In a time when everyone puts their best and nothing less on social media, it’s so common to feel as if you don’t have enough, or worse, that you aren’t enough. After a wild ride this past year, I found out more about why self-love is important and how to start. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s actually a topic that should be talked about more often.
As a woman, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things well or not at all, to be more than my best self. I keep busy every hour of the day until I’m in bed. The quiet times are when it sneaks in. “If you were good enough, you’d be doing x, y, and z.” The comparisons and doubt are detrimental, and no. Nobody told me those things. It was my own mind which was the scary part. After a chained series of events that pulled me into the darkest pool of self-loathe, enough was enough. Honestly, it had to be because nobody else was going to pull me out unless I, myself, want out. Someone told me once upon a time that you can’t give your best if you aren’t your best. Something important to note is that we all have a purpose. I believe it’s to help everyone overcome the darkness and glorify God through whatever it is we end up doing while we’re here. Though we will never know how to carry it out exactly, it’s worth putting your best self forward to find out.
Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about this harmful state of mind that can be helpful for you or someone you love to know: It’s an unending feeling of defeat and exhaustion. It’s the mentality of trying to do so much more than what you realistically can and beating yourself up for all of the things you “could have done better”. To help someone in this state, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that they might just need someone to listen. That’s all. Listen, and don’t try to fix or offer solutions. Most people in this state can work it out themselves, but there’s so much happening in their heads that they just need someone to unload it on to. Unless they ask for thoughts, don’t offer until after they’ve finished all they needed to say.
Now if you’re in this situation, here’s what’s worked for me:
- Writing & Journaling: Words allow you to release your emotions and thoughts in a way that makes sense. If you aren’t a writer, doodle! There’s so much that you can make sense of once you’ve put everything down on paper. I don’t know if it’s a sense of finalization or closure after you’ve thrown your cluttered thoughts onto a piece of paper, but there’s a feeling of order that follows the mess.
- Surrounding Yourself with a Community: This ideally means a community that uplifts and empowers. This is a mixture of people who know your heart and others you may have just met, the old and the new. Talk to them. Think of it like getting into the habit of doing something and then finding a new way to do it after looking at it with a fresh set of eyes. Feels good, huh?
- Getting Back into a Long-Forgotten Hobby: It was something you were passionate about and made you happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re out of practice at whatever your hobby was, try again. For me, it was dance. I recently took a beginner’s dance class after 6 years of not being in a studio. Man, I sucked, but it felt really really good. Maybe you’ll see some dance videos on Strut with Susan’s Instagram in a couple of months, hah!
- Saying “Yes”: A year ago, I would have said no to a dance class and come up with a thousand and one reasons why I couldn’t make a class. I would have said no to working backstage at some fashion shows for fear of messing up. I said no to a lot of things, and closed myself off from so many opportunities. Saying no limits yourself. Get out of your comfort zone, and find the beauty of fearlessness in yourself after trying something new for the first time. It won’t be a regret as long as you use your best judgment, of course!
- Changing Up the Scenery: This last suggestion gives you a new perspective. As humans, we’ll inevitably get caught up in our habits and go where we discovered we like to go since the first trip 5 years back, hah! Going somewhere new places you back into that exhilarating state of not knowing what to expect. You’re probably going to be hyper-aware of everything around you, and that’s ok. Soak it in. Something can only be new once, but it’s up to you to find the little hidden treasures. I’ve found myself a little more confident after every new experience.
These are 5 ways I’ve started this little process of self-love. To keep it going, I have my occasional wine & facemask night, or even treating myself to a whole pizza. Maybe I’ll go rock-climbing (…actually unlikely because I’m terrified of heights and there’s no fixing that, hah!). The options are endless! I do believe the true heart of the matter is reminding yourself who you are – a child of God and that everything works out according to plan. But…. do what works for you, but always remember that you are important, too.
If there are any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Or if you ever need to talk, just drop a message in my Instagram DM or contact page in the section at the top!