Finding self love is said to be the key to almost everything, and to be fair, that’s not necessarily wrong! Especially if you’re healing from trauma, or struggle with mental health, self love is key.
However it’s not always as rosy and easy as people make it seem. Here’s 5 things that no one tells you about a journey to loving yourself:
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1. Learning self love is hard
Learning self love is hard. Seriously hard. While there are many fantastic tools to improve it, being easy in theory does not mean easy in practice.
For example, affirmations. Super simple concept. However, at the start of your self love journey, figuring out how to use them and make them work for you, is hard! A key part of my journey has been finding self love workbooks that make me flex that muscle. If you’re not ready to go that in depth in journaling, (scary at the start) try just picking up a simple journal to start with.
2. It’s uncomfortable!
Not enough people talk about this, learning to love yourself is seriously uncomfortable! If you’ve struggled with negative thoughts from trauma or mental illness, loving yourself can feel like a completely foreign concept.
Self love can challenge you, and can cause you to question all of your beliefs. Self doubt and negativity can come from defence mechanisms or self destructive behaviours, which is really hard to challenge.
Changing that pattern to begin with will feel incredibly uncomfortable. That is completely normal and it’s ok! The more you push through it, the easier it will get, but be prepared for it not feeling right at the start.
3. Self love takes time and work
So you’ve decided you want to work on your self love so that should be it right? Well… Not quite. People make it sounds like it’s a simple mindset shift, but it takes work.
It’s something you need to work at everyday, constantly until it becomes second nature and that can take a while! Don’t expect it to fall into place overnight, be patient with yourself.
4. It can only come from you
Self love can only truly come from yourself.
In the beginning of finding self love it’s completely normal to rely on other people or things to help build that. However, relying on other things can only be a prop until you learn to fulfil that yourself.
Let whatever holds you up, hold you up, only until you can do it yourself. Remember that validation, or reflections of self love will only stick if they are yours.
5. You have to discover what’s holding you back
If you recognise that you need to improve your self love, there’s likely something causing it to not be there in the first place.
Lack of self love can come from a whole host of things like mental illness, trauma, or low self worth. The best, but hardest way to find self love, is to explore why it’s not there.
Finding that cause requires some serious self introspection, and possibly some professional help. Don’t take needing that help as a sign of weakness, remember that they’re professionals for a reason!
What does all of that mean?
Why am I crushing your optimism and journey for self betterment with a collection of woes?
These are all things I wish someone had told me. People told me I needed to improve my self love to improve my life, and I struggled.
I had all the tools I needed, but no one warned me how hard, uncomfortable and awkward it would be, and how long it would take. Hell, I’m still not all the way there!
Honestly, it sucked and I gave up many times. Challenging what may be your entire belief system is so hard. It calls everything into question, and that’s a big thing to face!
But something else no one told me was how rewarding and fulfilling it would be!
When you start coming up against any of the points I mentioned here, you might feel discouraged. Don’t let it get you too far down, it’s normal to be a struggle at first. If it was such a simple thing to accomplish, there wouldn’t need to be so many resources out there on how to achieve it!
Struggling doesn’t mean you’re broken, discomfort always comes before growth. Push through the struggle and the pushback you’ll feel, it’s worth it. As hard as it is, I can promise you it’s worth it.
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