Her Perspective: The biggest act of self-love is forgiving yourself

Happy two days after Valentine’s Day. A day literally dedicated to love, what could be more beautiful?

Even if you’re celebrating alone today (like me), today is dedicated to just more than couples buying heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and red roses before going on a date.

As a mental health advocate who’s open about her struggles with anxiety, body dysmorphia and depression, working on self-love is very important. 

If you know me or you follow my work, you know I’m constantly working, going for my master’s, working some more, or doing something. I barely take a break and take time for myself.

Usually, I’m okay with the constant grind. I enjoy what I do so it doesn’t even feel like work. That being said, I still get burned out. I still get stressed. I still have periods of depression and no motivation which hurt my ability to get things done. It’s not uncommon to have feelings like these, it’s just a sign from your mind and body that you need to slow down and take care of yourself.

I wish I could say I found a perfect balance between work, school and life but I’m still working on it. I think it’s important to say that I am not a finished product and that my mental health journey is not over. I still go back to square one sometimes. I still struggle and that’s okay.

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve restarted my journey and started taking my mental health seriously. Over time, I felt like a fraud because I kept having to restart. 

What I’ve realized is that just like your typical intrusive thought telling you you’re not good enough, my feeling like a fraud was another thought that had no reason to be in my head. Your journey is not going to be linear and always improving. Setbacks are completely normal.

It wasn’t until recently that I found out that this fraudulent feeling is also intrusive. In all actuality, I’m a human who went through some stuff and haven’t given myself enough grace. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in what we aren’t and what we don’t do and what we lack. When was the last time you focused on what you are and what you do and what you have? We as humans are naturally judgmental of other people and ourselves. We’re not giving ourselves enough credit for functioning in a scary world the past few years. And we should.

Self-love is an important concept, especially this time of year. It should be something we focus more on in 2023. We are worthy of love from ourselves. It might be a challenge, but take 2023 to focus on figuring out how you can forgive yourself and give yourself grace. Everyone is in a different stage in their mental health journey but just being there and being, in general, is an act of courage. 

When you forgive yourself, you’re freeing yourself and opening up to the fact that your journey is not going to be perfect and that’s okay.

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