The other day, my sister and I were talking on the phone and she sent me a photo of my niece (Evy – pronounced “eh-vee,” she’s 4) with a hair mask on and little towel twisted on top of her head. (…AKA, the cutest thing you’ve ever seen!). Kimberlee (my sister) then continued to tell me that Evy immediately asked to see the photo and when she looked at it, asked her mom if she thought her face looked funny. Kimberlee said her heart sank when Evy showed that glimmer of self-consciousness, and truth be told, mine sank when she told me that, too. I then asked Kimberlee if she speaks in a loving way about her own appearance when she’s with Evy. The conversation definitely had us both thinking about how we can make improvements when it comes to practicing self-love (especially about our appearance – especially when someone else is listening). I think it’s one component of love we don’t emphasize enough.
From my skin to my hair to my stretch marks (hello, teenage growth spurt!) – you name it, there’s something “negative” I could find or focus on. However, I am learning to practice self-love and appreciate these things that make me, well, me. And lemme tell ya, when you start to accept these “flaws” (…and not just “accept” but really embrace) and see them as beautiful pieces that make you unique, my goodness does a world of positivity, confidence and happiness start to reveal itself.
When I first started blogging and especially when I was in the super vulnerable state of limbo where my posts weren’t yet taken seriously (…or “liked” by anyone who wasn’t a friend or family member – shoutout to the friends/fam crew!), I made a point to practice self-love daily. I quickly realized it was a must to get through that phase of blogging! I remember I would start my day by looking in the mirror, making eye contact with myself and repeating, “you’re a rockstar! You’re going to own today!” And you know what? It actually worked! I kept my confidence up (…for the most part), I believed in myself, and most of all, I praised myself for doing the best I could, day in and day out. Simply acknowledging your accomplishments (however big or small they may be) is an important component to practicing self-love from the inside out.
So here I am, two years later and a tiny bit wiser with a tad more life experience under my belt (not a ton, but hey, enough to learn some stuff!), telling myself the exact same things. Though it continues to remain a constant struggle to fight those doubt-filled thoughts that creep into my mind, walking into 2017 I have been most mindful of continuing to be gentle on myself and loving who I am – inside and out. My hair will never look like celebrity hair (let’s just say “thick and luxurious” are not in my hair vocabulary, ha!), my skin wasn’t meant to have invisible pores, and those stretch marks on my butt are reminders that I am lucky enough to have made it to adulthood.
I am grateful for these differences and they are a part of me that I embrace and accept.
This is a mindset I will do my best to live by – though of course challenging to stay on this level of positivity, it really has made such a significant difference in my self-confidence and I will work hard to keep it up.
So, as we make our way into Valentine’s Day, I say we celebrate the notion of love with some self-appreciation and kindness. Whether that means we take a second in the morning to look in the mirror and say “damn girl! You look good!” (…and maybe turn on Beyoncé while doing so?) or by treating yourself to a latte “just because” is your call – but I think it’s time we stopped devaluing ourselves and instead, start building ourselves up.
What do you do to practice self-love? I’d love to know! Feel free to leave a comment below – I’ll be compiling a list of my own for next weeks Weekly Chat and would love include some of your comments!
**Image via Tumblr