All week I have been going back and forth on this subject, multiple written drafts only to come to a deep realisation within myself and my own journey that It doesn’t start with SELF LOVE. Self love can only be achieved once we have embarked on a much greater journey of SELF DISCOVERY. How can we love ourselves completely when we don’t actually know who we are?
Self love isn’t just about being happy and confident with our external image. It starts by understanding who our TRUE selves are within. We find ourselves acting as a person who we idolise as an image of perfection, so our true self becomes lost.
Before taking the first step, we must accept that this is a journey. For some it takes months, for some it takes years. In order to achieve it we must be committed to wanting to make this change. The journey ahead will be easier for some and not so easy for others but every step forward will allow you to understand your self worth and feel a sense of peacefulness and freedom you never knew existed.
in 2016, Dove Australia launched the LARGEST global study across 10,500 women in 13 different countries to find out their level of beauty confidence. What did they find? 80% of women in Australia hate the way they look, and that is only diving into a small portion of the stats (Dove article will be attached below for reference).
What does a study like this show us? That SELF LOVE and the understanding of WHO WE ARE is lacking at its highest and when that is lacking, we start to shape ourselves to become someone we no longer are. We have lost our identity in our true selves and we start to shape ourselves into someone different. We no longer work on nurturing our souls; we now construct an image of a person who we believe will bring us self love. We have stopped looking within ourselves for happiness but rather looking at society around us for validation to bring us that self love.
In order to start our SELF DISCOVERY JOURNEY we must:
1. Accept – Acceptance within anything is always the first step, but when it comes to self love acceptance isn’t as easy at it sounds – The moment we ACCEPT the need for change, we then accept that there is a deep root within us we have been trying to hide away from. By accepting our emotional ruin we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to having those emotions hurt and hurt may be the reason we suffer from self love in the beginning.
2. Find the root – Most of us have had a life experience or event that has made us build a wall around our emotions as a form of protection. As humans, this is what many of us do by default. In order to understand why we are the way we are, we must recognise and reflect on what has caused this in the first place.
One thing I always STAND STRONG on when speaking to people about finding that root is that we can try and run from it as much as we want, but the deep root within us we will always carry around. It is a crucial part of finding out the true reason that has set us off on our journey of masking our true self so that we can start to embrace the emotions to overcome them.
3. Embrace and release the emotions – For some, this may be the hardest step of our journey to embrace. The reason we are in this situation in the beginning is because it is easier to hide these feelings and not truly deal with them rather than feel them to overcome them.
It may be scary to embrace these emotions because you are finally feeling the pain in which you have hidden from. You may feel as though you are fragile, brittle and vulnerable. It is common for people to see vulnerability as a sign of weakness however this is not true! We must always remember that the strong stand in the storm and overcome it, the cowards are the ones who are afraid and run from it.
You are becoming stronger by standing through the storm.
So, how do we handle the emotions once they start to come forward and surface? We must be strong, face them and allow them to run their course in our lives otherwise they will always remain.
4. Understand the true meaning of life:
We must learn to understand that the true meaning of life is defined by; loyalty, respect, commitment, honesty, integrity, faithfulness and trust. We must look for these qualities within ourselves and once we have learnt to let them shine, we will truly understand the meaning of who we are. It is who we are that defines us, not what we have.
The world wants to tell us we are only beautiful if we have certain things, or look a certain way.
We unknowingly look to people such as celebrities for guidance because we think they have reached a level of success which must be the answer to a happy and fulfilling life. Because they can afford all the materialistic items they want, we think this means they are happy. We need to acknowledge and understand that materialism is not the answer to happiness.
Ask yourself what it is you are trying to achieve in life at the moment. Is it wealth, success, a perfect image? Are the ‘things’ you are trying to achieve in life just in fact.. ‘things’?
We must start to set our foundation of who we are around loyalty, respect, commitment, honesty, integrity and faithfulness. When we become a person who puts these values before a materialistic image of what we once thought defined happiness, we not only will gain the respect of others around us but the deep burden we carry within us will finally be set free.
* Dove stats can be found HERE