with Jesus's love that changes your life forever. Whether you have known and loved Jesus your whole life or you are coming to know and love Him for the first time - I pray that He change your heart towards yourself, that He shows you the plans He has for you, and that He continue to hold you in His hand and that you know He will never let you go. There is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the full, whole-hearted, never failing love of God. And there is nothing that can make Him love you more.