Michelle is no stranger to suddenly changing directions in her life allowing her to get to know herself deeply and experiencing new things.
So you've started a self-love journey..
So you've started a self-love journey. First, I AM PROUD OF YOU for taking the first step towards personal freedom. Second, it can get hard along the way, sometimes feeling like the journey has been conquered only to be ambushed with more insecurities, emotional reactions, and toxic behaviors. "But I've been working on loving myself for a whole year! What am I doing wrong?", you ask yourself struggling to find the answers and slowly losing hope.
I started my self-love journey on April 27th, 2019. This was the day I quit smoking cigarettes and the first time I had truly dedicated myself to my health.
My childhood backstory
Growing up, I was bullied on a daily basis. Not just by my classmates and neighborhood peers, but also by my own family. I was forced into activities I didn't want to participate in due to my anxiety, I was mocked for wearing sweaters and pants in the summer, was constantly reminded about my grandiose appetite and my body size was a daily joke. At 12 years old, I was taught that I wasn't good enough exactly as I was. I had to change to fit the mold. Fit the box of society.
As I grew up, that feeling of needing to be someone else to be accepted stuck with me deep in my core. I was always big-hearted but I became an unhealthy people pleaser. I needed to be liked and accepted. I needed the validation I never got as a child. I accepted abuse and toxic treatment just to feel loved and not be left alone. I gave up in arguments, let the manipulation slide and let people convince me I was wrong. I doubted myself constantly. I was silenced early and never knew how to find my voice. I drowned in depression and an image dysmorphia. I had no clue who I was anymore. Every time I looked in the mirror I just saw a stranger in pain who I was powerless to help. I felt suffocated by my world with no exit in sight.
The start of my healing journey
April 2019, I had been living on my own with my girls for a while. I engaged in and left a few toxic relationships. Quit smoking as the first step of my healing and self-love journey. In September 2019, I started a small reselling business, started an Instagram page to push past my anxiety, and discussed my truth in weekly videos. I thought I had it all figured out.
I relied on tarot guidance to learn more about myself and to guide me through the beginning of my healing. Mixed with motivational videos focusing more on things that made me happy. This path helped me make better choices, stand up for myself more often, choose myself when I needed to, and set up boundaries. I can imagine your face right now, WOW. It wasn't easy I promise you. I had to let go of a lot of people and relationships. I had to piss off a lot of people too. Funny the tantrums I was faced with that would be avoided in the past at all costs even if it meant my unhappiness. I cried every day having to unlearn old false beliefs and retrain my mind with new ones through self-talk and meditation. I found myself alone most of the time. It felt like my entire life was falling apart around me. Then I came upon a quote, "If your life feels like it's burning up around you, you're doing something right". I mean, how do you build a new life without burning up the old one? Of course, you can keep all the good stuff, but the old habits, beliefs, and patterns need to go even if they're attached to people. If those people are meant for you, they will follow and keep up with you on your new path.
I started looking in the mirror more. Bit by bit, I could recognize the person in front of me. I was finally letting my true self shine and she made me happy. I was kinder to myself and my imperfections. I was more accepting of my uniqueness. I would smile to myself and tell myself that I am strong, beautiful, and worth it. I was valued and appreciated if not by anyone else, by myself, and THAT mattered more than anything else.
But every journey is met with obstacles, with demons, with ignorance, judgments, and opinions. I have found myself breaking down over simple words. Found myself second-guessing myself when my online posts wouldn't get that much attention. Stressing over my lack of skills in my business. Comparing myself to others consistently tampering with my growth. I felt lonely a lot of the time and felt sad over being alone.
"I must not love myself if I am still struggling", I thought.
When you finally see the results of your hard work
But then something would happen. I would approach my problems differently. Faster and more efficiently. I would succeed in bringing myself back to a positive and loving mindset towards myself. I would walk away from situations that didn't serve my highest good. I would talk about my setbacks. I would notice a shift in the way I think. I wouldn't tolerate my anxious thoughts and would engage in activities to build myself up instead. I took more social media breaks. I surrounded myself with people who understood. I would stop doing things that didn't feed my soul and find something else. I pushed myself past the doubts. I stood up to my own inner fear and demons with confidence. When I got lost on my path, I would stop, take a minute to breathe, and remember the guideline I started with. Stand in my truth, be honest, share my love, spread awareness, and help others.
These are the moments to keep an eye open for. These are the tiny mirror moments that reflect back to you your progress on your journey.
We are human. We are not perfect. We WILL stress, doubt, and fear. But when you love yourself, you answer differently. You approach differently. You heal differently. You rise up differently.
Do you love yourself yet?
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Who deserves most of your love?
Interpreting Your Score
If you got 0 correct answers: Your self-love journey starts now! Do something you love!
If you got 1 correct answer: Congratulations! You absolutely love yourself!
© 2021 Michelle Brady
Dr Billy Kidd from Sydney, Australia on March 25, 2021:
Progress? You feel good.