The Simplest Ways to Love Yourself
I fucking love my self.
*Hailee Steinfeld instrumental plays in the background.
As someone who has faced so much spitefulness about how disadvantaged I felt like I was…
- having been raised poor.
- not having the ‘ideal’ body.
- not having the right friends.
- being too young to do anything.
- going through trauma.
I chose not to be the victim anymore. I needed all of those things to happen, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. They do not define me. They were simply just more details to the bigger picture.
It was easier to struggle in my little box, confining myself to the small suburban house we moved to early on in our immigrant Canadian lives, because I didn’t really have much to compare things to…. Until I got older and started comparing myself to everyone and everything. Or maybe my innocence ran dry through the trauma.
It hadn’t yet occurred to me how much our problems intensify based upon our perception of them, until I started to look inwards for the love instead of my emotionally reserved Filipino father, or the boys in my youth who would reject me (even as a friend) because of my appearance. These little glimpses of daily life have added up and manifested themselves into new traumas I still face all these years later. It was the kids that would act differently when I was around, or show so much more respect for what another (more ‘approachable’) girl would have to say, or speaking aloud to deaf ears, not feeling heard or acknowledged. These small things have turned into the conditioning that has made it difficult for me to speak to certain types of men, or get triggered on social media by friends that remind me of those girls in elementary, or desire the male attention I lacked growing up. It is all connected.
I’ve learned that the greatest teachings one can ever invest their time into is their mind. Don’t hope to kill your ego, hope to understand it. Make peace and surrender with every facet of who you are. By denying it, with the intention of being a better person, is only repressing the voice that wasn’t able to speak before. Denying your ego is replaying the same narrative all over again.
I can attest that this deep self-love has been the makings of constant work and practise. Always questioning things as they come up. Allowing myself to feel. And falling in love with the process of getting to know myself. Here are the main facets that have helped me to uncover this world.
1. Educate yourself.
I have always had a deep interest in learning how the brain works. The psychology of it all. Like the fact that someone is an obsessive perfectionist because they were pressured by parents to perform a certain way or the fact that certain people are very resistant to love because they are scared of being hurt in the same way someone else has to them. Shit like that. There’s always a reason why. Always. So reading self-help books to feed my inner psychologist, to better understand from a logical perspective, why I do and feel things has been paramount to my inner learning and healing. Book list to come, but to start The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is amazing.
2. Surround yourself with good people.
You become the people you surround yourself with the most. Do you want to become judgemental, self-loathing, narcissistic, or pessimistic? Do your friends genuinely make you feel good about yourself or add value into your life? If they don’t, just know, you are not obligated to give them your time. Especially if you guys call each other the bestest of friends because you’ve known them since grade school. It’s good to note that you don’t necessarily need to cut them out completely. Just allocate more of your time to either yourself, or towards people who help you move forward. If you’re looking to make new friends, get a new job or attend events that align with your interests.
3. Find a self-love practise. Meditate. Do acid.
Haha, I’m totally kidding… you don’t have to meditate.
You are a lot more productive when you accomplish your own tasks first thing in the day. Mindfully practising techniques that help you stay present or exercising a skill that induces flow state can incur a deeper sense of productivity and fulfillment beyond whatever else in the day awaits you. This morning routine blew my mind. You can definitely mix and match certain aspects of it to best suit your life though.
My day starts like this:
- Wake up. Make sure I do NOT check my phone. Take some breathes and try to stay present despite whatever mood my mind has decided to attach to as soon as I’ve woken up.
- Then I go take a shit and wash up.
- I’ll tend to my children (the plants). Check which fellas need water, do some trimming, and mist all of them with love and water.
- I’ll meditate for 10-15 minutes. Which I would highly recommend for self-mastery. Meditation is bringing yourself into a place of focus and accepting surrender.
- And sometimes, if I feel called to, I’ll journal.
- I would suggest reading a chapter of a book here, but I’ve trimmed that away from my routine since I read during my commute everyday.
- For days where I have more time and want to integrate more movement, I’ll do some stretches/yoga or dance to any song that makes me forget anything exists.
The purpose behind all of these methods of ‘self-love’ is to look inwardly for your own validation, respect and love. It’s like playing the piano, but much funner, because it’s you. You don’t need a piano to practise, you have yourself always. These constant practises and methods have helped me:
- Unlearn a lot of conditionings that would trigger me in so many ways throughout my daily life.
- It has allowed me to become more empathetic and compassionate to others, by dispelling judgement and coming from a place love. Especially when it comes to offering words of advice. It feels good knowing that you can genuinely help someone else gain more perspective as they go through their own shit. But you cannot give of an empty cup. Being generous starts with providing for yourself first.
- It has allowed me to understand how important it is to focus on yourself despite how easy it is to compare yourself to others. How are you supposed to run your race if you’re too fixated on the people around you. Go at your own speed. Do it for you.
Being the master of your thoughts and emotions is completely possible once you realize your true nature. You are simply the observer through it all. Once you realize this, and learn not to replay the narrative of your parents, and probably your parents parents, you can break the cycle, be your own person and live your optimal life. Learn not to be so hard on yourself, because you are meant to make mistakes. Loving yourself is a lot simpler than you’d think.