I woke up on Saturday with a cold sore in the right corner of my mouth. Gross. Besides being annoying and unappealing to look at it’s an indicator, my bodies way of telling me that I’ve been neglecting needs in my life that have become glaringly necessary. It’s a reminder that the chaos I allow to swirl around inside of me will find its way out one way or another. No one can play with broken strings.
A massage, new fuzzy socks, fresh mascara, a good meal….those are all nice things to do for yourself but those are surface items and actions that give us a check mark in the feel good column, a quick win and drops in our fulfillment buckets. I probably indulge in those things too often and most often when I feel like I’m missing “something” in my life. My little piece of real estate I call home feels more like me than anywhere has in a long, long, time, I have a job with nothing but opportunity, and I have the perfect mix of crazy and soul soothing people in my life and still in the midst of it all there are empty pockets where love belongs- where self love should be.
I’ve written before that while being alone has felt good at times it’s never really felt right. I love my autonomy and I’m not afraid to do things on my own or experience life in the drivers seat instead of the passengers. I’ve worked around and through my thoughts for years, maybe even my whole life to get to this place but what I have come to realize is that too much time in your own head is dangerous for anyone. There are some low, dark corners in our minds and if we aren’t practicing self love we won’t be able to see that our light still shines despite those spaces.
Self love isn’t about selfies in the bathroom mirror or in the most perfect, flawless lighting. It isn’t giving so much of yourself to others that you forget who you are. And, it isn’t being a placeholder in peoples lives because you think they need you. Self love is sawing through the chains on the anchors of the past that hold us back and it’s being ready to move forward faster than others and knowing that leaving people and situations behind isn’t rejection or abandonment but rather a brave act of personal growth. It’s the understanding and acceptance that who and where we are is a sum and total of our own choices and no matter what that’s all about, it’s ok because we have the power within us to change whatever it is that no longer allows us to be the best version ourselves. Self love is your job and not anyone else. No one, and I mean absolutely no fucking body is responsible for your happiness besides you. You want your happiness to grow? Then share yours with people and make them happy.
Self love doesn’t always have a pretty exterior. It can look like the biggest middle finger to those you set free. It can appear selfish when the boundaries you set exclude people who feel entitled to your time and energy. When you know your worth, double it, and add tax you will become too expensive for someone who only wants to invest enough to keep you as an option. And, the realization that you can’t fail at being yourself, will piss off anyone who hasn’t met themselves as deeply as you have met yourself. Loving yourself should feel as comfortable as your favorite hoodie and you should be snuggled up in it all the time.
I lose the ability to produce self love like I should when I question myself or my intuition or I put too much focus on the low, dark corners of doubt in my mind. Sometimes it’s because I’m tripping over what’s behind me or caught up on how I think things should be instead of simply living. I confuse the shit out of myself somedays and I lose focus on what’s real and what’s head trash. I’m allowed to be messy and feel complicated and afraid as long as I show up ready to try. I can be strong and soft, deep and lighthearted, beautiful and intelligent, confident and humble, quick witted with a cheap sense of humor, and I can be misunderstood without needing to explain myself. I’m gold….solid gold….and that doesn’t tarnish.
There are going to be days your favorite outfit betrays you, you won’t say the words you really mean and miss the opportunity you’ve been waiting for, your bra will be more comfy than the stupid shoes you wore, and every smile feels forced. On those days in particular love yourself just a little more. Take a minute to enjoy the way cream swirls in your coffee. Get lost thinking about how much you mean to someone. Smile for reasons you have forgotten. Take a moment to realize you’re living a dream you forget you’re in most days. And, most importantly, look back on the days you loved yourself the most- who you were around and what you were doing and then rinse and repeat.