Life is too short to wake up every morning, not loving the body you are in. Today, we will be talking about self love.
Self love to me means, “Loving myself as I am, while working towards the best version I can be“. Most people who have been with me in the past decade, have watched me go from normal weight to being overweight, going down to being underweight before finally getting to where I am. I knew I was fat and I knew I was real slim, but I promise you one thing, at no point in time did I ever think I was ugly or unworthy.
Weight and worth are two different things, and it’s sad that, we have become accustomed to using them synonymously.
Some people say, you can’t teach someone to love them self, I’d argue that self love can be taught if the person is willing to learn. You have to be willing to put in the work it takes, and it is not easy, but ultimately worth it.
Self love, acceptance and self esteem are all intertwined, because, when you accept yourself as you are, you begin to love yourself as you are, and that in itself, is a self esteem booster.
I will say this though, it is easier to raise a child with those qualities than to teach an adult those qualities. I’d explain.
As a child, I grew up seeing my mother dress up everyday, and say to herself, “I look beautiful today“; and as we got older, when she got dressed up, she’d look to us and ask, “don’t I look beautiful today“. Whenever my siblings and I try to have a little fun with her and pause before answering, she goes ahead and says, “don’t worry, even if you don’t say it, I know I look beautiful”. And with that, I learnt at a young age, you decide what you are for yourself, and after that, what people say wouldn’t matter because you have defined your own narrative.
Growing up, I was no beauty queen as you can see from the image above. And for some reason, adults would say things like, “oh, she’s the ugly one of the house“. I mean, I was just a little girl. To this day, it repulses me to see grown folks look at the body of a child, God has created with all of its perfect imperfections and label it, “ugly”. If you are one of those who look at other people’s children and tell them they are ugly, please stop it. Granted, not everyone is a beauty queen, but you don’t get to decide who is or is not a tree monster.
Anyway, the point is, my mum would always rise up to my defense, saying I was a beautiful girl, her daughter is beautiful. She didn’t say, I was the most the most beautiful girl, she wasn’t comparing me to any other person, she simply implied, I-as I am, is beautiful; just that. As children, we are often garnering for our parent’s approval, their opinion matters above all else. So, if Aunty Sade calls me ugly, and my mother who feeds me, clothes me, is my solace, calls me beautiful and affirms it for me, whose words do you think will take up more space in my head. Obviously, my mum’s.
A lot of issues with self esteem can be traced back to childhood, hence the above narrative. That being said, other things do come into play, like the person’s personality, traumas experienced, child abuse, mental illness; all of this can factor into having low self esteem and lacking self love: it’s not just a linear angle.
Today’s post simply focuses on what self love is, and how we can raise children to grow up loving the bodies they are in.
Another important thing is, every child has his strength, play up those strengths. If a child is loud or rambunctious, find an activity in which the child can turn those traits into good use. I mean, in primary school, I was the child teachers reported to my mum as a “talkative”, which in my defense, they just always caught me when I was talking; not that I was a talkative. Anyway, that loud talkative, ended up being the school’s newscaster and representing the school at debates.
I know someone is reading and saying to them self, “what is this girl smoking? We are Nigerians and we don’t have these issues”. And I say this with all seriousness, you will be astounded by the amount of people who wake up everyday, picking at the different parts of their bodies that they just can’t stand; the amount of people struggling with low self esteem, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. But then again, sadly, some people don’t even believe mental illnesses exist; but I digress.
There is still so much I haven’t touched- the causes of low self esteem, its effect, how to love yourself again; One post is just not enough. So, if you’d like to read more on self love/acceptance or if you have any question with regards today’s post, don’t forget to drop it in the comments section below. Also, if you haven’t subscribed yet, what you waiting for?
On that note, see you next time. Wishing you lots of love, laughter and of course loads of coffee ❤️.