by Michelle Jackson
I love blogging because you get to connect with some of the most passionate, thoughtful people. I connected with Michelle of The Shop My Closet Project via her comments on Fabulous N’ Frugal. Her thoughts were so poignant and well written that I had to reach out. I now follow her blog.
Here is her powerful guest post on the relationship (or lack thereof) between what you say and what you do when it comes to showing yourself that you really love yourself.
When I was a little girl, my mother used to make me look in the mirror and tell myself that I loved myself and that I was beautiful. Now, since I was a child I really didn’t get why my mom wanted me to do this. In fact, I felt kind of weird doing it. My mom would make me say “I love myself and I’m beautiful” more times than I can count. As an adult, now I understand what she was doing and consider my mom a genius. She was trying to fight what the world would try to do to me. She felt that there were a lot of negative messages that would come from other people and that those negative messages had the potential to extinguish my light.
As I aged I felt pretty good about myself, in fact, I wouldn’t have called myself conceited-just convinced. I was convinced that I belonged, that I deserved good things, and that my life would be great. Then a funny thing happened…life happened. I went to college, I got into serious debt, I had a number of failed relationships with non-committal men, and I gained weight. My light started fade. The joy and amazement that I felt about life and specifically about my life slowly ebbed away. Years passed. Without knowing it I was slowly becoming angry, maybe even a little bitter? Why wasn’t my life getting any better? Why did I seem to be treading water? When was it going to be my turn?
Don’t get me wrong; there were things that I enjoyed during those dark times. I loved: reading books, travel, riding my bike, going snowboarding, watching theatrical shows, and spending time with family and friends. But, it was obvious that I didn’t love myself…enough. I wasn’t being loving to myself by ignoring the weight that I had gained. I wasn’t being loving to myself by not dealing with my debt, and I wasn’t being loving to myself by developing a prickly outer shell that kept people from wanting to meet the warm and loving person that I hid inside. I was hiding because I was hurting and I wanted to protect myself. I was overwhelmed and not sure if I should just surrender or fight back. I chose to fight back.
I began to write. I had always kept a journal but this was different. I began a blog and started to share my hopes, dreams, and challenges with other people. The blog was something that I could control. I discovered that I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of other people: black, white, brown, etc. who were also struggling to find their place in the world. I created a community of people who support me and are in my corner. I regained my voice.
I realized that loving myself is an active, daily practice. Now I wake up early and exercise, I’ve begun aggressively paying off my debt, I’ve softened my demeanor, and I’ve begun to believe again that I will have everything that I dream of.
I’ve started looking in the mirror and telling myself that I love myself. This love is backed by daily positive action. I am so happy now and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Frugalistas: How are you feeling about yourself? Good (I hope!) Not so good? What are you doing to create a happy life? How do you show yourself that you love, You?
Michelle Jackson is an obsessive foodie, but not self-righteous with it, loves travel, meeting new people, helping you look good, and is freaked out by people who don’t enjoy reading…something! Check out her blog The Shop My Closet Project!
[info_box type=”alert_box”]Caring for yourself including takes care of your finances. I encourage all ladies who are serious about self-care to go on The Happy Finances Challenge. In 42 days you can learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness. [/info_box]