What Babies Can Teach Us About Self-Love and Confidence

Babies are so adorable! They have that charm and innocence that no other age group has. They don’t worry about what others think of them and they never try to impress others. They’re sweet, pure, completely authentic, and have hearts of gold.

Babies have not a care in the world what people think of them. They have no inhibitions whatsoever. They’re not afraid to cry and express their wants and needs. You can see it in the way little toddlers shamelessly coo, laugh, babble, skip, run, and dance in front of anyone. These little sweeties are fearless. They’re not afraid to show their emotions, express their thoughts, show their creativity.

Their precious little souls are completely open. They give, share, and receive love with an open and grateful heart. They love being loved and doted on and will receive it with a soft coo or laugh.

Everything starts with self-love and babies are a perfect example of it.

Sadly, as time passes and these babies get older, they slowly and incrementally become tainted by the ways of people and the world. Many are raised in toxic environments and by parents who are critical and abusive to them. So, they build a protective wall around themselves to try and keep the contamination out. Because their feelings get discounted, ridiculed, even punished by family members and others, they learn to mask those feelings. They collect emotional baggage as they become preschoolers, school-aged kids, then teenagers, and finally, adults.

Many are also raised by drug-addicted, mentally ill, and neglectful adults and they build walls to protect themselves from that as well. Many must learn to raise themselves.

Low self-esteem and lack of confidence are not the characteristics we’re born with. They’re instilled in us by either by well-meaning family members who wish to keep us humble and sweet, or they’re force-fed to us by bullies and abusers.

As a result, many babies grow into people who are under the false belief that they are unlovable and don’t deserve to have their wants and needs met and thus, people who are filled with either anger and self-loathing, or sad, depressed, helpless victims.

We all go through these terrible changes, even those who aren’t bullied, and only few people in this world manage to keep that confidence and joy they were born with, that is, IF there is anyone who does. Life’s disappointments, hurts, and heartaches have ways of doing these things to all of us. However, people who are bullied and abused suffer the worst changes.

They stop expressing emotions and give up asking for anything because, sometime during their childhoods, they were conditioned by other people to think that they’re self-centered and wrong for ever needing or wanting anything out of life.

Therefore, they resign themselves to the attitude that, things are “just the way they are” and that there’s nothing they can do to change anything.

And when you tell them about self-love and how important it is, they wince at the idea because it makes them uncomfortable. But, again, they have been programmed to think that self-love is somehow self-absorbed and evil. I can relate to this because, when I was thirteen and fourteen years old, I did the exact same when I was first told about the idea of self-love and self-care.

The thought of looking at myself in the mirror every day and telling myself “I love you” or “You’re beautiful,” “You’re Smart,” “You’re awesome,” etc., felt both weird and downright sickening because I was under the impression that it was all a sign of sheer vanity.

Self-love can feel downright painful after you’ve wasted years and decades hating and degrading yourself because it’s not something you’re accustomed to doing. Anything new and out of the ordinary feels painful at first. Like all things, it must become a habit first and it can only become habit through rigorous learning and practice.

‘You see? My bullies and a few abusive others had sold me on the idea that any form of self-care or self-love was abhorrent and self-serving. I was under the misguided belief that self-degradation and self-criticism was a virtue and a sign of being humble and meek. I thought that was what normal people did, as I watched a few family members do the same thing.

Some of my family members still do this at times and it breaks my heart. If only they could see, I mean, truly see their value and that they’re wonderful people who are worth more than gold.

The truth is that self-hatred is the equivalent of having a millstone hung from your neck and having to drag it around everywhere you go because it’s exhausting. It zaps your energy. It takes the magic, wonder, and excitement from your life. It keeps you stuck and worse, invites more disrespect and abuse from others.

Self-love only comes from within, never from without. It’s not something you can get from a partner, a spouse, or a boatload of friends. It doesn’t come from having a banging body or wearing fancy clothes, hairdos, or makeup. Money can’t buy self-love. Power doesn’t give it to you and neither does prestige. Self-love comes from the heart and only the heart.

