Thursday, 11 June 2015

On Self Love and Self Esteem

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” 

Over the past year, but specifically since entering into 2015, I've been doing some serious soul searching.  I turned 24 in March and in the run up to that I've achieved a lot of the milestones that I set myself: complete my BA, complete my masters of science, move into a new home and get a job. 

But one thing that I've continually forgotten to work on is my self esteem.

It's not really even a case of forgetting, more like serve repression. Focusing on learning self love and actively working on your self esteem requires a lot of work and emotional strength. It was strength that last summer I just did not have. My relationship with the boy who was my first true love ended abruptly and it broke me. Dealing with the heartache left me with no room or desire to work on myself. I've always valued my self esteem on my boyfriend and so if somebody I loved so deeply didn't want to be with me, what did that say about myself?

Finally I'm learning that this is not a productive way to live my life. 

For almost as long as I can remember I've let my low self worth rule my life. From the people I dated and how I behaved in relationships, to the way I dressed, my self esteem has affected every part of my life. I shied away from wearing anything that would show off my arms because I hated how they looked. I settled in a relationship which realistically should have never gone on for as long as it did. Because of my low self esteem I've always held back in life, missing out chances to meet people, not being bold or brave enough.

A lot of these realisations are linked to the fact that we are creeping up to my 4 year anniversary of being self harm free. It's a huge milestone and I want to approach it knowing that I'm actively bettering my life, because if I don't then the danger of relapse remains. Dealing with self esteem issues, is a hidden struggle just in the same way as self harm or an eating disorder or any other type of mental illness. To the outside eye everything looks fine but the internal struggle is great. Sometimes it feels like you're drowning in your overwhelming emotions but nobody can see.

However, since January I've begun my long journey of self love. It's a self prescribed  mixture of exercise, eating burgers and cake, spending time with amazing friends and spending time alone.

I've found such a joy in exercise I almost have to laugh at the absurdity of it. If you'd told me 5 months ago that I'd be enjoying 5 kilometer runs I'd have laughed in your face. But I get such a sense of freedom running outside and knowing I'm in control of my body is such a powerful feeling. I'm not going to end up looking like a Victoria Secret model, I love food too much, but running is such great medicine for my tired and overwrought mind. It gives me 30 minutes to shut everything out and focus on what's ahead of me. It's the best medicine that I could ever think of. 

I'm also a big advocate of spending time alone. I spent a weekend in London by myself in February and going out to dinner by myself was very life affirming and oddly a confidence boost. I love nothing more than spending time with friends but spending time alone is so important. It gives you that space for self reflection and to learn about yourself. I've been able to come to terms with a lot of unresolved feelings by spending time alone. I always remind myself that to be a good person in a relationship I have to be a strong person by myself. I'm trying to be the best version of myself.
These past few months I've learnt that my self esteem is a little voice inside my head that I have to actively fight against because if I don't I'll regret it. I will miss out on so much of life by giving in to doubts. I won't always be the skinniest, funniest, smartest or best dressed person in the room. But I can be myself and I think that's a pretty great thing.

My life is on such a good track at the moment and I'm really enjoying this feeling.


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8 comments

  1. I loved this post. Amazing how we can end up valuing ourselves so little even when we're objectively doing great things! It took me a long time to realise how important it was to value myself FOR myself, not base it on how my partner saw me. That makes it pretty hard when you've got a shitty partner, right? I've still got a long road ahead before I think I'll be able to like myself (as sad as that sounds) but I'm glad you're getting down it :)

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  2. lovely post, clearly you've been through a lot but you've also achieved a huge amount, you deserve to treat yourself x

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  3. Glad to hear you're in a good place Nina <3

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  4. I can relate to a lot of what you said, especially the part about not being bold or brave enough. Reaching that four year mark is a huge milestone. You've got quite a lot of strength and perseverance. :)

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  5. Loves this Nin', so pleased you're comfortable in your own head and skin - I hope one day I'll be the same.

    Charlotte - redlipsreallife.wordpress.com xx

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  6. What a lovely enlightening post :) so proud of you, keep it up!

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  7. i love this.
    you are one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out.
    I wish our paths crossed more often because you are truly a joy!
    I am so proud of you! xx

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  8. This really struck a chord with me as I'm going through the same, boyfriend-wise. It's been such a tough and scary adjustment but like you I really want to focus on myself now and feel like I actually can. Your blogpost really inspired me today as I was having a down day but decided to go for a run after reading this and it made me feel so much better. So thank you! And I wish you all the best! xx

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