Self-love is a term that’s been thrown around a lot. Almost to the point of making you feel bad about it if you don’t love yourself in a way that is apparent to the world. The quote above is awesome, but also overwhelming. Love EVERY PART OF MYSELF? Taking care of MY OWN NEEDS? It seems far-fetched.
I did not grow up engulfed in self-love. More often than not I was self-conscious about my weight, my clothes and fitting in. I was a very shy kid and kids can be mean. I was bullied, made fun of, and so desperate to find my place in my small world.
As I grew up to figure out my professional skills and where I fit in the professional world, I was still very aware of my insecurities. I sought out jobs that gave me the biggest perks and flashy “ooh’s” and “ahh’s”. I worked in jobs that required extreme attention to detail and an extroverted personality, both of which are so far out of my personality strengths.
When I became a mom, that feeling immediately turned to the little ones I was raising. Was I good enough to be their mom? Am I setting a good example? What are other moms doing? As a stay-at-home mom, those feelings and thoughts can be consuming, much to my detriment.
Somewhere around the years my daughter was born and I turned 40, I started introspecting on what all those feelings meant. Why was I spending so much time caring what other people thought? Looking back, I am grateful for being exposed to such amazing communities, both in-person and online. They gave me the space and acceptance to be the mom I am without comparison. Mama Bear became my role in how I was taking care of my babies. As they have gotten older, it’s been more challenging as the role has developed into more parenting, but I do it in a way I see fit for my family and that is OK.
I turned 40 last year, and somewhere between that milestone and this year, I’m starting to dig deeper into what self-love really means for me. Check out this video from the magical Oprah Winfrey talking about turning 40:
Putting aside the fact that Oprah is amazing and inspiring, the concept of living for yourself instead of other people and settling into the person that you are meant to be is something I can get behind. At 40 years old, I’m starting to get that. To me, that’s the concept of self-love. Accepting yourself for who you are, not what you are supposed to be or what other people want you to be.
That is powerful.
So while I’m far from truly loving myself in the capacity of the quote above, I am leaning into the concept of living life in a way that makes sense for me. I want to feel happy in my body and not by the number on the scale. I do things that coincide with my skillset and strengths like writing and creative outlets. I’m working on my mental health and not focusing on things that are not worth the energy. It’s a work-in-progress, but if all of this perspective is happening at 40, imagine what the future holds.
Liked this post and want more? Head over the the Zulily blog and check out my post for specific tips and tricks on starting that journey to self-love.