How to Love Yourself, So You Don't Have To Rely On Someone To Do It For You
A few years ago, if someone had said to me "you love yourself, don't you?" I would've been thoroughly disgusted, only to scream "No!" at the person who asked.
Because apparently, back then, "loving yourself" was frowned upon, it meant you were obnoxious, "up yourself" and conceited. Well, it's 2019 huns and it's time to start loving yourself. Another big mistake of the past Jodie is that she always thought that she could fix her insecurities with having someone else love her, so that she would never have to come to terms with the fact that she didn't love herself and she would never have to admit that to herself.
But eventually, those cracks show and things breakdown and then you go back to square one, where you are left with absolutely no choice but to sit yourself down, have a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself what the f*** you are playing at. So I did exactly that. I realised that I had a problem, and that if I didn't start actively making changes to my life then life was just going to pass me by. So when I was learning to love myself, I had to drop a lot of things. I had to write lists, I wrote blogs, I called my friends, I spoke to my family. I had to leave people in the past, I had to say no. I did more research than Isaac Newton. And that's how dedicated I was. Because from my past I realise I cannot EVER expect someone to love me, if I do not love myself.
I had heard that saying before "If you don't love yourself, nobody else will ever love you" and I just thought it was another one of those annoying stock quotes, but the more and more I heard it, it dawned on me. Yes if you love yourself, it will aid in somebody elses love, but it will also set boundaries for what you are willing to accept in a relationship, and what you aren't willing to accept. So below are 6 strategies I first used in the journey to loving myself.
1. Focus on you!
People are selfish. So, why shouldn't you be?
People will say they want you to do this and that for them, and because of the lovely person you are, you will start to or continue to, perhaps, do the things they ask of you. At first, you feel great - making other people smile, makes you smile too.
But...in the long run?
You're just ignoring the fact that you need care and attention FIRST. You are your main priority. I know I say this in nearly all my blogs - but who do you spend the most amount of time with? Yourself.
So, focus on your goddamn self because I'm telling you now (in case you've not realised), people are selfish and they are only out for themselves, this is the bottom line.
Now, I'm not saying fight fire with fire, because let's be honest, has an argument ever been solved with more arguing? Has a fire actually ever been put out with fire? No it hasn't. (Unless you've actually tried it, and in that case you are a lot more *special* than I thought).
So, please understand that my suggestion is NOT to be selfish, where you are inconsiderate to others, because making others feel good is also a part of self-love, it shows confidence and vulnerability (the good kind, it's a sign of strength to be completely vulnerable with another human being).
My suggestion is simply to make yourself your first and foremost priority.
Yes, this includes putting yourself before your boyfriend, if he's a good one, he'll understand and he'd want the same for himself, by the way. I don't want to see NONE of you buying them a brand new iPad before you've even been able to pay your rent money for the month.
NONE. OF. YOU.
Yes, this also means putting yourself, your well being, your mental health, over your job. Even if it is your dream career, even if your manager doesn't understand that sometimes you get down, take a goddamn day off and let yourself rest.
NOTHING is more important than yourself, do you hear me?
Not money, not your boyfriend (who is probably speaking to other girls behind your back, sorry!), not your career, nothing.
Realise now how replaceable things are. What's not replaceable? You.
2. Do not give in to pressure or guilt
This is one of my main downfalls. If someone I deeply care about pulls the puppy eyes at me, I'm like putty in their hands.
I just simply cannot say no to some people.
I'm often made to feel guilty about my own decisions, that I have made, by myself, for myself. But recently, I have stopped being so apologetic because at the end of the day, every day I am understanding more and more, that I really HAVE to do what's right for me.
If I had not realised this, I would've continued going about my daily life thinking that seeing other people's smiles was more important than seeing my own smile, and I would've just based my whole life on letting other people decide my future for me.
And that's the honest truth, I kept telling myself that I was such a kind person and putting other peoples wants and needs before my own, would secure me a place in heaven. (Not that I'm religious, but you get the jist).
I just thought that was the good thing to do, and I so desperately wanted to be a good person.
