I’ve never been the kind of girl to rush into relationships. When I was younger chasing boys didn’t phase me. I was always happy being independent, boyfriend-free and carefree. I guess I’ve always felt as though I have more important things to worry about. My heart isn’t entirely made of stone and I have opened my heart to the notion of love before but these days I’m a lot more focused on self-love. I’m ready to put myself, my thoughts, feelings and desires, first. Maybe that makes me kind of selfish, I don’t know.
In all honesty, my disinterest towards relationships may also be due to the fact that relationships scare the hell out of me. With a history of turbulent relationships, that’s no surprise. Life isn’t like the movies and love isn’t all airy-fairy. Sorry folks! I’m also one of those girls that’s had pretty bad luck when it comes to men. I am the girl who’s been cheated on more times that you’d like to imagine. I’ve been torn down emotionally and mentally. But I’m ready to take control and commandeer my own heart. Nobody else but me will be in control of my happiness. So, Happy Valentines and here’s to self-love!
For the past two years, I have been determinedly trying to recapture the self-esteem, strength and emotional stability that was torn away from me. It’s a funny thing to lose; self-confidence. My previous relationship shattered my confidence; turning me into a shell of my former self. It sent my anxieties into overdrive. Since the unknowingly happy demise of that relationship (or relationshit rather, haha I’m so witty…) I’ve worked hard to try to overcome my anxiety. It’s something I still struggle with but I’ve made progress. The truth is the path is never linear. Some days I will falter and my anxieties will overcome me. Other days, I will feel stronger than ever. The important thing is that each day is a step towards regaining my confidence. With that said, here goes the key three influences on my journey to self-love:
BECOMING LITTLE MISS INDEPENDENT
One of the most important parts of my journey to self-love was learning to stand on my own two feet. I’m not really one to rely on others or ask for help. Far too many people have let me down in the past. It probably sounds kind of melodramatic but it’s true and it’s something that I’m thankful for. So thank you to the shitty people in my life for teaching me the importance of self-reliance. I’m proud to say that I’m pretty damn resilient. Knock me down as many times as you wish and I’ll get up with more determination than before each and every time. I am the girl who builds her walls high, keeps her circles small and is willing to jump into new adventures all on my own. And I’m okay with that.
In fact, my independence is one of my favourite characteristics about myself. It’s opened up so many opportunities in life. Too many people live their life clutching onto the hand of another for support. Surrounding yourself with amazing, supportive people is brilliant but being able to let go of their hand and do things by yourself, for yourself is even more amazing.
STOP SEEKING THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS
Learning to love yourself has kind of got to come from within. You need to stop seeking the approval of others. This links in with becoming independent. Learning to stand on my own two feet means I no longer turn to others for their approval. When I was younger I was sort of an outcast. Just like chasing boys didn’t phase me, neither did being different. As I grew into a teenager, the pressures to be accepted would become suffocating. Although I didn’t break under the pressure, I did bend slightly. I found myself starting to conform, following the accepted norms in hope that my peers would like me more.
This need to be accepted transpired in my relationships. It was unhealthy. Looking back, I wince at how weak-willed I used to be. I would dress and act to please others; my back-bone became virtually nonexistent as I didn’t dare to voice my opinions. I became robotic and complaint through fear of losing my boyfriend because he didn’t approve of certain characteristics of mine. He would frown upon my desires to colour my hair, call me a slut and other derogatory terms for the way I dressed or for wanting to do pole, mock my intelligence. The list goes on and because I was always so keen to please, I fell victim to him. It rocked my confidence, leading me to believe that I would never be good enough.
Fast-forward to today, I no longer seek the approval of others. I understand that I am good enough. Damnit, I’m more than good enough. I like whatever weird-shit I like and if someone else isn’t cool with that then that’s there problem, not mine. I’m confident in my own skin. Other people’s opinions don’t phase me anymore. Learning to be confident in my own skin without a care in the world what other people think, has taught me more about love and happiness than I can describe.
DO THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
It sounds pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Yet, I often wonder how many of us actually do the things that make us happy. We live in an age where it’s generally accepted to go and pursue your dreams. It’s okay to shun the soul-sucking 9-5 job, throw caution to the wind and just go travelling. I’m also in awe of those who make their passions a full-time job. Personally, I still work a 9-5 job but I’m making sure I make the most of my 5-9 too.
I’m filling those hours between 5pm and 9am with the things that make me happy. Life is too short to be filled with negativity so I’m focusing my efforts on keeping a positive mindset. The best way to do that is doing positive things (duh!). So, find whatever makes you happy and pursue the shit out of it.
I adore blogging so I’m determined to tackle blogging with more fervour than ever before. It’s something that fills me with happiness. It’s introduced me to wonderfully strong, inspiring people and made me realise the potential I have if I push myself in life.
I’m throwing myself into new situations and pushing my boundaries like never before. Last month, I took another pole fitness class…the first one since that dreaded ex told me I was a slut for wanting to do cool tricks on a vertical pole. I spent last year travelling to so many new places and even more recently, I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. The beauty of it is the more I say yes to life the more happiness it brings me in return.
This Valentines I’m going to continue showering myself with kindness and love. Having someone else to love in life is great but don’t forget the importance of self-love either. I would love to know your secrets to self-love too!