Self-love is about self-acceptance and being perfectly okay with your imperfections. It comes from being comfortable in your own skin and not caring even the slightest what others think or say of you.

In order to find peace and joy in life, self-love is a must-have. It helps you to achieve your goals and realize your dreams and aspirations. It determines your outcomes- whether you succeed or fail. It helps you to better re-frame bad situations and see them as learning experiences. Self-love gives you peace of mind.

In a nutshell, self-love gives you complete freedom! It is the key to happiness and joy!

Don’t you think you deserve to be at peace with yourself? Don’t you think you deserve happiness and joy? I do.

So, be like a baby. Love yourself. Know that your true colors are vibrant and never be afraid to show them. Dance like you’ve never been ridiculed. And play like you’ve never fallen and scraped your knee. Express your emotions. Love, laugh, and live.

You’ll be surprised at how everything will change for the better! I promise!

Learn to Love the Person You’re Stuck with For Life- You!

Hey! There’s no getting away from it, kiddo! You can never run from yourself. You are confined to yourself and will take this person with you wherever you go. Soooo… Would you rather be stuck for the rest of your life with someone you love or someone you hate?

I thought so.

Many times, we’ve heard critical and debasing voices of the people around us when we were growing up. And they conditioned us to take it as truth. We were innocent victims who ended up internalizing the bad stuff that happened to us and mistook them as confirmation that we are unlovable. Understand that it is all a lie.

Realize that the devil is the author of lies and a good liar always uses the past to convince us that their lies are the truth. They tell us that we’re unworthy, that we’re bad, that we’ll never amount to a hill of beans.

Again, all lies.

I’m not a shrink. I’m not even a mental health professional. However, what I’m suggesting here is just common sense. Wouldn’t it make sense to love the only person you’re stuck with 24/7, rather than to hate them? Sure, it would.

Therefore, it’s so important that we don’t let bullies convince us to hate ourselves. Never let someone else use you as their personal toxic waste dump. Never allow yourself to be a dumping ground for their baggage.

Granted, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re a target of relentless bullying. It takes a conscious effort and a lot of work to keep their garbage from affecting our mental health. But realize that you’re worth the investment. I promise you.

And if it gets overwhelming, there’s nothing wrong with seeking therapy. We all need a little help sometimes. Also, there’s nothing wrong with leaving the environment either. Do whatever you must do to preserve your sanity.

If you choose the first option, know that it doesn’t mean you’re “crazy” or “mentally imbalanced.” Realize that ignorant people tell you these things to make you seem that way because it helps them to distract others from and hide their own mental and emotional issues.

If you choose the latter, know that you’re not running away; you’re removing yourself from a bad place that’s no good for you. That’s not being chicken or wimping out, that’s called self-care. And naturally, when you love someone, you’ll protect and take care of them. Take care of yourself.

So, fall in love with yourself. And that means breaking up with the voices that tell you that you’re not worthy and banishing them forever because those voices are nasty. They’re old, stale, and they stink like yesterday’s trash! They’ve been telling you the same worn out lies for years and you’d think we’d get bored hearing the same old crap from them after so long.

Replace them with voices of love because anything other than that is just noise pollution!

PTSD

Loving yourself also means treating your body with respect and care- feeding it what it needs and giving it exercise by going on nature walks and spending time outside rather than isolating yourself by shutting yourself inside the house all day. There’s nothing like being outdoors and enjoying some sunlight and a cool breeze. You’d be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.

It means feeding your mind as well- reading personal development books (or a good mystery novel), meditating, and praying.

Most importantly, it means you stop criticizing yourself and listening to that toxic voice that says you’re not good enough. You might not completely get rid of your inner critic, but you won’t give it nearly as much airtime as you once did.

When you love yourself fully and completely, you allow yourself to make mistakes and use them to learn and grow. You’ll allow yourself to apologize when appropriate. You’ll embrace the imperfections you cannot change and improve on the ones you can.

