I am a Responsibility.org ambassador this year and was compensated to write the post. However, all opinions are my own.
What do you think of when you hear the words “radical self love?”
I think about what I wasn’t able to do when I was younger, what I’m finally able to do now. Today I can wholeheartedly say I love myself fully and completely including my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. But of course, it wasn’t easy to get here.
When others see me now, they may see a confident self-loving woman and mother. But little do they know that I struggled with insecurities my entire life due to feeling “not enough” in my family who seemed to demand obedience and perfection from me, and “not enough” with friends because I didn’t fit in their world.
I didn’t fit in at school because I was seen as different, and I didn’t fit in at church because I had too many questions. This continued with boys who seemed to like my friends over me and who thought I wasn’t “pretty” or “nice” enough.
So how can one come to radically love oneself when being seen as “different” is frowned upon?
I recently had an opportunity to hear Sonya Renee Taylor speak about owning our “divine enoughness.” She talked about how we all arrived on this planet already innately enough “without caveat or addendum.”
This is so true. We are innately enough just by being born and alive.
One of the greatest things about children is their pure love and joy they have for themselves, others, and the world around them. Over the years, things seem to change. There seems to be a disconnect, specifically when it comes to self-love and how we view ourselves compared to others.
As we grow up and are exposed to outside influences, many of us begin to feel that we aren’t enough. The message from the culture and society becomes clearer: we aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, wealthy enough, productive enough, or liked enough.
Society’s Impact on Us and The Need for Change
Where does this decline of self-love stem from? The answer is both simple and complicated. Social media, magazines, movies, and television often represent a culture that is not a true reflection of real life. We are surrounded by images of what we think we should be like. That is the truth of our culture, and it’s designed that way on purpose.
It’s how brands make billions of dollars around the world…by appealing to our insecurity and pursuit of the “ideal beauty.”
We feel that pressure, and our kids feel it as well. Too often it results in negative feelings towards our bodies and our behaviors. So the big question is, how do we turn things around?
It all begins with radical self-love.
Embracing Radical Self-Love
Radical self-love is when you take intentional action on making a positive change within yourself. When we do this, many doors open. When we begin to practice radical self love, we begin to heal our relationships with ourselves, both inside and outside.
However, it doesn’t start and stop with just us. When we truly love ourselves for all our flaws and imperfections, we begin to love everyone around us as well.
This kind of love promotes a ripple effect, and has the potential to truly make positive change. We need to be committed to making this change for our future, and the generations to come.
You may not be at a place where you love yourself completely today. Maybe it’s because of your body, your job, or your relationships. But we can all get there.
Here are some initial steps you can take towards reaching a place of self love:
1. Remove any toxicity from your life
This can look different for each person. Maybe you have a toxic relationship that you need to get out of. Or maybe you need to decrease how much wine you’re drinking because it’s affecting how you feel. A small step that can have a big impact is to unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel less than. It’s as simple as a push of a button.
2. Show yourself compassion
If you’re anything like me, you are often way too hard on yourself. Give yourself more grace rather than beating yourself up. If you didn’t get all your work done, or you ate poorly, it’s okay. Tomorrow is always a new day.
Be your biggest cheerleader!
3. Daily Gratitude
Gratitude has always been an important practice for me. It’s what helped me to heal from postpartum depression and gave me courage through special needs parenting.
Start small by writing one thing that you’re grateful for every day. Better yet, write one thing that you love about yourself every day.
Some days you may feel so lonely or lost that you might not know where to begin. Take a deep breath. Are you breathing?
There- you have enough to be grateful for.
4. Spreading Radical Self-Love to Our Children
As we work on ourselves, we must do the same for our kids. If we can raise our children to love themselves and those around them, we have the opportunity to skip the disconnect that occurs between childhood and adulthood.
Imagine a world where the next generation reaches our age and was accepting of all races, genders, and belief systems…and accepting of themselves.
Imagine a world where depression rates were low and riots were nonexistent because everyone showed a little more love and compassion for each other.
This year has brought about a collective awakening (for many of us at least…myself included). Our eyes have been further opened to the many injustices in the world based on the color of our skin, gender, and just how far behind our country really is in creating a space of equality and peace.
Change is necessary, and we all have a role to play. It begins with the conversations that we have in our homes with our children. These can be hard conversations, but they are important and necessary.
Model compassion and love for yourself, because your children are always watching you– and that includes watching how you treat yourself.
If you are not in a place where you are truly loving yourself, it’s okay to be honest about that with your kids. In fact, it would likely spark great conversations with them. You can always head to responsibility.org for more resources on having these kinds of conversations.