Even before I get to writing this, I have a feeling a few of you rolled your eyes at the title. I know, it sounds basic and boring. Everyday someone or the other writes about self-love; “how I learnt to love myself”, “how to love yourself”, “you should love yourself”, and on and on and on….
Today, I want to share something that is very important but personal to me. I just hope at least one of you feels less alone and more inspired after reading this.
I was a chubby little girl who had learnt, from a very young age, that she wasn’t pretty enough because she weighed too much. Growing up, that always stuck with me. I had a really bad relationship with myself. I always felt insecure about my body and my appearance, and this unfortunately started to affect other areas of my life. I was always shy, I could never stand up for myself, and was terrible at connecting with people. Instead of having control over my own life, I let my fears and insecurities dictate it. After spending years hating myself for every little thing and failing to even change what I thought I didn’t like about myself, a simple tweet I saw online completely changed how I treated myself.
“…stop speaking negatively about yourself or your life, even as a joke. Your spirit doesn’t know the difference.”
I have read all sorts of quotes and books about self-love and body positivity and none of those seemed to really make me want to change, but this one line made me look at things from a new perspective mainly because I started seeing my “spirit” or soul - whatever you want to call it – as another being. I’d never intentionally want to hurt someone or make them feel like they weren’t enough, and so when I started doing that for my “spirit” like in the tweet, I started to notice how much my reality shifted by working on myself internally.
Of course, changes don’t happen overnight and I had days where I did not like myself at all. But what changed was that I stopped being so hard on myself for not being able to do certain tasks. I spoke gently to myself. Every time I looked into a mirror, I tried to point out what I loved about myself most, and slowly started to accept the things I didn’t like so much.
In the beginning of 2020, I decided to set some goals for myself, and one of them was to lose weight. This is a goal I have been setting every year, and I have failed every single time. This time, however, I already knew things would be different because I looked at my goals from a different perspective. I didn’t want to lose weight because I hated the way it looked. I wanted to change my body so that I can live a healthy and happy life. Now, when I work out, I focus on how I feel before and after rather than worrying about what I will look like and what results will I attain.
Fast forward to today, I don’t have my “goal body” yet, but I can confidently say that I do love myself for lots of other reasons. I haven’t lost that much weight yet, but I’m definitely losing all of the hate and doubt I had for myself. I am writing this not only as a reminder for myself, but also for everyone who reads this. Be kind to yourself, you are the one person who has been there for yourself through all the ups and downs in life, through every moment, beautiful or ugly. Self-love isn’t just about loving the way you look, or loving what you can do. It’s a lifelong journey of choosing to be kind, loving and understanding towards yourself despite all the challenges thrown at you throughout your life.