When you start loving yourself, you will accept healthier relationships with people who truly love you because you’ll feel more worthy of them. You’ll become a go-getter and begin going after your dreams. Other people will sense this and treat you with love and respect while toxic people will be more likely to avoid you like the plague because they won’t want to mess with you.

Even your finances and lifestyle will go up!

You’ll invite positive changes by learning, improving, and growing. You won’t change who you are but only become a better version of yourself. Even better you’ll enjoy your journey to self-betterment.

Understand that we accept what we think we deserve out of life. If you loathe yourself, you’ll accept drama in your life and toxic relationships and environments that aren’t good for you. You’ll allow people to wipe their feet all over you and you’ll lose sight of your goals and dreams. In short, you’ll settle for less and get even less than what you settle for.

That’s why it’s crucial that you learn to love the one person you’re stuck with- the one person you can never, even for a second, get away from- yourself!

Stop spending time with someone you hate. Instead, spend your time with someone you love! And you do it by replacing the hate for that person with love.

I won’t kid you here. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard inner work and you will have to invest a lot of time and energy at first. There will also be times when your mind will fight against you, and you fall short but get back up and keep at it!

It will be so worth it in the end. Know that YOU are worth it! Love the person you’re stuck with!

Be Kind to Others, Yet Remain True to Yourself and Your Needs

Yes! You can do both at the same time, but few people know where this healthy balance lies. May people are under the impression that kindness is weakness, which means that they believe that it’s a zero-sum game. They assume that you cannot be kind to others and yourself at the same time. I’m here to debunk this assumption.

Although it’s true when it goes to extremes, a healthy balance of kindness is a virtue! It’s all about keeping in that happy middle.

First, let me discuss the imbalances and extremes here:

1. Too kind or “nice.” When the niceness goes to extremes- when you’re “too nice” and let others use and walk on you, you set yourself up to be a doormat and that’s never good. A person who’s too nice is often so because they seek approval from others. So, they say yes to everything- even things they’d rather say no to. This isn’t healthy and it only attracts bullies and others who will only use and abuse you.

 2. Not kind at all- a jerk or worse, a bully. Because you’ve been hurt one too many times, you no longer care about the feelings of other people, and you treat others like crap and use them to achieve your own agenda. If you go this route, you’ll only miss opportunities to make good friends and improve your relationships with your family. You’ll always be lonely because no one wants to be around a jerk and everyone despises a bully.

The trick is to extend kindness to others and reserve your jerky side for only those who use, abuse, and disrespect you. Say no if someone asks or demands that you do something you don’t want to do. Refuse to get sucked into drama.

Extend to the janitor the same respect you give to the CEO. Treat the poor and homeless with dignity. Befriend the kid who has no friends at school. Be kind to the combat veteran with severe PTSD and who everyone thinks is crazy. Give your seat to the elderly woman using a walker. Be kind to those who are powerless and cannot do anything for you. For that’s the real test of character.

Stand up for yourself when arrogant bullies attack you and don’t back down. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like the next person. Command the same well-treatment that everyone else has a right to.

Don’t be too nice, but don’t be an unfeeling jerk either. And, for the love of Pete, never be a bully! Know that there’s a happy middle and stay in it.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Always Love Yourself

When you are a target of bullying, loving yourself can be very difficult when it seems that the only thing you hear from others is negativity. Constantly being bombarded with ugly names, cruel taunts, and attacks over a long period of time can very easily have a cumulative and devastating effect on your self-esteem. If you aren’t careful, you too will begin to believe the cruel falsehoods that mean-spirited others tell you.

However, no matter how viciously others may treat you, you must do everything possible to hold on to self-love! Even if you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day and make positive affirmations.

“I AM an awesome person.”
“I AM beautiful.”
“I AM worthy of being loved.”

You must maintain your self-esteem and never let anyone brainwash you into thinking that you are less than.

