Genuine self-love is something that we all desire. India Arie is one of my favorite singers because her words have meaning. “I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen” (Video). These words really resonate with me because loving myself has been a journey, well worth the trip.
We spend childhood trying to find the right people to play and fit in with on the playground. Teen years are filled with the desire to impress others and build our identities. All the while others’ negative words and our own negative self talk plays constantly in our head. There is a lot of pressure to fit in, many times it’s silent pressure.
For many years, I had hidden the fact that I was a foster/adopted child from people at school. People’s
reactions and comments to finding out were sometimes more hurtful than what would be the expected feeling of freedom of truth. Out of sheer ignorance, people would say things like, “Your mama didn’t want you?”. There were so many similar responses that were far from the truth but rationalizing those statements in a young mind was a challenge.
There were people that I desired to please but seemed to always fall short in some way. Que the negative comments of not being good enough in actions, looks and even talk about how I would fail as an adult. Sometimes those were direct statements to me or overheard conversations about me. Silently, those statements replayed and even still come to mind today. Regardless of how many positive things were said, we tend to hang on to the negative things.
India Arie also sang, “The bird cannot fly until it breaks the shell” . However, my shell breaking moment came when I was in college. I found that I was no longer trying to please anyone and I was feeling liberated. I looked in the mirror and fell in love with who I was and who I was becoming. I defied odds statistically, limits and other people’s doubts.
We all seek a simple place of belonging–people who will accept us just as we are. I found that accepting myself was all I needed. I am an individual in many aspects. I am not required to conform to anything or anyone. I have truly learned to accept myself, flaws and all. That, in my opinion, is the essence of self-love.
Love and accept yourself, that is who matters most. You are beautiful, valuable, and more than enough just as you are!