She describes her current relationship as being the best she’s ever experienced. She talks about being fully accepted for who and what she is. She speaks freely not worrying about being judged or condemned. She knows she’s unconditionally accepted. She’s in love.
She says this love is what she’s been searching and waiting for.
And she’s talking about herself.
As a Caribbean woman of color, I was not raised to first love me. See myself. Or treasure myself. Most of you can probably agree to some degree, we often are socialized to project our worth on our love interests and in our relationships.
I didn’t see any flaw in this line of thinking until I paid attention to the temporary nature of relationships. What happens after he leaves, or friendships dissolve? I’m left with me and the shambles. And if I’m not careful, I cannot tell the difference.
A few years ago, I came to a standstill with myself. I had to decide if I wanted to continue living for others and their comfort, or begin to live for myself. And the more I fell in love with me, the more friendships I lost. This wasn’t a bad thing, it was a necessity. We live in a world where self hate is promoted. We find that seeking validation through social media platforms is acceptable but don’t you dare develop the ability to love yourself without the validation from others.
I have come to understand, all the “likes” in the world cannot help you love yourself. All the compliments on a picture will not redefine who you are or solidify who you are. Everything you need comes within.
And as much as I hate to admit, some of the people closest to you will start to distance themselves the more you tap into yourself. There’s an intimidation you make them feel when you fully immerse into your inherent qualities and appreciate all that is you. There is a freedom that comes with disassociating yourself from anything or anyone who threatens/stands in the way of self love. Valuing yourself doesn’t stop with the relationships you have, it’s in the job you have, the way you treat your body with what you consume, the music you listen to, the literature you read, the list goes on and on. It means you no longer apologize or cower to others’ idea of normal. It means being unapologetically you and embracing your anomalies.
There are days I still vacillate between being my biggest supporter and my harshest critic. When this happens, I know it’s time to reset, recharge, and replenish. Breaking the covenant I unconsciously made with myself of not being nor feeling good enough is a constant struggle. I trained myself to view my worth through how others see me for the longest, without realizing this is the quickest way to self-destruct. Most people are fighting with their own demons, and because they’re miserable, they cannot possibly show up for you in the way you deserve. It becomes this toxic ass relationship of demeaning and degrading yourself to sustain a bond that is infectious to our view of self. The outcome becomes placing people and ourselves in these compromising conditions rather than giving them permission and permission to ourselves, to truly embrace who we are.
How can we stop this?
This can only be mitigated through knowing yourself. This is an ongoing process. Because we are ever changing, it’s absolutely paramount, we date ourselves. This means alone time. We do not need the noise of others to drown out our voice or thoughts. Television is a distraction. Social media is a distraction. Sometimes, we must unplug from the outside world to recharge, replenish, and restore. And anyone who takes issue with that is most likely a stranger to themselves. To reach optimal joy and peace is to know you, is to be so familiar with you, that no one can shatter or threaten your confidence. Society purposely puts out literature, visuals, and rhetoric that contradicts knowing yourself because when you are in a state of doubt, you assume traits or tangible items to try to “fit in” to be accepted. When you accept yourself without apology, that is the anomaly and often frees you from any bondage to societal pressures. You do not need permission from others to be great. You’re already on your way.
You do not need permission from others when to bloom. You’ve already blossomed. You do not need others’ opinions as to when you should come. You have already arrived.
I implore you to reconnect to yourself by doing things that make you happy. The happier you are alone, the more likely you are to attract others with the same internal joy and mindset, which gives way to healthy lasting friendships and continued peace.
Loyalty to your standards/morals/values,
Opening up to new possibilities,
Veer away from negative people/things
Evolving without apology.