One year ago today I set out on a journey to love my real self. There was no way to predict what would ultimately unfold on my path to self love. Here’s my story.
Last year I took a personal vow to learn to love myself in honor of my daughters (read here). All along I thought accepting my physical appearance was all I needed to do to achieve self-love. In reality, there is more to loving your real self than just accepting who you see in the mirror.
I Started Hiding Bits of My Real Self at a Young Age
Is it possible to love who you are both inside and out? For years I’ve hidden parts of myself from the world – bits and pieces I never wanted anyone to know existed. It’s hard work to conceal personality traits integral to my overall being, but I am good at fooling others.
My childhood temperament is an important part of this story because when you’re little you act most like your true self. As a toddler I threw tantrums when I felt a loss of control over my life or surroundings. Like most children, I didn’t like to be told, “No,” but it was more about not being in control than anything. My Mom can tell you I was the queen of pulling out my hair and screaming until my throat was raw. I thrived on routine and predictability. When I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I was unable to compose myself. Those emotions have to go somewhere when you’re little, right?
When I entered preschool I learned how to internalize my frustrations and fears with the unpredictability of life. All of my teachers praised me for being a star student, hardworking and easy going. I strived to earn their praise and approval – squishing down any negative feelings instead of ever letting them show. I don’t recall feeling anxious as a child, even when my amazing Grandma died from cancer. Instead, I pushed any uneasiness deep down inside where no one could see it. I would continue to hide my worries and my strong desires for control for many years.
Loving Myself from the Inside Out
Let’s fast forward to March 2020 when I made peace with some of the dark bits I hid from the world, i.e. my insecurities about my body (read more here). I accepted my flaws and vowed to love every inch of myself. I celebrated this vow with YOU through #ILoveMyRealSelf and felt gloriously optimistic about my new proclaimed self-love. Not once did I consider that to REALLY love myself, I would need to address a few traits.
Through therapy and self reflection I’ve learned more about myself than I thought there was to know. I’m an angry cleaner – often taking my anger out on a vacuum or sponge instead of working through it the root of my feelings. I’m reactionary instead of responsive – often regretting the way I react to a situation and wishing I had taken the time to respond instead. I am not good at self-talk and beat myself up for being a completely normal person.
To love my real self isn’t just being happy with my physical appearance – it’s so much more. It’s forgiving myself, surrendering feelings of anger, and letting go of anything (or anyone) that is not serving a good purpose in my life. It’s being kind to myself when I’m tired, stressed, or sad.
Loving my real self is loving my true self.
Want to join me in sharing your journey to self love? Use #ILoveMyRealSelf on your social media posts or search to see more real life stories!