Most of the time, we get caught up in our relationships with other people and spend a lot of effort in treating those around us the right way all the while forgetting to stop and think about our relationship with ourselves. As someone who's in her early twenties, I've gone through different experiences that are no stranger to anyone my age. From failures to heartaches, it's easy to lose yourself for a moment and feel like you are not enough. But if there's one thing I've learned through the highs and lows of early adulthood, it's that self-love is the key to pulling youself up and getting back on the race once again, stronger than ever.
Here are the lessons I picked up along the way, and I hope you can learn a thing or two as well!
1. It's crucial to forgive yourself. Self-love isn't just about loving every bit of you. We are all human, and we have flaws and feelings that we may be ashamed to admit, even just to ourselves. But a huge part of self-love is accepting your mistakes and not beating yourself up whenever you think you've screwed up or done something embarrassing. It's all about owning up to these things because, at the end of the day, these are decisions you've made and actions you've put yourself up to. No matter how much you regret them, they are already a part of you, and that's okay. Forgive, let go, and start anew.
2. Toxic people and situations have no place in your life. Whether it's an ex-lover or a job that you really hate, cutting off people and getting out of situations that weigh you down are a must. Know who are the ones worth keeping around and when to move on from a particular point in your life. It can be hard, especially if you've invested a lot of time, effort, and emotions in them. The thing is, you just have to do it. Trust me, even hitting that mute or unfollow button on social media can actually save your sanity.
3. Being alone doesn't have to mean that you're lonely. There's a misconception that being by yourself is something that can be perceived negatively by those around you. People may think that you're sad, or you have no friends, or being single is the worst thing in the world, but the simple truth is that it's alright to be alone whenever you want to be—and even when you feel like you need others to be physically with you or to validate you all the time, you must remember that you can get by on your own and that you can do great things on your own. The only person who can be with you 24/7, especially at your lowest, is yourself. Make sure you are in great company.
4. Doing more of what you love will keep you going. Whatever it is that you are passionate about, just keep doing it. Other aspects of your life can fall apart, but if you do things for yourself, then you can always find a way to move forward. It will give you a sense of purpose; and, sometimes, a good enough reason to wake up in the morning. You are your own cheerleader, so give yourself the pep talks and the pats on the back. Your motivation lies in knowing that you are doing something for your own happiness and betterment and not anyone else's.
5. Know your truths. Self-awareness is a must, especially at a time in your life where there seems to be too much noise or too many opinions that can potentially hurt you. Listen to your inner self. Feel what you truly feel. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. And, even for just a moment, don't judge or try to change them. Again, these are all parts of you. Know who you are at this particular point in your life. Once you've done that, two things can happen: 1. You will be secure of yourself; and 2. You will find your starting point to self-improvement.
6. You are never not enough. When you experience being left behind by someone you love or losing that job you desperately want, it's easy to think that you are not enough and you will inevitably hate yourself for it. Well, it's time to remove this mentality. Self-improvement is a constant process. The right people will be there with you no matter where you are in that process. The right opportunities will come along when you are ready for them. It's okay to mourn your losses, but don't consider them as a projection of yourself. You are you, and if someone can't get on board with that, then you're clearly better off without them.
It's not vain to love yourself. If anything, it is a hard rule that you should always abide by. Don't stress too much about the things or people you can't control. Focus on yourself, and you'll get by just fine. Because sometimes, the only friend you really need is staring right back at you in the mirror. So, smile!
Banner photograph by Bart LaRue via Unsplash. GIFs from GIPHY.