To Love Myself Was, Perhaps, the Greatest and Hardest Lesson I Ever Had to Learn

Sad girl embraces her knees and cries because of body shaming. Concept of inferiority complex, bulling and public condemnation

I had to be torn apart to put myself back together again.

I had to be naïve to become wise.

I had to be weakened by bullying for several years before I could finally realize my own strength.

I had to be cheapened by others before realizing my worth.

I had to feel hate from others before I could finally love myself, all parts of myself.

When I was young, although I was a beautiful girl to look upon, I didn’t think I was so beautiful. Because I’d been bullied for so long, I thought I was worthless. And why not? I’d had that brutal narrative drummed into my heard by my classmates and a few others.

They wanted me to hate myself as much as they hated me.

Every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. I would jokingly put myself down to keep from seeming arrogant because I’d been brainwashed with that narrative too- “to like or love yourself was arrogance.”

Many of my bullies would accuse me of being just that, arrogant. They called me stuck-up, full of myself, snooty, snob, or crazy and those names were quite tame compared to the other names I was called. Some of them referred to me as “Miss Prissy,” “Empress,” and other sarcastic names and they seemed to come anytime I smiled or showed even a sliver of confidence.

‘You see? When you’re constantly being told that you’re this way or that, and by so many people, you begin to believe it too. And one of the hardest things to do is to change that mindset once it’s instilled in you, especially after you reach young adulthood.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Self-depreciation is so unhealthy because it often determines your outcomes in life. It also breeds laziness and failure. Any success I did have wasn’t enough to satisfy me and I would shun it, thinking that I should be doing more and being better.

I internally belittled myself not only because I feared looking arrogant, but also because I didn’t think I was good enough. When someone would compliment me, instead of accepting the compliment and thanking the person for it, I’d say something like, “well, I could’ve done better.” I would always belittle my successes when I should have been celebrating them.

I have noticed that we may compliment friends and family on how beautiful, smart, or how talented they are, and we advise them never to put themselves down, yet we find it so hard to extend the same love and support to ourselves.

There were times I’d say things to myself I would never have said to another person, much less my friends and family. It’s sad when we find it so difficult to love ourselves as we would others.

Since those days, I’ve learned that the best kind of love is the love you give yourself because, without self-love, you won’t be able to love others properly and healthfully. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I finally decided that I was going to love myself no matter how others felt about me. But it didn’t happen overnight.

This was the beginning a long journey. I was taking on an exceedingly difficult task, which was reprogramming my mindset. I had to purge all the negative stuff I’d been told for so many years and that wasn’t easy by any stretch. It would take reversing and undoing many years of abusive programming. And it was going to require a lot of grunt work.

When I rose to this challenge, there were times people fought against me because they did not like and were threatened by the positive changes that I was implementing for myself. There were times when my own mind fought against me. But I stuck with it because that tiny spark within me always told me that I deserved better.

I continued to vomit out the garbage I’d been made to believe about myself- to cleanse myself of the negative thoughts and self-beliefs that had only kept me shackled.

It was a long fight, but I must tell you that it was worth it! Today, I’m happy, confident, and comfortable in my own skin, which means I’m free! My intention is for you to be free too!

Here’s what works:

1.Celebrate your successes even if you don’t feel up to it.

2. Make a list of your positive qualities.

3. Make positive affirmations.

4. Reward yourself.

5. Talk kindly to yourself.

6. Catch every negative thought and replace it with a positive thought.

7. Do things you enjoy most.

8. Stay away from toxic people if at all possible.

9. Surround yourself with positive people.

10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet standards that are unattainable.

11. Place no value on the opinions of people who aren’t worthy of your time and energy.

12. BE YOURSELF!

If you practice these twelve things every day, I promise you that you will see change in your overall outlook. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen fast. But it will all be worth it in the end. I guarantee it!