But what I didn't realise until recently, is that you can be SUCH a good person, doing acts of kindness for others, being there for them in times of need, etc, but you can still be your own first priority, and you can put self love at the very top of your daily "to do" list.
So, the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty about something, there is no need to be hostile (because that will only reflect on you and make you feel bad) but you can proudly say to them "I understand your feelings, but I hope you can also understand that I have to do what is right for me". And then go about your day and give no apologies.
3. Realise your own strength
It wasn't the time I pinned my little brother up against a wall when I was 12 that I realised my own strength, although I was pretty proud.
It wasn't the time I had to put an end to something that I wanted to work so badly, that I realised my strength, and it wasn't the time that I got bullied but laughed along with the bullies, that I realised.
I realised my strength when I had to pick myself up mentally from a deep, dark place and I had nobody to help me. I realised how strong I was when I realised that nobody else has got me, like I've got myself. And ever since I realised my own strength, I've NEVER needed anybody else - wanted, yes, but never needed anyone bar myself.
I trust myself entirely, I trust my intuition, my gut instincts and I trust my ability to pick up on negative vibes. I'm not entirely sure if that is something I've self taught as I do study people A LOT, I look at their facial expressions, body language, how they speak and how they look at me whilst they are talking. I also ask questions that cause exposure, and sometimes they can be a bit forward - but then I know if the vibes are right or not. I mention this because a few years ago I wouldn't really have any knowledge of bad people. I just assumed everyone was innocent until proven guilty , and even if they had been proven guilty, they'd still hold a place in my life - as I just simply could not turn my back on people. I guess you could call it being naive. But now, although I like to remain positive and I still like to always gravitate towards the good in people, and believe that people are mostly good, I can make an assertive decision to chuck them out of my life if they are serving me no purpose.
4. Do not compete
Yes, we are all guilty of this. Men and women. I always want to keep drumming this into my readers minds, as this is another thing that makes a feature on nearly all my blog entries, that we are all different and therefore non-comparable. It sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud - you cannot compare someone who works part time in a supermarket, who's had a child, who suffers with acne, to a multi-millionaire who has access to countless plastic surgeons, personal trainers, diet plans and nannies. Sounds f***king ridiculous right, because how are these two kinds of people comparable in any way?
However, some of us are so insecure in ourselves that we even compete with people who are closer to us in aspects of lifestyle, salary, and looks. It really makes no difference, we are still non-comparable as we are all different. You are in competition with yourself, nobody else, that's why we practice self care and self love, in order to become a better person than we were yesterday and that's why we do not compete with anybody else.
5. Stand up for yourself
If anyone knows what it feels like to be walked over, afraid to talk and defend myself and just overall let people lay into me with no backlash, it's me. I wouldn't say boo to a goose, I was a perfect target for anyone who wanted to say what they wanted and get away with it.
I wouldn't stand up for myself because I was so worn down by other people that I just thought that was what I deserved.
But when I got older and I spent a lot more time on my own, I realised that I meant more to myself than letting people say or do cruel things to me, especially as I had taken the time to really get to know myself and learn about how I expected people to treat me. That's why now, I preach about the fact that I am nice to people until they are horrible to me. That is my mantra in life, I am a very loving person, I have all the love and time to give people who are nice and reflect that side of my nature. But I also have a defensive side, if you are unkind or nasty to me, I will reflect your behaviour. That's just me and that's how I wanted to be when I was younger, so it feels good to say that is now me.
6. Credit yourself where credit is due
It's actually crazy how much we normalise not very normal things. Also known as, discrediting yourself.
Not everybody has the chance to get up in the morning and go to work and earn money - and that is a creditable action because it takes time and effort to land yourself a job, it also takes an employer to see true potential in you as an individual for them to have hired you, go you!
Credit is so important - and it's so much more important coming from yourself. When I complete a blog post, it is such a great feeling and bloggers will know exactly how I feel. But just like any achievement, getting that sense of accomplishment is the best feeling in the world, the feeling of progress is one to die for. So, the next time you do something amazing, or even something you've been putting off for a while, credit yourself. Tell yourself you are amazing, because your achievements, no matter big or small, are something to be celebrated. Treat yourself good, that's an order.