Detox teas, waist trainers, training for marathons, going to parties I don’t enjoy, entertaining people out of politeness, adopting a certain style, these are the many things I’ve done and sometimes still do. Things I did because someone else told me that’s what you’re supposed to do to be happy. Because it is so easy to get caught up in everyone else’s idea of what happiness looks like, convinced that if it worked for them, it will most definitely work you. But from experience, most of these things end up in yet another source of disappointment because they simply aren’t aligned with who I am, not what my body needs. So much of what we do is an echo of everyone else’s values and expections, which is why we can end up feeling smothered by it all, wondering why we’re accumulating more frustration than bliss.
It’s honestly scary to embark on the self-discovery journey of becoming attuned with yourself. If you’re like me, you keep thinking that you are a failure if your empowerment doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Do you really love your body and challenge yourself if you’re not able to run a half marathon too, or in fact running altogether? What if you have absolutely no interest in adding yoga poses to your collection because you find your own power in weightlifting? What if you prefer to stay home with a book rather than go out with friends? And what if you are most happy when you’re out with friends or home with them on a game night? What if someone doesn’t like the way you dress, especially on the days you most feel amazing in your clothes? What if someone is always telling you that your clothes are too colorful or two bland, your makeup is too much or not enough, always something or not another?
It’s important to take yourself back from everyone who feels entitled to you and redefine what self care looks like on your terms.
You will start to realize that few things are as important as taking the time to discover what self love looks like to you. To pay attention and listen to your body, cater to your needs, and be unapologetic about prioritizing your well-being. You learn to redefine feeling good on your terms outside of the noise, and standing firm no matter what everyone else says. Finding your own version of tenderness is the beginning of taking back ownership of yourself, when you’ve been giving yourself away for everyone else to tear apart.
What does self-Love look like to you?
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.