When I started my self-love journey, at 30, I didn’t even know it was a thing. I didn’t know that other women had started self-love journeys too, many of them starting in their 30s. I also thought, when I started, that I was headed to a specific place. “I’m on a journey of self-love,” I’ll tell people. They probably just rolled their eyes. I was acting like I was on my way to the spa or something. Like after three weeks of prayer and meditation I would arrive. That suddenly, after a month of Sunday’s I would be so aware of myself that insecurity and uncertainty would never find me again.
Over one year later and I am still finding myself, still learning myself, still fighting off insecurities and uncertainties. Almost two years and I am still developing that deeply personal and spiritual understanding of myself. That’s because self-love is a process, a journey, not a destination. It’s not some place you come to after three prayers and an inspirational quote. It’s something that develops over time and that only gets stronger as you age.
Ever wonder why elderly men and women have such a “I don’t give a damn,” attitude?
It’s not that they don’t care about anything. It’s just that they’ve been on this Earth long enough to have such a deeply personal understanding of who they are that they will not allow anyone else to tell them about themselves, neither do they care what others think of their actions. It’s important for you to know that you will not get to the place they are immediately. Just like they had to go through the years, you will have to go through them too so you shouldn’t rush the process. It could take years to truly heal from trauma, heartache, depression, self-hatred or whatever spirit is stopping you from fully loving yourself.
This also means that in this process you will have to be intentional, deliberate, and disciplined about re-examining who you are as an individual. And you must be very, very honest with yourself. Without honesty, you are doing yourself a great disservice and you are headed for self-destruction. A life built on deception will eventually crumble. You can’t heal by covering the wounds with more crap. You must expose the wound and allow healing to take place. This can’t happen if you’re just going to lie to yourself.
Before you commit, understand that Self-love is a long-term commitment of learning and knowing yourself. It happens in stages and can take years.
Now, go write a poem about Self-love or Self-Care in some way and enter it into my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! We are SIX days out. Don’t miss the chance to win money, a beautiful notebook and pen, publication, promotion, and books!
What does self-care mean to you? What does it look like to you? What do you think of when you hear self-love? How can we take better care of ourselves?
CLICK HERE to read through all the entry rules and guidelines and then email your poem to yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot) com. Also remember this is a free entry contest so there’s no entry fee to enter. But hurry! Time is running out!
I saw this episode once on Tales From The Hood. This little boy came to school with bruises on his body and he said a monster did it. This perplexed his teachers because surely this couldn’t be an actual monster. But the little boy proceeded to insist it was a monster. He drew pictures of this giant green entity with razor sharp teeth and big hands. In the end, we discovered the monster was really his mother’s boyfriend who beat him from time to time. But the little boy never drew him as a person, just as a monster; interesting the perspective of children, the innocence and fragility of their minds. I imagine this is how they see her, a monster. Even though her face looks gentle, her blonde hair pushed back into a pony tail and her petite figure causing no stirs among the neighbors. Then again, I don’t know what it’s like to wake up to a growl like they do. Even if I did, it’s different when you’re a kid and just the slightest increase in tempo rattles your entire body. At best all you need is a look and you are frozen in mother’s authority and your mind is prepared to listen. But a growl? I don’t want to wonder what that’s like. That’s what I wake up to most mornings. At first, I didn’t think the woman had any children. I thought maybe she was cursing out her man. A slew of profanity escaped her mouth like I hadn’t heard since I banished it from my very own vocabulary. I envisioned her entire presence overtook the house. I’d be willing to bet she grows claws and turns green in her spare time. Only to shapeshift back into the harmless little lady we see walking to the bus stop. I don’t understand people who abuse children; it is a most cowardly act. When I discovered my neighbor was ripping the heads off her own children it disgusts me. But it did not disgust me more than actually seeing the babies. I wanted to just cry. They did not have little bruise marks on their bodies like the little boy in the movie. It’s just that they are small children. I would not have guessed someone was speaking this way to children all under ten years old. And then one day, I saw that one of them is in a wheelchair. So you have two very small children and one is disabled. I don’t understand the logic that goes into this kind of behavior. This is why self-love is so important. How can you mistreat what came from your own body, except you have no love for yourself. Without self-love, nothing can be accomplished. We cannot love ourselves, we cannot love our neighbors, and we cannot love those around us. More frightening than our inability to love, we cannot be loved. Self-hatred illuminates. It surrounds you like a plague and can be smelled from a distance. It causes you to act out of character and abuse anyone who tries their hand at loving you. Because you have not given it to yourself, you are unwilling to accept it from anyone else nor are you willing to give it. Be careful the way that you treat your children, they are a reflection of you and they have no shame in keeping it real. If their mouth does not reveal who you are their actions will. It’s funny, I can always tell the true intentions of a person just by looking at the behavior of their children and interestingly enough, the parents never seem to notice. Be careful how you treat your children, whether you notice it or not, their actions reveal who you truly are.