When’s the last time you stopped and asked yourself how you’re feeling? Seems like it’s been a while, huh? I can relate. Throughout our lifetime, we’ve been conditioned to ask others how they’re feeling without taking that dialogue and turning it inward.
For the past 25 years, I’ve been like you. I am a giver, just like you. I give to no end, and my boundaries are constantly tested. In the end, although I give all of my love, affection, and attention to others, it’s me who ends up with the most pain. My standards begin to deplete with every passing moment I try to make something work that should have ended a long time ago. I’m almost positive you feel the same way.
Being compassionate is not always an easy task, though we do it anyway. When someone needs us, we jump up and rush to their aid, just as a mother would do to a crying infant. Well, my fellow givers, why aren’t we doing that for ourselves? When we try to make a decision that’s beneficial for us and us only, we second guess ourselves, overthink, and then go back to the drawing board just to throw out the idea in the trash and move on to the next person that needs us. But in the midst of listening to the outcry of others, in the background, there’s a quiet voice inside of us begging for even a small ounce of our attention. That small voice deserves to be put first.
We don’t sit with ourselves when we’re sad. We don’t sleep when we’re exhausted. We don’t eat when we’re famished. We don’t encourage ourselves when we do our best. We don’t love ourselves when we need love.
If you haven’t heard it today, yesterday, or the month or even year before: You’ve done enough. You’ve done everything humanly possible, and probably then some, to help someone, but now it’s time to start helping yourself. Nothing is more satisfying than pure, genuine, and relentless self-love.
Self-love begins with finally making yourself a priority. This hasn’t always been an easy feat for me, let me tell you. Pouring love into yourself helps you pour love into others. You can’t water a garden with an empty can.
Self-love begins when you let go of self doubt. When someone feels unsure about your presence, make them feel sure about your absence. Don’t ever let someone’s inability to love you make you feel unlovable. You are worthy of respect, tenderness, and affection.
Self-love begins when you open yourself to new opportunities. There are going to be doors that suddenly open and then suddenly close, and it may be awhile for you to figure out which one best suits your needs. Take time to understand what you want and what you need to create a better future for you. Never compare yourself to someone else—what you’re seeing is their highlight reel, not their journey.
Finally, self-love begins with you. You can take what you’ve read and go on with how you’ve been living or you can take what you’ve read and begin to implement it in your everyday life. It all starts with the small voice inside of you. Take every moment of every day to celebrate you: your smile, your body, your accompaniments, your screw ups, all the things that make you unique. Fight for your dreams and take pride in your hardworking, kind, intelligent, silly, motivating, worrisome, and charismatic personalities.
There’s no one like you in this world. So go on, it’s time to put your name first on that list.