The Power of Loving Myself

It's self-love week around here next week, as February is themed "Be Wildly Loving." 

Self-love is complicated, isn't it?

I used to be quite the faker. I'd coach others in the area of loving themselves, without having done the real work of loving myself. An underlying theme for me was "I'm not enough" and "I'm not worthy". I was afraid to admit this -- even to myself. I felt ashamed that I was portraying myself as a self-confident, empowered woman when on the inside I kept wondering if people would somehow accidentally get a glimpse of the real me.

At some point, I got real. I examined my perceived flaws with a microscope. I got curious about the truth. I looked into my negative self-talk about my body. My body looks nothing like the typical standard of beauty. When I saw photos of myself, I cringed. Am I really this fat? 

self-love

Then I thought about the way my husband loves me and my body. I knew he found me to be sexy, because he proved it every single day by showing his desire for me. I wondered how it could be that even in the face of proof, I remained disgusted with my body. Then, I began to seek a way to be grateful for the body I was given -- the way it wakes up every day and carries my heart and soul around so I can do the things I get to do. I began to look at other women, realizing they are carrying their own fears and negative body issues, even though they are a different size than I am.

I started catching my inner critic right during the act of tearing me down and giving her the proverbial finger. I began rejecting my programming realizing I get to decide what I believe and how I feel.

I counted the things I'm great at and discounted the areas where I'm deficient because I know I can't be all things. My awareness and reliance on my true talents grew. 

I still catch myself trash-talking. I still get consumed by the thought that I'm not worthy at times. Sometimes I get trapped in the comparing of myself to others, finding myself lacking. Because I'm human and flawed.

And yet, I'm perfectly imperfect, just the way I was created to be. My flaws make me original, just as my gifts and experience combine to make me unique.

I now know I can love myself in spite of the inner critic voice, the comparing, and the false belief that I'm somehow less-than what I need to be. I know it's not arrogant like I was taught growing up. I'm not being 'conceited'. 

I'm much more lovable to others when I am actively loving myself, and I now see the power in letting go of self-degradation and self-loathing.