You must love and respect yourself before anyone else can love and respect you. You must take care of yourself. You must command respect and love from others, including a few family members you love dearly, and be willing to make some tough decisions to receive that love and respect.

Sometimes, you have to walk away, knowing full well that there is always a chance that the person may never see your worth. And this means coming to a place where you no longer care even the slightest about the outcome.

However, there is a strong chance that your value will go up in that person’s eyes, and they will eventually see your worth and treat you better than you ever thought possible. It may not happen overnight. In fact, it may take up to several years, but it can happen.

If, by chance, it does not happen, realize that you did not turn your back on the person because you did not love them, but only because they did not love you enough to treat you with the love and respect that you know in your heart of hearts that you deserve.

You must love yourself, or nobody will love you. Never look outside of yourself for love and validation. Never depend on others for assurance of your value. Let love come from within your heart!

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!

What Both My Very Wise Grandmothers Once Told Me About Knowing Your Worth- And I Never Forgot It!

“Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit.”

~ Unknown ~

I just finished a romance novel about forbidden love. It took me back to a conversation with both my grandmothers when I was a teenager and before I even started dating. I was only fourteen, yet I was old enough to understand every word they told me.

Having both grown up during the Great Depression and been daughters of farmers, my grandmothers only had fifth-grade and seventh-grade educations, yet they were geniuses in common sense and street smarts!

As they sat together, sipping coffee and having just finished a card game, my maternal grandmother told me the story of how my grandfather cheated on her many times but only dropped the other woman in the end. She also told me how she ended up divorcing him. After she told me the story, these were her words:

“Never, ever have an affair with a married man because you only settle for second place when you do, sweetheart. You decrease your value as a woman when you go with another woman’s husband- you cheapen yourself. Wouldn’t you rather find your own husband and be his one and only?”

Naturally, my answer to that question was an emphatic “YES!”

She continued:

“When a woman dates a married man, she decreases her worth as a woman- and she does it immensely. She is reduced to the lowest common denominator. She lives on the fantasy and false promise that the man will leave his wife for her. In most cases, he doesn’t. She only waits, with bated breath, wasting her valuable time on someone who doesn’t deserve her love let alone his wife’s. Philanderers don’t change. And if he does leave his wife and marries the mistress, he’ll only eventually cheat on her too. When you have an affair with a married man, you sell yourself short. You set yourself up for a huge letdown later. You deserve to have someone who isn’t already committed and who you can call your own.”

“That’s right.” My paternal grandmother agreed. Then she began to speak.

“And never ever throw herself at a man, or worse- crawl up behind someone who doesn’t want you. I see a lot of young girls in your age group doing this and the only thing it does is make them look desperate. And the guys they chase only get an ego rush from it, them sit back with the buddies and laugh at the girl behind her back. Now, I know you haven’t begun dating yet, but I want to let you know now, so that you’ll avoid these pitfalls when you do begin to date.”

As my paternal grandmother, a widow, spoke her words, I listened attentively and my maternal grandmother nodded in agreement as she looked at me with those beautiful, wide, but serious eyes.

Now before I go on, I realize that times have changed since I was a young girl and that I may offend a few “woke”people out there who may accuse me of using stereotypical gender roles and such. However, this is the conversation we had. So, for those of you who are thinking about sending me a flamer about how “politically incorrect” this post sounds and that I should be more “gender neutral,” do not!

Don’t waste both your time and mine by trying to “school” me on the unwritten rules of identity politics because I’m not interested! This post isn’t about identity politics.

What it is about is a conversation between me and my grandmothers thirty-five years ago, and how it positively impacted me. It’s also about knowing your worth as a person and the importance of self-value, which, sadly, is in short supply in people these days.

Getting back to the subject, my grandmothers sure knew what they were talking about. They were two of the smartest and socially savviest women I knew. God rest their souls, I considered them life-geniuses! They were both masters at human nature and the hidden motivations and intentions of people!

