For the majority of my life, I believed that loving yourself meant you were vain. I thought it meant you didn’t care about other people, were self-centered and stuck
up. As a result, I went around being a push over, suffering and sacrificing myself at any opportunity because I thought that equaled being a good person. In the end, nothing was left but a spent person who didn’t know how to love herself much less anyone else. Then, I really started to question what true self esteem is.
After years of talking to my mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, about being true to myself, I took baby steps to learning what that meant for me. For the last year I’ve been on a beautiful path of self-discovery and self-love. There have been and will continue to be a progression in the steps to learning self-love.
It all started when I understood that self-love is not narcissism and accepted that I had been putting myself down and lowering my own self-worth to make myself a friend to all. What I learned was that I needed to love myself, and sometimes that means being selective of your friends. Choosing your friends and company wisely in turn lifts you up and supports you while you do the same for your like-minded friends.
After months of practice and doing a complete overhaul of my social crowd, I developed a new foundation and root with a healthier group of friends. I learned that I wasn’t being mean to surround myself with people who support me and lift me up. If I want to attract a certain type of person into my life, then I have to put my energy into that kind of person, in other words my friends.
Hanging out with a new crowd was making a new choice for me. It wasn’t entirely comfortable at first, but it grew to feel like a natural extension of myself as time went on. I learned I was not being vain or selfish. I was learning what true self-esteem is.
I started to think about the difference between self-love and vanity. I learned that self love if a healthy respect of yourself. It is honoring your thoughts, wishes and desires. It is choosing love, happiness and joy. It is being good to yourself so you in turn can be there for others.
Vanity is being there for others seeking compliments or pushing your image to your friends and connections both in real life and on the internet. Vanity takes self-love to an unhealthy place so you can think of no one but yourself.
There is a grey area and you must draw the line for yourself, but I hope you will learn to love yourself and choose self-love each and every day because you can!