Want a Meaningful Life? Learn to Love Yourself Fully!
The first step in making my life more meaningful has been learning how to know and love myself fully. Most, if not all of us harbor unconscious beliefs about ourselves that we internalized in childhood. In order to author my own meaningful book of life, I had to start digging deeper into my beliefs, habits, thoughts, feelings, and patterns. Why was I so insecure in relationships? Why did I feel unloved? Why did I surround myself with people that left me feeling depleted?
Oftentimes I think we are urged to cover up our flaws, move away from what scares us, ignore those dark pieces of ourselves and just keep moving forward. But whether we like it or not we’re stuck with our entire self for our entire life. So I’ve found that if rather than ignore these dark parts, I give them space to live and I work towards understanding them, I can actually integrate them into progress rather than associating them with regression.
It’s interesting because you may think, “well I already know and understand myself,” but in all actuality it’s a life-long journey that must be made intentionally. In fact, my number one goal in life is to continue to gain a greater understanding and and deeper love for myself. Because the only way to make a truly meaningful life that you love, is to first know and love yourself fully.
And just like any other relationship, it takes effort and understanding, compassion and kindness, and a deep-rooted desire to take your relationship to the next level. I believe that we are taught that self-care is selfish, especially as women--that we are meant to be in a role of caretaker and supporter first and foremost. And while that may ring true for many women, the fact still remains that in order to create a life of meaning and radiate your brightest light, you must first put all your attention into developing a long-term, healthy, and loving relationship with yourself.
I grew up with a family of addicts in a home that was full of love, but chaotic nonetheless. Because of this I found value in supporting others’ “growth” and “healing” in a rather unhealthy way--a codependent way. In high school I naturally gravitated towards broken individuals that I could “fix” in some way or another. Alas, it took about 8 years to learn that you can’t fix anyone but yourself. So after years of partying, ditching school, dysfunctional relationships, and doing drugs with the “friends” I had put all of my energy and attention on, I began to shift my focus away from distractions and towards myself.
This process wasn't fun as I had lived my entire life looking for ways to distract myself from myself. I hated being alone. I could never silence my inner critic or stop worrying about what other people thought of me. I believed that my worth was tied up in how many texts I got and how many parties I was invited to. And I was constantly looking for ways to look, feel, and ultimately be better. Because I knew I was simply not good enough. Good enough for what? Who the hell knows. Because as I'm here to tell you today...our worth is totally innate and all we need to do is move aside and learn how to love ourselves.
The past few years, the most meaningful and fulfilling I’ve had in my life thus far, were built on a foundation of knowing and loving myself fully. I've worked to understand where my limiting beliefs stem from, what triggers me, and where some of my shortcomings lie. Most importantly, I have accepted all of these as parts of me and learned to view them with love. Without this key theme I would not have been able to be in a loving relationship, work in a field that I’m passionate about, develop deep connections with my friends, and do what brings me joy.
I encourage anyone who wants to create more meaning and live a fulfilling life to prioritize your relationship with yourself above all us. Grow and nurture it until you develop a loving, open, and honest relationship. Allow all parts of you--good, bad, and ugly--the room to breathe. Accept yourself as you are and treat yourself with unconditional love. From there you will be able to tap into what truly lights you up and brings you the most joy and meaning in life.
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