Our little talk really made an impression on me that day.

I never forgot that conversation and continued to live by it.

The small town I lived in back then was a very Peyton place. I can’t count the stories I’ve heard of the many local people who dabbled in such relationships. No wonder the vast majority of the people in Oakley, TN were such miserable and bitter souls.

My point to the above story is that no matter what relationship you choose, heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, you should always know your worth. You should value yourself enough not to even begin a relationship with someone who’s already taken. Know that there are always better options.

I say this not to judge anyone, but to convince them to see that they’re worth so much more than they think- more than being a side-partner to some creepy toad who doesn’t value women, (or some shameless strumpet who takes men for granted).

The same goes for men who have affairs with married women or settle for fem-toads who either don’t value them or who cheat on them. You must start treating yourselves better!

When you date someone who’s already in a marriage or committed relationship, you set yourself up to play second fiddle. To be okay with lapping up someone else’s sloppy seconds? Yuck! Why would you settle for that pathetic crap?

Here’s something else I’ll bet you haven’t thought of. If you have an affair with someone else’s romantic partner, you might as well be wearing their underwear! Egads!

If you don’t learn to value and be true to yourself, how do you expect a potential partner to value and be true to you?

You value yourself by getting absolutely clear on what you will not settle for and what you won’t tolerate. You value yourself by avoiding such partners who are known for cheating on their significant others. You also value yourself by avoiding any toxic person, commanding respect, and being selective of friends and even choosier of dating and romantic partners.

Know that you deserve so much more. You deserve to be one and only in someone’s life and that should be non-negotiable. Anything less than that is unacceptable!

Loving Yourself Means Loving EVERYTHING That is You

It means loving every single part of yourself that you can do nothing about. What it doesn’t mean is loving some things about yourself and either hating or being ashamed of other parts. It means loving yourself completely- your entire self and all that you are- loving your whole being.

Whether you’re rich, poor, or middle-class, embrace it. It’s a part of who you are. Whether you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Jewish, or any other race, never be ashamed of it! Embrace it and love it because it too is a part of you.

Whether you have brown eyes, blue eyes or green; dark, red, or blonde hair; dark or light skin- love those things. Those are also a part of you.

Love your nationality, your country, your state, community, and neighborhood because they too make up the person that is you. Whether you are American or Japanese, British, or Indian, love and take pride in those things about you. Whether you’re from Texas, New York, or Nova Scotia, love those things too. Take pride in and love yourself, no matter your heritage!

Also, accept your past and be okay with it. If you grew up poor and made it out, don’t be ashamed. Be proud of it because it’s a testament to how far you’ve come. If you grew up in an abusive household, own that too because it’s proof that you survived and overcame. The same goes if you were once a drug-addict or alcoholic but now sober. Be not ashamed of those things, for those are things you’ve triumphed over. Even if you have a past of crime and imprisonment and have turned your life around, see it as evidence of how far you’ve come and use it to teach others.

Love yourself no matter your weight, height, or whether you have freckles, glasses, or braces- they too are the building blocks of you. If you’d like to change them and can change them, by all means, change them.

Lose weight if you like, get contacts if you don’t like the glasses, and look forward to beautiful teeth once those braces come off. That’s perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become what you feel would be a better version of yourself.

But love the things you can’t change about yourself. Embrace yourself. Even better, celebrate yourself. Know that each of us is perfectly made, flaws and all!

Know that how you look, your past, your weight, height; eye, hair, and skin color; race, nationality, creed, upbringing, orientation, religion, values- each are the building blocks that make up the whole you. The only thing you should judge yourself on is your character.

So, if you know in your heart that you are a good person and have love to offer others, love yourself too. And do it for all that you are.

Remember that when it all comes down, no person is better than another. See yourself as neither superior nor inferior, but just as good as the next person. You are you and you love it!

Accept yourself

Love yourself

Believe in yourself

Take care of yourself

Know your value and your worth

Know that you are worthy of the best life has to offer!