self-love journey

When is the last time you looked in the mirror and really looked at yourself? Really looked deep into your soul, past your skin, eyes, and body. When is the last time you assured yourself of your worth? When is the last time you looked in the mirror and said, “I’m beautiful, I’m independent, and I’m going to succeed in every aspect of my life.”

Tell me it was today.

I want to share with you my short story of my long and ongoing journey of learning how to love myself. I want to share with you how to love yourself physically, emotionally, and in every way possible. Loving yourself isn’t as simple as you may think; in fact it’s a process that can take years to fully manifest. I believe it’s a lifelong process because you never stop learning and loving.

The Downward Spiral

Back in 2012, I had just got out of a serious relationship, I was working a part time job and I felt really lost. I had never really been single for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I liked the single life yet, or if I ever would.

I felt emotionally drained from that relationship and I didn’t know what I wanted in my life. I had a friend who came along during a time I needed her most. She was the one who never let me stay down, she never let me shed a tear over my ex, and she always uplifted me and made sure I was looking at the positive. I’ll forever be grateful for her.

She started to tell me affirming things about myself and after a while, I started to realize that these qualities were true and I was blind not to see them.

For roughly five years of my life (before this point) I hated myself. I didn’t love myself and I wasn’t aware of my worth as human being. Nor was I aware of what I deserved and how to go after what I truly wanted in my life. I had no idea what was missing.

The Uphill Battle

But by the end of 2012 all of that changed. I began my journey of finding myself – really looking into my soul and my being and started figuring out what it meant to really love yourself.

I think it all started with me staying single and not even attempting to date. That was the most liberating feeling and, in hindsight, what I needed most at that time. During that time, I realized my ability to love someone else was non-existent because I didn’t love myself first.

Being single and celibate (yes that too!) taught me a lot about my heart and about my patience. I learned that sometimes the heart needs to rest. It doesn’t need to be in love with another person all the time.

And being celibate for a year and a half taught me what I needed to know about what loving someone else really meant. It all correlates to loving and respecting yourself first.

I realized that I deserve to be happy, and I deserve to be with someone who thinks I’m amazing and who treats me as such; someone who respects me as an individual, my thoughts and feelings, and also my body. I learned that waiting for the right guy takes time, lots of time, and that it’s ok to be picky. When you love yourself, you know what you deserve and you don’t beat around the bush.

For a while I neglected to take care of my health. My weight was out of control. I went from starving myself to gaining weight, and simply, just not being healthy at all. I experienced depression when I was 19 for roughly half a year. That didn’t help my health situation, physically nor mentally, either.

Where I Am Now

In 2013, after going through about six months of solely focusing on bettering me, things started to look better in my life. I developed a routine; I read and absorbed my self-affirmations every single day and I really starting to look at my own life with a positive attitude. I started to focus on what I really loved and what I wanted in my life. I set up goals and plans; and to this day I continue to do it all.

My journey that began two years ago is still going. I went through a lot of ups and downs before really starting to have more ups than downs.

I love almost every aspect of my life. The only part I’m not truly happy with is that I don’t live on my own yet. But that is one of my goals for 2015. It’s tough, but I know I’ll accomplish it. I’m happy with my career, my love life, and most importantly I am happy with the person I have become and am continuing to be.

[For you: Radical Self-Love: What I Know]

I still have growing to do in certain areas—I am only 24 after all—but I have come a long, long way since 2012. I’m proud of myself, my accomplishments so far, and of my faith in myself. I’m proud of being able to say that I truly love myself. I am human, I am beautiful, and I will succeed in all aspects of my life.