How much do you love yourself? Such a simple question yet one we all have struggled with from time to time. Now that “self love” and “self care” have almost, and by almost I mean most definitely, become buzz words in many of our social circles, it is now far too easy to merely gloss over truly loving ourselves. I mean after all, why would any of us actually want to take the time and effort to care for and love ourselves when we can instead add self care phrases as hashtags and captions to our next social media post?
“…in many ways it may be easy for us to fall into the trap of giving love to, and seeking love from, all the wrong places outside of ourselves.”
Right now though, I want you to take a second to really reflect on these two questions, “how much do I love myself” and “in what ways do I continuously show up for myself”. What did you come up with? In the spirit of loving ourselves, maybe say your answers out loud, or even perhaps write them down for you to revisit again the next time you reflect on such questions. For those of you who may have simply read over those words, I gently nudge you to actually take a moment for this self reflection. Carve out time in this safe space to check in with yourself. In a world that constantly demands your time, energy, attention, and so much more, you owe it to yourself to take just as much, if not more, time out to evaluate your heart and all the beautifully amazing things going on inside of you. Because hidden in the depths of spaces you may rather ignore, there often lives an abundance of self love just waiting for you to say yes and tap in.
“Use your own power to cultivate a sense of self awareness that can help you realize when you are putting your feelings, desires, and needs behind those of others.”
Sitting back and reflecting on this for myself I realized that I don’t always like my answers. As a lover and helpless romantic I love going big for those I love. Always willing to go above and beyond for others, I now question why that same drive and determination hasn’t always poured over into cultivating my own wellbeing. While I am willing to bet that so many of us have felt this way at one time or another, I believe that it flows a bit deeper for us queer folx of color. In some ways we may find ourselves trying to overcompensate our expression of love to others in a subconscious attempt to make up for what we ourselves may feel we have been robbed of. Whether its due to not being accepted as we are because of our orientation and gender expression, or simply the many anxieties that come with being Black and Brown bodied individuals, in many ways it may be easy for us to fall into the trap of giving love to, and seeking love from, all the wrong places outside of ourselves.
Though this may be true for many of us, as these feelings begin to rear their ugly little heads in the smallest of ways, recognize this possible continued unbalanced expression of love. Use your own power to cultivate a sense of self awareness that can help you realize when you are putting your feelings, desires, and needs behind those of others. In short, these moments can help you realize the truth of how you may not be loving yourself as passionately as you think you are. Forced to accept these harsh realities, love should no longer be something you encourage in others, only to neglect it within yourself. Today, as you are here reading these words, I assure you that you can decide to reevaluate the ways in which you fall short in loving yourself. It is time to start taking your love of self to higher heights and deeper depths as you remember that not loving you is a grave injustice to yourself, and that dear reader, is a terrible injustice to the world.
So here is to continued personal growth and development, and to turning self love and self care back into action, instead of having them only exist as good ideas for tomorrow’s Instagram post. I too am learning to love myself everyday, and I hope that you can remember to take out time to love yourself throughout your day too. Remembering that the melanin in your skin is beautiful, and the expression of your gender is nobody’s business but your own, know that you are worthy of the best love in existence. So get up and go turn those hashtags into solo dates, candlelit baths, and a splash of self confidence to match. You choose your own vibe, just make sure it’s done in love.