So many women secretly go through their lives believing there’s something wrong with them. I was one of those women: I thought I was different, whatever that meant. I assumed something must have happened in my past that kept me from believing in myself, and others, and that I was never good enough.
What I didn't know was that these thoughts were not grounded in reality. These were things I told myself, and that I felt to be true in my heart. The unhappiness I felt, simply by being me, was something that my mind had created.
The truth was: I didn't love myself. And I knew, to find happiness, that something had to change.
I know self-love has been spoken about so many times. I think we really have to ask ourselves why self love is so important for us to work on, though. And why do we feel the need to compare ourselves to others in the first place? Why do we want the things we don't have and are upset when we can't get them? Why do we so often think, Why me?
I used to ask myself these types of questions, constantly. I wasn't sure if I even wanted answers then. Instead, I expected something external to change. When everything around me is perfect, then I would be happy, I thought.
But even as my external circumstances started to flourish—my studies, my career, my friendships, family, my romantic relationship, and having the opportunity to travel the world and share my passions and message—still, I realized I was unhappy.
What is missing in my life? I asked myself. Why don't I feel like I'm reaching my goals?
As I thought this, I stopped and told myself this unhappiness existed within me. That day, I took the first step to change my life and decided to consciously practice self love myself from that day on. I reached for a pen and wrote down the five ways I planned to do that:
1. Prioritize self-care.
Nourish yourself. Commit to healthy activities such as balanced nutrition, exercise, getting adequate sleep, play, and social interactions. When you show yourself love through these types of actions, you’ll continue to take better care of your basic needs. Don't forget to do the things you love and to make time to do nothing at all. This sets the foundation for growth and living an authentic life.
2. Forgive yourself.
Every one of us makes mistakes: in relationships, finances, personal decisions, and so on. Mistakes can be costly reminders to think before we act, but they are also encompassed by greater lessons. A major deterrent to self-love is holding onto regrets or shame about these mistakes from the past.
We need to remind ourselves that nobody is perfect. Finding a way to forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made while committing to improving your behavior or living more closely to your values will help increase self love.
3. Set long-term goals.
Loving yourself is a process that you have to work on everyday. Make concrete goals for how you can accomplish this. Develop long-term plans for going towards what might inspire you. It may be related to work, or something new you want to learn.
Every month, I set realistic goals by writing them down on paper and putting them on the top of my bed. Give yourself credit for being openminded about where you might be headed—and don't be afraid to try new things!
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
We’re all so beautiful and different. You’re you and there’s no one like you, truly. Anytime we think that we are 'less than' because others have things we do not have, or we think they are somehow 'better' than us, decreases self-love. When you start comparing yourself to others, try to remember that you don't know everyone's story. You can also use this exercise as an opportunity to learn yourself better.
For instance, if you're feeling envious of someone who is successful and making more money than you, remind yourself that you might not know how this individual got to where they are. They may have made sacrifices to work harder, and longer. So if you want to be successful like this person is, remind yourself that you have to put the work in to achieve a similar position.
5. Surround yourself with positive people.
My mother always told me that, 'You become the people you surround yourself with.' I didn't understand what she meant until I hit my 20s. When you're wading through a constant wave of negativity in your social circle, it's so much more difficult to be kind to yourself.
Ask yourself, are your friends open to treating themselves and others with love, compassion, respect, and dignity? If they're not, it might be time to look for friends who might be more understanding and who can inspire you to have a positive outlook on life.
We don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us, so get out there and do the things that light your fire! Every today, enjoy being you, and enjoy your incredible life.
Be your own Valentine all year long; love yourself, and take care of yourself like you would a loved one. As you discover total self-love and compassion for yourself, you'll begin to see all of the fun and amazing things that are coming your way. Happy Valentine's Day!
Deddeh wears our limited edition Rose Gold & Diamond Fragrance Necklace.