I constantly hear people preach about self-love and how everyone should appreciate themselves. I’ve definitely been one to tell my friends that they need to learn to enjoy themselves and to indulge in their own company. It’s not until I got a bit older that it kind of really clicked what it meant to really want to be in my own company without feeling the need for anyone else’s.
Before I start, this isn’t going to be like the typical articles I see while surfing the web. You know the ones I’m talking about. The articles that preach how to “date yourself,” to put your phone/laptop down, to tell your friends/family/significant other “no.” The ones that lecture you on how to be independent. I feel like those things barely scratch the surface of what self-love really is.
It’s not about forcing yourself to spend time with you, liberating you from your relationships, or proving that you don’t need anyone or anything. Loving yourself is a natural process of being comfortable in indulging in you.
So back to how I got to this point. Well, the best way to put it is that I grew up accustomed to always having one person around me. Not a bunch of people but one. I’m the fifth of six children so if it wasn’t my mother, I always had one of my siblings with me. I never didn’t have someone to play with or someone to talk to. We were all active in sports and clubs, had friends, and when one of us had children they joined our group. To some people this is ideal. I’m not complaining about it. My siblings are some of my best friends. But my house was hardly ever quiet. Even as I grew older, I barely had alone time and when I had it, I didn’t really know what to do with it. I mainly spent the alone time writing or sleeping.
This was transparent as I formed relationships outside of my family. I was social; awkward, sometimes shy, but social. I became accustomed to having certain people in my life. I didn’t necessarily depend on them, but I got used to their presence.
I guess really thinking about it, I did become dependent on their company.
My first long-term relationship was like this: We were so integrated in each other’s lives (friends, family) that when I finally moved and separated from him, it was a huge change in my life. It felt like leaving the relationship was more like leaving a big part of my life behind, as dramatic as it sounds.
So there I was. I had moved away from my family and cut out a huge portion of my friends. I now had the freedom to be a new person, basically. I could start over, if I wanted to. Which is what I did.
After the normal ritual of going out, dating, binge eating and Netflix indulging, I finally took the time to sit and really think about what my next move was. That’s when I started writing for an entertainment news site, which in the long run evolved in me creating LadySenTalks.com.
Writing was my gateway to solidarity. I’m not a loner, far from one. I’m a pretty social creature, I’ve been told. Low-key, but social. Writing was and is one of the few activities that I noticed I didn’t feel the need to have someone’s company for. I feel like it’s because when you’re a writer, you’re an artist or creator of the world you are focusing on at that time. That made me feel good, because I had something that was my own.
Now how did writing evolve to me loving to be alone without feeling lonely? Well, I took that feeling I got from writing and started to seek it in other places or activities. Things I would normally invite friends to go to or do, I started doing alone — shows, the gym, shopping, even restaurants (food is a big part of my friendships lol). I started noticing that I became more focused on what I was doing than entertaining who I was with, which was great.
I also took this time to experiment with new habits, like meditation, yoga, and brukwine dancing (which I encourage everyone to do when they get the chance). I also reintroduced reading into my life. I love books but I’m trying the e-book trend now too. I even started these mini “challenges” to give myself some time even on busy days. For example, I’ve done a variety of 30-day writing challenges, meditation challenges, workout challenges, etc…
I could go on for ages about my journey into self-love, because it never really ends. In today’s world we are stimulated by so many things that we don’t really ever get a moment just to breath. The thing about loving yourself is that when you really enjoy being alone you won’t see it as a hassle or being lonely. I personally crave any chance I get to be in my own thoughts and that’s how I realized I really enjoy my own company. But it’s not like that for everyone — some try to force the time or force the feeling. You can’t force yourself to enjoy yourself, it’s a feeling you grow over time.
So get out there and grow that feeling!