3 Ways to Love Being You

'Be Yourself' is one of those well-intentioned cliches offered as advice to us in numerous situations. I remember getting so irritated by it when I was recovering because even though I wasn't even sure who 'myself' was, I was pretty sure I hated her, she was the f*cking worst in my conditioned opinion. The complete disregard I had for myself made being that person the absolute last thing I wanted to do. 

Fast forward to full recovery and freedom and I'm delighted to realise that the only conflict I've felt within myself recently stemmed from thinking I'd potentially 'have to' compromise who I now know myself to be. 

I am finally so happy with being myself and everything that means to me, that not owning and loving that person would now feel utterly unjust. Which my old self might see as big-headed or arrogant, but realistically, if we cannot find a way to own and love who we are, how are we supposed to enjoy this journey of life we are on with ourselves?

Getting to this point, has been a tremendously transformative journey and it's one I'd encourage everyone to go through. I wholeheartedly believe that the absolute absent sense of self that I held was a massive contributing factor to my challenges for years. 

So now, enjoying my emancipation from the conflict of incongruence, ignorance and disconnection, I want to share what I've learned along the way. 

How can you love being you too?

1. WHO ARE YOU?

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.”
– Mary Dunbar

My least favourite question in the past, but probably one of the more pivotal ones underpinning my exploration of my true self. I know this question sucks and I know it's tempting to answer it with a bunch of facts like your name, age and hometown. But giving time to it is essential in discovering what makes you, YOU. We can consider qualities and values and stuff too but for now, begin considering even what you like, what are your interests, what do you enjoy doing. Get curious about yourself. What lights you up? What are your favourite things? What do you like about other people?

Heighten your awareness of the substance within you. How are you with others? What do you care about? What do you dream about? What matters to you? When do you feel most free? 

Engage that inquisitive introspection as you go about your day. Notice if your instinct is to smile at others when you make eye contact, if you hold doors open and say thank you, if you've planned what you're going to do for the day, if you listen effectively, if you get an urge to do something, what is it? Gather information about yourself with a focus on positive aspects, actions and interactions, and bit by bit you'll harness an understanding of what makes up the person you are.

2. STOP COMPARING

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
- Malcolm S. Forbes

We know this. I've written about this. Yet putting this perception into practice can present challenges, I get it. I realised I was doing it only recently, I was comparing myself to all the 'professional' coaches stressing over how I need to be more like them when really I just needed to be more like me. This is the thing, everytime we compare ourselves to others we are denying who we are. What was most important about this realisation is the actual value of being me - I have something to offer that no other coach has directly because of who I am, the life I've lived, the lessons learnt, the mindset, the compassion, the perspective that I uniquely have. That is gold. 

Everything that culminates to create who we are is of irreplaceable valuable.

We will never be anyone else. I have put myself through so much trying to accomplish this - trying to fit in, to be skinnier, to be 'better', to be more outgoing. Even thinking about it now makes my stomach sink because I was so ashamed to let myself be me, I would literally engage in consistent self destructive behaviours to try not to be. It actually upsets me thinking of that poor girl who believed so deeply that she was not enough and was always trying to be so like and liked by others that she never gave herself the chance to enjoy who she really was. 

I don't want anyone to have to experience that.

You are who you are for a reason. I don't want to add in more cliches but I cannot emphasise enough how amazing it is that you are who are. This unique incredible human who the world needs. It may be scary to own that right now, but believe me, the moment you do, your world will change.

Catch the comparisons as they come up and disarm them. Affirm that being you is a gift you are now reaping the benefits of. Honour who you are and focus on that instead of everyone else.

3. COMMIT

“You're always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
– Diane Von Furstenberg

One of the crucial elements of loving ourselves is of course, wanting to. If you don't really want to love yourself, you can skip out on the work needing to be done and live a life hustling for your worth, shape-shifting to fit in and taking this miserable misalignment out on yourself.

That's not a great way to spend this one opportunity of life we have so here's the other option: Commit to caring about this. Choose to make this a priority. 

We are our only constant. Every step of this wonderful journey, who's there? You. 

Envisage the ideal partner to embark on life's journey with. That's who you need to be for yourself. For me, that means being respectful, patient, supportive, compassionate, nurturing, trustworthy, reliable, fun. It means celebrating and showing up for myself. And that's what I am committed to, because when I was committed to battling, berating and belittling my only lifelong travel comrade, I abhorred the whole journey. 

This journey is our life. Hating it is wasting it. Dare to live it instead, dare to love it, dare to treat yourself the way you would want to be treated if you were on this path with anyone else.

Be the person you would want to spend your life with. Find ways to appreciate yourself, do nice things for yourself, be there for yourself. This is the eternal commitment we need to make.

***

Loving who we are is not an overnight process. Consistently choosing to commit to this process is our catalyst to cultivating it. I would love to continue this conversation and explore the many more ways we can learn to love who we are, so if you have any questions, comment below and I'll address them in my next post which will go further into our values and how living in alignment with them boosts our self love and cements a strengthened sense of self.


image by Designecologist

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