According to google it means, “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.” Dictionary.com claims it to be, “the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare of well-being,” and Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that it is the, “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.”
They’re all correct and at the same time all wrong. What I mean by that is they defined what self-love is, but they haven’t defined it for me personally.
I believe self-love is the ability to accept your truths with an open heart, gratitude, and happiness.
I wasn’t planning on sharing this just yet, but self-love has been something I have been struggling with a lot these past couple of months. I’ve always been a pretty fit and tone girl. I am a former athlete who has remained pretty active and am moderately healthy. I also believe that I am beautiful (both inside and out), and yes, I love to get all dressed up, do my makeup and get my hair done as well. This past summer a few things changed.
Due to my recent health incident, it’s caused my body to change physically. While going through this I saw my face, arms, and legs swell up and I honestly did not recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. Not only did I look different, but I felt different too. My body felt so weak to the point where it was hard for me just to stand. All I did was lay on the couch and sleep for hours because my head would hurt too much to stay awake.
I would watch old videos of myself and look at old pictures and just be so envious of that girl. There she was going on adventures, living her life, having fun and looking so happy while I sat there feeling so empty and lifeless. I honestly hated myself. I hated the way that I looked, I hated the way that I felt, and I hated that I couldn’t do anything about it.
I had to accept my truth. My body went through some drastic things this past summer. It went through massive nose bleeds, medication that caused insomnia and mood swings, numerous trips to the emergency room, countless amounts of transfusions, blood draws, and treatments, and one of the biggest scares of my life. My truth is that my body fought and won. Yes, it looks completely different, but on the inside I’m still the same girl who loves and enjoys the life that she lives. I still have my moments where it’s hard for me to truly love myself, but that’s when I have to remind myself of my truth.
Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own truth. The thing is we must learn to accept it and love ourselves regardless. I still remember crying because I looked at the mirror and just saw a stranger looking back at me, but now I know she was no stranger. She was just a girl who needed love.
Remember, it starts with you. It doesn’t bother me (as much) anymore when people make a comment on my appearance because I know and have accepted my truth. I am a fighter and that is why I smile with pride and confidence. I hope that as we continue to discuss this topic of self-love that you will also be able to accept your truth and allow yourself to be loved.