Loving Yourself for the Good, the Bad & Everything In-Between: Self Love and Self Confidence
What does it look like to truly love yourself? To truly embrace your full identity?
Imagine marriage. What does marriage signify to you? In my mind, it is a commitment between two people to love and embrace each other for everything that they are. This includes the good and the bad. It means loving them when they are being grumpy, stubborn, unkind, tired, disengaged, or annoying. It means that you love them even in the midst of all their short-comings… Because the truth is that we all have them.
It means displaying love and kindness on both good AND bad days. Because the struggles of life, the hardships, the trails, the journey - they are all inevitable. And someone’s willingness to go through these things with another human being shows commitment. It shows selflessness. It shows true, undeniable, brave, and fearless love.
This is true love. It’s the easiest way for me to define it. It is sacred, and it is necessary for a full and beautiful life. It can be shared in so much more than marriage - friendships, family, co-workers, strangers and most importantly with yourself.
When you truly love yourself, you bravely embrace your shortcomings
Love is SO much more than the beautiful moments - the moments that come with ease so effortlessly. Actually true love is built in the middle of the storm. It is built in hardship. When love is tested, this is when its foundation becomes stronger.
Learning to wholeheartedly love yourself is a journey. But we first have to define true love, and when it is defined as embracing one’s shortcomings, we have a little more work to do. It’s easy to love yourself for what you are good at - for what you appreciate and admire about yourself. It’s a completely different journey to learn to love yourself for your shortcomings.
It requires courage to embrace yourself at your worst
When you can look at your failure, doubt, insecurity, weakness, and shortcomings directly in the eye and still love the depths of who you are, you have learned to truly love yourself. To see yourself in the mirror with messy hair, a breakout and sweats and still think you are absolutely beautiful displays unconditional affection. When you are at your worst, you need yourself the most. You need your positive energy, encouragement, kindness and support. Like a friend would need you during tough times.
In outside relationships, it is an understood expectation to forgive each other, put up with each other’s shortcomings and work towards a healthy, fruitful relationship. We are quick to realize that everyone will have something they are working on, everyone experiences failure and everyone has a bad day. Yet we are so hard on ourselves for experiencing these hardships. We aren’t so understanding of our failure, our breakdown, or our weakness.
It’s time that we start loving ourselves - for better or worse!
Here are a few ways to truly, bravely and fearlessly love yourself for both the good and bad.
1|Have Grace for Imperfection
It’s time that we have the same grace for ourselves as we do for others. Failure is okay - it is an opportunity for growth. A bad day is okay - we all have them. A break-out is not only okay, but it is normal. It’s a part of life. Perfection does not exist. So, let’s stop holding ourselves to this unattainable standard. Your body is so much more than it’s shape - it carries you in strength and beauty every day.
Let’s stop having unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Let’s stop measuring ourselves against a standard that is not only twisted and unjust, but unattainable.
Related: Transforming the Ideal of Beauty
You are not measured by your weaknesses but by the bravery and confidence you display when things are tough. You are not expected to be perfect, never experience failure and have it all together. That’s simply not reality! Extend grace and kindness to yourself in moments of weakness.
2| Forgive Yourself - Constantly
Un-forgiveness harbors bitterness, and bitterness leads to a total shut-down. When we fall short, make a mistake, disappoint ourself, or have an epic fail, we have to extend forgiveness towards ourself. Like in a relationship with a friend or spouse, we have to look past the shortcoming in order to move forward stronger, more equipped and determined.
What would it look like if we didn’t hold on to our disappointment towards ourself? What would it look like if we looked failure in the eyes and said “No, you do not define me. I may have let myself down, but this is not who I am.” We get to choose forgiveness for ourself. We get to choose grace. Everyone needs it - so why do we see ourselves as some exception?
3| Choose the standard you want to live by - an attainable one
What society deems as “bad,” may in fact not be bad at all. When society creates a standard where success looks like being a millionaire, walking on the red carpet, having flawless skin, being the perfect weight and juggling multiple things at once so effortlessly, how can we ever attain success, beauty and cultural ideals?
We can’t. Not measuring by this standard.
Related: 2 Lies the Media Tells You
When the media conveys that beauty is defined by the standard of perfection - one body type, edited faces, bodies and personalities - we get to choose whether or not we live by this ideal. We get to choose what standard we live by. And a big part of loving yourself is choosing what you will and won’t be measured by.
Women should never be measured by the shape of their body or the texture of their skin
Women should be measured by attributes such as bravery, selflessness, courage, passion, heart, purpose, and authenticity.
Because your identity is not defined by what other people say. Your identity already lives inside of you. Your identity is strength and beauty.
The journey of true self-love is not effortless.
True love requires discipline, bravery, honesty, forgiveness, trust, kindness but most importantly patience. Be patient with yourself along the way. Extend grace, kindness and forgiveness your way. Because you deserve it. You deserve to be loved - by others - but also by yourself.
What are some practical ways that you like to practice self-love? Also, click here to get a free download of a sneak peek into the first volume of The Authentic Woman and get 20% off when you purchase the book!