In this day and age, self-love would appear to be running rampant. After all, we have personal social media sites where we get to display pictures of ourselves, our lives, our favorite things, and of course, our selfies. We get validation when we get a like or two from our peers. It would seem that self-love was at an all-time high. Look at the pictures-- our lives look amazing, right?
I have come to discover that self-love is far beyond what we allow the world to see of ourselves. True self-love lies within. When we can reach a place where we love ourselves entirely, the messy parts as well as the most worthy parts, that is when we reach true authentic self-love. In my experience, self-love was not an overnight success story. It takes work. Trust me when I say, it’s worth the work. You’re worth the work.
When we fall back in love with who we are and accept ourselves, we can truly and authentically love and live beyond the chains of self-doubt, self-judgment, and self-destruction.
About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with an auto immune thyroid disease called Hashimotos. After years of searching for answers as to why I didn’t feel well and why I felt sick all the time, it was somewhat of a relief to have a diagnosis. Although I finally knew what was ailing me, I found it difficult to not be angry at myself and my body. “Why can’t I just be healthy?” “I SHOULD be able to make it through the day without needing a nap!” “I wish I could just be normal.” These were thoughts that crossed my mind often. An interesting fact about auto immune conditions is that the body is literally attacking itself. For me, my body was attacking my thyroid gland.
This physical attack was being mirrored in my mind. I would attack myself with judgment, criticism, and comparison. No wonder I felt sick!
One morning, after a restless night, I lay in bed and prayed for wisdom, for healing within. As I laid there in the silence, desperate for a cure, a quick fix, the Lord quietly spoke and said, “Remember who you are. You are my child and you are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made.” At first I thought, “That’s nice to remember but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m suffering”.
After my pity party concluded, a light bulb went off. I understood. I am a piece of God’s creation. He designed me. He shaped and molded me in all my intricacy and complexity. Every time I said something hurtful towards myself or got angry at my body I was discounting the masterpiece. I was forgetting to see the beauty in the brokenness.
The human experience is messy. We are each a vivid masterpiece. Illness is a part of that masterpiece. Struggle is a part of that masterpiece. Brokenness is a part of that masterpiece. It is in the messy areas of our lives that we can find compassion and love for ourselves.
I learned that in order to love myself and live authentically I had to accept every part of myself. This is not a destination but rather a journey, a daily practice.
I have found that appreciation and gratitude have been the most vital pieces of my personal journey to self-love. Rather than thinking about and focusing on what my body isn’t doing right I reframe my thoughts and begin to say gratitude statements for what it is doing right. “Thank you for the air in my lungs, thank you for the ability to experience joy, to laugh, to dance.”
Gratitude can change even the darkest of days into one filled with vibrant joy. I find that journaling, taking long walks, and rocking out in my car are how I reconnect and recharge. For you it might be taking a bubble bath, watching a sunset, going for a run, whatever it may be, open your eyes to the beautiful masterpiece that is you. Open up your heart and mind.
Accept the messy, beautiful, chaotic, and vibrant light that you are in this world and go out there and shine.
You, EVERY part of you, is enough. You are a masterpiece.
Amber Jackson is a Southern California native who grew up with a love for the arts and a passion for people. After being diagnosed with an auto immune disease she felt fatigued, frustrated, and detached from her true authentic self. Her own healing journey led her back to school where she studied holistic healing through the mind, body, and soul connection. Amber is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach and is committed to helping women break through the blocks of insecurity, depression, and self-doubt. These blocks coincide with many illnesses and stressful life circumstances today. She encourages women to rediscover their inner light and shine that light by living life authentically.
Stay up to date with Amber's journey here: herinnerlight.com.