Self-love isn’t always naps and bubble baths, cheery and cute. Sometimes it’s ruthless, honest, raw, exhausting, and life-changing.
It’s looking at your own reflection and making peace with every perceived flaw. It’s crying on the bathroom floor only to gasp in a bit of hope. It’s feeling worthless and finding an ounce of confidence. It’s doubting every thought to trusting the unknown. It’s having hard conversations even if your voice shakes. It’s failing over and over but not labeling yourself a failure. It’s risking looking like a fool to squash the voice that says maybe you can’t do it. It’s accepting that social media isn’t real and comparing yourself and your body or your accomplishments to what has been planned and curated is harming. It’s respecting yourself to move and be fit. It’s nourishing your mind. It’s realizing that starving yourself or binging won’t make you feel better long term. It’s respecting your body and having sex because you want to, with who you want to, not because you’re pressured or because you feel it’ll make you feel wanted. It’s being honest that getting drunk and high off every drug to numb the pain won’t make it better. It’s accepting that it’s okay to be frustrated, angry, and confused. It is okay to not have it all figured out or know what to do. It’s okay to not be okay and that you mustn’t feel ashamed for feeling this way.
It’s accepting that some people have it harder but that doesn’t mean you’re insignificant. It’s gaining perspective and having an attitude of gratitude without dismissing your story. It’s understanding that no matter what you say or do some people will dislike or hate you. It’s accepting that self-pity and victimization are stagnating and hinder growth. It’s accepting that your voice matters and you’re capable. It’s calling yourself out on your own bullshit and being open to learning. It’s throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and making discoveries. It’s facing challenges and finding a middle ground. It’s being unapologetically authentic and accepting of yourself. It’s taking responsibility for your words and actions. It’s believing in your decisions. It’s forgiving and accepting apologies that were never said. It’s letting go. It’s accepting that control is an illusion. It’s asking for help and being vulnerable. It’s not labeling yourself but seeking the truth. It’s talking to professionals and getting medication if necessary. It’s respecting yourself to walk away. It’s respecting yourself to set boundaries. It’s saying no without justifying. It’s walking in the forest or sitting on the sand. It’s having a soul-crushing anxiety attack to finding your breath. It’s talking with a friend. It’s seeking to understand and have tough conversations even if you don’t see eye to eye.
Because that’s the only way we can make it better. It’s the only way we can reduce stigma and make someone else feel less alone and make someone else feel heard. Because self-love isn’t selfish. Without it we wouldn’t be good to anyone around us; to our kids, partners, friends, colleagues or community. Self-love isn’t some hippie label. It’s mental health. And it’s an issue. And we need to talk about it.
Check on your strong friend.
Check on the quiet ones and the loud ones.
Don’t take things so personally. You have absolutely no idea what someone may be feeling even behind the fiercest eyes. To the young people in a changing world, mental health matters, you matter. You mean something, and to someone you may mean the world. For our world to get better, we need to talk, free of expectations, in an open forum of kindness.
Share a smile and comforting word today. Meditate for a few moments. Move and have self compassion for yourself and your body. Reach out to a professional if you need someone to talk to. Please contribute to the mental health conversation. It’s World Mental Health Day.