“that’s the beautiful thing about self love — you wear it like a dress and it becomes more and more exquisite with time.”
One of the most dominant aspects that I would notice with adults (particularly when I was still a teenager) is how content they were with themselves and who they are. And perhaps why I had such a vivid awareness of this is because I wanted that contentment for myself. I wanted to be at a place where I was at perfect peace with who God has created me to be because my younger days were plundered with more lamentations of who I seemingly disappointedly was rather than celebrations of who I brilliantly was. I wanted to be anyone but me. I prayed for a louder version of myself, a more extroverted personality, a lighter tone of my dark skin. My self-hate ran much deeper than I could ever encapsulate in words.
And in as much I always say that adulthood has been one of the most tumultuous moments in my life, it has nonetheless been an emotionally transformative phase of my life. It has been a sorely needed journey into fully loving and appreciating myself. Becoming an adult has felt something like returning to love—a love for myself.
And just a few days to my 24th birthday, I am in tears not because of how untogether my life is, but tears of joy plunder my face because I see how everything is just beautifully coming together within my soul. I cry because I can finally use the words ‘love’ and ‘myself’ in one sentence without stuttering and hesitating in doubt.
I firmly believe that it is a necessary internal revolution for each one of us to spot all the places in us that we had difficulties in embracing and loving. To pick them up gently, acquaint ourselves with them and look at them with eyes of tenderness and see them in a different light—because maybe this is how we learn to delight in the aspects of ourselves that we struggled to love for too long.
“It is a monumental act for us to affirm the grandeur of our existence in a world that continuously sends out messages to us as to why we are not enough.”
And I would like to share parts of myself that I was discontent with for a great deal of my life, and now I have fallen deeply in love with because of the realization of the power embedded in them:
I am someone who was always overlooked, whether be it in my relationships, friendships, in my work or at school. I was never someone who would step into a room and have the weight of their presence felt—but I would leave the room, and it is only then that people would realise that a great force has just left their midst. And I have become perfectly content with being “the underdog”—the one that they never saw coming. For me, this has reflected being a testament to the truth that just because an individual does not wear their greatness on their sleeves, it does not mean it’s not there. This aspect of me has taught me great humility and has made me readily identify with ease and see potential in many others who also get overlooked—which I firmly believe is a vital part of my life purpose.
I also used to loathe how quiet of an individual I was. I wished to be someone who brings a crowd together, to be the life of the party. But that’s never been who I am. However, I’ve always been someone who does not waste away her words; only speaking when necessary. This has meant that people who know me and have been in my presence know me as someone who is reserved and not so talkative, but when I speak you listen because I speak powerful truths that you dare not miss. The introverted aspect of myself has also greatly honed my listening skills, and in a world that always seeks to be heard and have the last word—my greatest gift is to be able to give people a genuine and attentive listening ear without the need to have the conversation hanging on me.
I was always told that I’m too emotional, to the point of feeling like its a character flaw that I need to fix within me. But no matter how much I tried to contain my feelings and emotions just a bit more, the more estranged from myself I felt. And I refused to be exiled from who I am. My capacity to deeply feel things has made me realise that in everything that I do or say, I do it with heart. I feel that there’s an aliveness that I get to experience that I wouldn’t be able to revel in had I been just slightly emotionally detached. I have a heightened experience and sensitivity to life, I get to be moved by life in the most magical ways and is that not a wonderful blessing?
I want to close this off by saying that what we often see as flaws in ourselves can turn out to be one of the most breathtaking strokes of great artistry from us and our potency as individuals found in what we often perceive as weaknesses. It is a monumental act for us to affirm the grandeur of our existence in a world that continuously sends out messages to us as to why we are not enough.
And I titled this post “A Beautiful Return to Love for Self” because I believe inside of each one of us, there is a sacred place where we always have thoroughly delighted in ourselves and thought of ourselves as breathtaking. But sadly, as we grow up we become displaced from that place. And we are, therefore, faced with doing the internal work of returning and journeying back to that place of unconditional love for ourselves as many times as necessary.
May it be a journey filled with abundant beauty, and may the trip of return to the love for yourself be one that you never tire from.