When You Finally Love Yourself at 22

Not sure if I’m the only one, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spent all my life trying to construct a reflection of myself, understand where it fit in the world, and actually love it.

From a young age, I’ve always known I was never happy with myself. I learned it from many places. From the dentist who said I’d be more beautiful after 11 years of dental work. The dance teachers and parents who said I’d be prettier if my skin was lighter. The mirror that had me believing my early signs of puberty in the curves of my hips were better hidden by boy shorts, black pants, and longer shirts. I didn’t like the way I never knew who I was or where I fit. I felt a little half full and at times even empty. I just wanted to be myself and enough. I’ve spent numerous years trying to change and perfect the littlest things about me, like my handwriting, my greetings, my hair, my clothes, and etc just to build a person I might like. 

But at 22, all of that doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve lost enough friends, I’ve been let down enough by family; I’ve been hurt, betrayed, ridiculed, and abandoned. 

And guess what? Through all of that, I love myself. Even more.

It wasn’t easy. I faked it till I made it. I began to consciously tell myself everyday how important and enough I was. Because no one could do that job better than me. Because people will always come and go, and in between, there will be periods of having no one. So I told myself I’d love myself from now on. I’d be better for myself. I promised to be my very own best friend through thick and thin. So even at times when I couldn’t stand myself, shattered on the floor of my room, I still wouldn’t hate myself. I found every desperate way to love myself. Like I so easily do for others. I sought it everyday. I cultivated it. And I embraced it. Fully.

I know I love myself. I just do.

Because when you love yourself, you can never stop. You can love yourself through anything.

Even during the cooling moments after an unnecessary tantrum. I forgive myself because I know why I did that & I know I just needed love. I love myself even in the moments of my bare, unconcealed skin and peeking of my non-existent eyebrows in the early morning reflections that start my day like, “why, hello gorgeous.” Simply because that face is mine and only mine. I love myself in the way I have an endless capacity to love and forgive others that I can only stop and stare into the depths of my heart as if it were the deepest cave I’ve ever seen. I love, love the way that I’m okay now seeing the skinner upper body to my thicker lower body. Baby girl just got a little junk in the trunk and that’s okay. I love myself when my heart brims with butterflies and warmth while I am working hard at even the littlest of things, even when no one will see, because it just makes me feel special. I love when I laugh, because it sounds different every time. I love myself when I cry too. Because I have such a big heart and can feel so much and so deeply. I can even love myself when others can’t, because that’s when I know I need to love myself most.

Because I can wholeheartedly love myself through the good and bad, I can fully love others too. And so it’s so much easier for me to forgive and understand why they do the things they do. Why it’s not always about me but perhaps a reflection of them. And people just can’t hurt me as much. Not if I don’t let them inside. 

And because of this, I am now so free. Free of myself and the things in my mind, because that’s really the majority of our battles; is just our thoughts. So free to have the deepest capacity of love I could possibly ever have. The capacity to love my enemies, to love those who hurt me, to love those underserving, and to even love strangers that exchange a smile when our eyes meet. I can love the good people in my life in the ways they deserve, in ways they and I couldn’t have even imagined. I can love the world. And most of all, I can just love me. Every. Single. Day.

When you love yourself, you begin to love all those around you. You learn to accept yourself, and you unlearn jealousy. You learn the reward of loving, instead of seeking to be loved. You learn to be brave and take risks. You learn to follow your heart and live life earnestly in the way that heals you and warms your soul, regardless of what critics say. You learn to be your very best, highest and most authentic self. And in turn, you inspire others and create a better place for them to grow in too.

Imagine if everyone took the time to fully learn to love themselves–how much better our world would be, full of people who have their fullest capacity to love others because they do not seek acceptance and love from others because they are already full of love within. Take some time to love yourself today. Because you are so deserving and you are so worth it.

With Warm Hugs & Love,

Nakita ❤

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