For most of my life, I lived in a state where all the love and happiness I received depended on other people. Eventually, it came to a point where I couldn’t keep living that way. I realized that people will always come and go and when this happens, all I’m left with is myself. But at the time, the state I was in made it feel like I was left with nothing. So I decided that I wanted to be left with something and the only way to do that was to learn to love myself.
I didn’t understand how to even go about trying to love myself for a long time. It’s so much easier to love and be loved by other people. The act of loving is an incredibly vulnerable thing. When I care a lot about someone, there is always a fear that one day that person will go away. There is so much insecurity that comes with being completely open and intimate with a person. But love is about acceptance, and that is why self-love is so difficult.
There is no one I can be more intimate with than myself. There is no body, no mind, and no spirit I know better than my own. At the beginning of my journey of self-love I knew that I had to take a really hard look at myself. There was no hiding. I had to put myself out there: flaws, strengths, everything. That is when I learned to be aware of everything I did. I began to feel when I did something for attention or when I started feeling jealous for the wrong reasons. I could also recognize when I felt determined or when I felt at peace. Self-loving became self-discovery.
I found the freedom to be myself by living in that vulnerable place where there is both everything to lose and everything to gain. It’s a state where anything is possible. I’m still living in that place and as long as I keep on loving myself, I always will. Remember, self-love is a journey not a destination.
Lately I’ve been watching a lot of videos from The What’s Underneath Project started by Stylelikeu, and every individual interviewed completely encompasses that feeling of freedom within vulnerability. What could be more vulnerable than being asked the most personal questions about one’s life while talking in front of a camera with no clothes on? There is an amazing amount of self-acceptance that one needs to have before doing something like that, but I can imagine that the experience would be liberating. Those videos are what inspired me to write this jumble of words.
In my own experience, when I really examined myself and I was able to see everything that I was, I started to actually love life for the first time. Through that, I began to become my own person. I realized that there is no me but me. It’s a waste of time trying to be someone else because the only person you can ever genuinely be is yourself. That seems like a really simple concept, but it’s one that is too often forgotten.
We live in a society where everyone is so focused on fitting in and a lot of the time that means that our differences aren’t celebrated. Society is like a factory, creating everyone the same. Being in high school, I see where this conformism starts. Cliques are not just in movies. There are popular kids and people want to fit in with them. All these so-called popular kids are exactly the same. They act the same, they dress the same, and they’re all “cool”. Everyone wants to be “cool”. Yet being a cool kid nowadays is a complete waste of time since all it means is going to parties, hooking up, and getting caught up in all that nonsense teenage drama shit.
There is a point where fitting in becomes the loss of identity. People often don’t have the confidence to stand out and be different because frankly, it’s sort of terrifying. Loving myself allowed me to be okay with being my own person. Yes, I want to be “cool” too, but I don’t want to be their version of “cool”. I want to be my own version of “cool” and even if that means it’s someone else’s version of “weird”, it doesn’t matter because I’m being real and I’m being me.
Being me means dressing like me. I made a decision at the beginning of this school year that I would only wear outfits that made me feel good. Clothes are not just objects placed on my body; it’s part of my whole identity. Yeah, my outfits are a little questionable sometimes but who gives a fuck if I have too many pairs of beige colored pants or if I match the print of my sweater with the print of my socks? I certainly don’t. In the words of Icona Pop, “I don’t care, I love it!”
I also began to express myself through my passions. I found my vision through photography and I found my voice through this blog. There is no doubt that I fear people’s judgment. I know that there’s a possibility that someone will read this post and think that I’m some judgmental bitch who’s just full of pretentious opinions and that I’m the one that thinks I’m so cool when really I’m not. But I’m kind of okay with that, as long as I remain true to myself. It’s vulnerable, it’s uncomfortable, but at the same time it’s freeing and beautiful.
Self-love is the hardest kind of love. It’s the easiest to lose touch with and the hardest to regain. It’s also the most important kind of love, because at the end of the day, all I have is myself and there is only one of me. I think of my body, my mind, and my spirit as my home. I don’t want to let my home fall into disrepair. So here is my advice to you whether you are on this journey of self-love or not: Take care of your home. Love your home. Take pride in your home. And most of all, live in it.