AFFIRMATION: I believe in me.
Self-love is doing what makes you happy instead of trying to please someone else. Situations occur when we are asked to fit the mold of what someone else believes is best. After high school, my parents said I should get a government job with benefits, because to them, this was a safe bet. But I knew college was right for me, so that’s what I did. Some people enter college or obtain a job based on their parents’ desires, not their own. Following someone else’s plan can lead to an unfulfilling career and life. When our job is our passion, work is no longer a struggle. We are meant to thrive and be happy, not just exist. By following our interests, we find our purpose—the reason we are here.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. — Oscar Wilde, Irish author, poet, playwright
Our inner compass knows what brings us joy, but sometimes it is hidden behind all the internal and external noise. Maybe we are too afraid to pursue our interests for fear of failure or not living up to someone else’s standards. These are some of the questions we have to ask ourselves like, What is important to me? What do I want to accomplish? and How will it make me feel if I don’t? By finding the answers, we are giving ourselves self-love and can make steps toward living the life we desire.
There have been times throughout my life when I was a people pleaser, rather than being true to myself. This never made me happy because I was not portraying the real me. The fear of disappointing someone is not a reason to do something that goes against our real self.
By saying yes to actions that do not feel right, we give our power away and let others plan our life. If our heart is not in it, we are of no help to anyone or ourselves. This is a waste of time and energy for everyone, and not self-love.
Our inner compass always lets us know when we have fallen off course. It gives us signs such as contradictory or pessimistic feelings, or an ache in our gut. Feeling negative about a situation is a major sign to pause and revaluate. Would someone be upset if we declined their request? Many times the answer is no. It is our own guilt or worry of what others might think that leads us to make choices that do not benefit us. With age comes the I don’t care what other people think attitude, and this is a wonderful gift. Guilt and worry may still exist—we are just not as bothered by them.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. — Bernard M. Baruch, American financier, statesman, philanthropist
The next time someone asks for something, we should pause to connect with our feelings before giving an answer. Ask How does this request make me feel? Do I feel positive or negative about it? If negative emotions, guilt, or anxiety arise, this may be an alert that this request is not right for us. Our internal compass is there to guide us in the right direction. Better decisions are made when we listen to our true selves.
Comparison is Not Self-Love
Comparing ourselves to others rather than embracing authenticity is a no-win battle. It is futile because all of us have different experiences. We are speculating based on what we see externally, not taking into account internal thoughts and emotions. Someone may look confident and happy but inside may feel insecure and sad. Or on the surface look successful and affluent, when in fact they feel unfulfilled and are living paycheck to paycheck. We really do not know others’ circumstances or internal beliefs. Often, the public persona is different than the private one.
Following one’s own path can be difficult at times because it may not fit into the boundaries of accepted society or personal opinions. Whether the path is creating a company, inventing a new product, starting a farm, writing songs, or acting, there will be people who say success is not possible. When Awkwafina won the 2020 Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical, she dedicated the award to her father and said, “I told you I’d get a job, Dad.” She listened to her heart and followed her dream.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, philosopher
There’s no point in trying to become what we think others expect from us because we will get it wrong. We cannot correctly imitate someone else or guess another’s thoughts, no matter how much we try. If we attempt to be something we are not, the exceptional person we are meant to be will not shine through. We can take our power back by concentrating on our own strengths and gifts. That’s self-love.
Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else. — Judy Garland, American actress, singer, dancer
Sometimes comparison can be used as a good tool, such as in finding gratitude. Being grateful for the blessings we have, such as access to healthcare, nourishing food, or a roof over our heads, when not everyone does, can make us appreciate how fortunate we truly are.
Peace and contentment come by staying in our own lane and not worrying what others think. When we are comfortable in our own skin, life is more enjoyable.
How often are the words I’m sorry expressed in our vocabulary? Many times we communicate remorse when really it is not warranted. Sometimes we apologize when we have done nothing wrong. This gives away our power, making us feel inferior and showing a lack of confidence.
Over-apologizing diminishes our self-worth and can make us feel that our emotions are not as important as another’s. This happens both in our personal life and at work. The next time remorse wants to be expressed, pause before responding. Is the situation worthy of an apology, such as if you offended someone? If so, admit the wrongdoing and make the apology heartfelt. If not, take “I’m sorry” out of the equation and make your point. When events are out of our control, such as an electricity outage preventing a completion of a project, forgiveness is not necessary.
We have the opportunity to reshape our remorse into something more positive. Instead of saying “I’m sorry” when running late, reword it to one of gratitude, such as “Thank you for your patience,” or “I appreciate you waiting for me.” This is more empowering because it acknowledges gratitude for the other person while keeping one’s dignity—it communicates respect for all parties involved. When we stop over-apologizing, we regain our power. And that goes for ourselves. Self-love is forgiving ourselves. No one is perfect and everyone has flaws. Let go of the negative and focus on your strengths. You are amazing just as you are.
Being Yourself is True Self-Love
You are an original. There is only one you, and you are here for a reason. Embrace all your quirks and imperfections because you are unique. Bring out your silly, crazy, wonderful self. Shine your light into the world and the world will shine back.
Find people who accept you as you are and love you know matter what. You will know you are truly loved for being you because you will not feel a need to be someone else when you are around them. They only want the best for you and are not jealous or envious of your achievements. A true friend is someone who lifts you up to blossom as your own unique flower, not a version of theirs.
Real friends have our backs and helps us through life’s challenges. They are there to support us even if they do not agree with our choices. They will speak their opinions but at the same time will honor ours. I am blessed to have friends who do, especially my life-long friend Michelle. She accepts me for me with all my flaws.
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself— and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to—letting a person be what he really is. — Jim Morrison, American singer, songwriter, poet
Be yourself. Express, do not hide, the real you. Seek your own journey, not chase someone else’s. When you embrace self-love, live your truth, and pursue your own internal compass, happiness will naturally present itself.
New possibilities and great opportunities exist when you accept you!