One day, shortly after the birth of my third child, I made the decision to love myself. I was done trying to mold my body or beautiful, quirky self into a tiny, ill-fitting mold.
I’ve been showing up and practicing this decision every single day for the past 12 years.
Living like we love ourselves, speaking to ourselves with kindness, laying down judgment, nourishing ourselves like we deserve good things, none of this happens without deliberate, conscious choice. We walk it out, day by day. We struggle, we hide, we step out with courage once again.
You wear your tattoos and I wear my scars and we are not so different after all.
With all our jagged edges.
You write me and share pieces of your story – you are knitters and tenders of chooks and children; you are successful by the world’s standards yet still you ache; you are male and female, tired of living like you are too broken. You are teachers, psychologists, and health practitioners; you are homeschooling mamas, students just starting out, military retirees. A diverse crowd but not so different at the core.
In some area of life, you are still learning to live like you love yourself.
You are doing the messy inner work to let go of what no longer serves, untangle truth from fiction, grow up. We are all on the journey together and I’m so grateful I get to walk this out with you!
I want to tell you something that I believe to be true and which you may need to hear: this work is hard and uncomfortable and sometimes you’ll want to quit. You’ll wonder why it feels worse in the middle than it did at the start. You may feel so filled with anger that life has been unkind.
You may fall off course and feel like a failure, despair that you’ll never get through, wish you didn’t have to work so hard to show up and do life each day. But it’s all worth it.
You’re worth it.
10 Truths to Help You Live Like You Love Yourself (with some links for extra reading//support)
1. Life is messy and beautiful.
Life is imperfect, painful, interesting, delightful, scary, exciting, messy and beautiful. All at once. The fact that life is messy is not a reflection of your worth or ability. And when you’re in a messy part, you need to remember that this is only part of your story, not the fullness of it.
2. You’re not wrong for where you’re at on the journey.
3. You are the expert on your own body.
Ask for help and acquire new skills and tools. But don’t abdicate power or responsibility for your wellbeing. Advocate for yourself like you deserve it, stop looking for a magic pill, practice listening in because often we already know what we need; we just don’t want to do it.
4. Acceptance is an inside job.
The truth is, it’s not actually my job to like you, it’s yours.
5. You get to be the boss of your own thoughts.
Challenge fear with truth. Don’t believe every story that enters your mind. Learning to take control of your thoughts is one of the greatest gifts you can offer yourself.
6. You are not too broken.
7. You don’t have to see the whole path to take the first (next) step.
We forge our path as we step out and do the hard work of showing up with consistency. Learning to trust the journey is part of the process.
8. Growing up is hard to do.
Whether we are 16 or 46 we are all still in the messy process of growing up and it feels hard sometimes. That’s OK. You will be OK. Sometimes deep wounds must be opened up so they can be cleaned out once and for all. And a little P.S.: I think if we can bring humor into the process, this lightens the load.
9. Perfection is not required.
No matter what your mean inner critic tells you or all the ways you are judged by others, you are enough. Our identity is not determined by our performance or productivity. We do not have to pay rent for the space we take up in the world.
10. Your words matter.
Use your voice. Speak life over yourself like you’re your own best friend. Use words that help build the world you want to live in, starting with yourself. Don’t play the victim and cut yourself some slack. Both will help you get through. And if necessary, you can fake it till you make it.
I am so privileged to get to peer into the lives and hearts of the amazing people I work with and the interesting people who read my words and respond. I get to see the raw truth – you are not alone on this journey and you are not the only one who struggles.
Decide to live like you love yourself.
Do one of these points jump out at you? How can you begin to practice loving yourself a little better this next month?
Photograph by Benjamin Cottrell