I know I’ve written many times, not just here but in other places, about the importance of self worth and self love. For many people, knowing their worth and believing in themselves, seems like a distant notion. Everybody takes their own journey towards learning to love themselves, but it can seem an impossible thing to achieve in a world where people’s worth seems to be attached to so many consumerist things. Like how much money you have, where you live, what clothes you’re wearing, who you know, whether you have the latest technology, and so on. Those of us who are happy and secure within ourselves know that having things is not the path to happiness.
I know I’m privileged in many ways – I have a roof over my head, I’ve had an education, I was raised to believe that I could achieve whatever I wanted to achieve. I’ve never felt the pain and uncertainty of living on the streets or of knowing what its like to live in a war torn country. The secret of happiness, even though its a real cliche, is to be thankful for what you do have. Knowing that you have friends and family (or that your friends are your family), that you can be your own best friend, that there will always be good and bad days, but that we have one life and we have to live it. Time isn’t limitless, and if you’re always putting something off, now is the time to try it.
Last year, I learnt to be more fearless and to take more chances, and I always feel better for it. If you’re a shy person, like me, then you know how crippling it can be to just say yes to meeting people you haven’t met before (like a crowd of bloggers). I said yes to meeting a group of bloggers in February this year, and I’m looking forward to it. For me, it feels as if it will be life affirming, to meet so many inspiring writers and bloggers in one place. Maybe a year ago, I would have been frightened to say yes. Its only taken me 26 years to do battle with my shyness!
It does take a long time to look in the mirror and see your good points, rather than your bad points. I still have days when I put myself down because I have PCOS which sometimes equals a lot of unwanted dark hair on my face, or I have days when I feel bloated and tired, with bags under my eyes. But there are ways to feel better – wash your face, clean your teeth and put your favourite clothes on. A spritz of your favourite fragrance, or a cup of tea or some chocolate (or both!). Life isn’t about what’s in the mirror – its about how you feel. I know it can be lovely to feel properly put together – I am a fashionista after all. But I know it isn’t everything.
I think what makes people feel good is looking after themselves – emotionally, intellectually and physically. I don’t mean becoming a gym bunny (although, if that’s your thing, go ahead!), just making yourself feel good, finding what makes you feel good about yourself. Learning to love yourself is often the hardest thing ever where ‘self love’ is sold as the latest thing. For me, its often the simple things that make me feel good – music, taking photos, writing, a cup of tea, a good book, some flowers, going for a walk in the park, reading and writing emails. Take things for granted less, and they will become more valuable. Look for the beauty in everything, even the hard moments.
For women and girls, learning to love yourself is one of the hardest things some of us have to learn. We get so many mixed messages – that all bodies in all shapes and sizes are beautiful but you must be on a constant diet, that you’re beautiful but need this lotion to be more beautiful, that you can achieve whatever you want, but mustn’t be too loud, too opinionated or too self assured. If we do something exciting or good, we’re made to feel guilty, and apologise for doing something amazing. There’s nothing wrong with congratulating yourself and letting your achievements make you feel good about yourself. Life is too short to spend it feeling guilty for achieving something incredible! Whether its making something (food, clothes, writing, art, whatever) or passing a test, they are your achievements and you worked hard for them.
I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains. ~ Anne Frank.