How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?
It was difficult for me to really love myself. I tried convincing myself that I did, but inside I always felt very insecure and not always comfortable in my skin. Now that I love everything about me, I never want to lose that feeling. I tell myself something I love about me at least once a day. Every day is not perfect. I still have rough days, but knowing what it’s like to truly love myself (imperfections and all) is a spiritual and healing experience.
I make an effort to connect with others, because in the past I struggled to do it. I missed out on many experiences because I was uncertain about myself, and as a result, I lived mostly inside my head. People thought I was mean or stand-offish but in reality I was uncomfortable with ME. Loving myself first means that I take care of my mind, my body, my soul, my heart, and my family and friends. I want to radiate positivity everywhere I go so that if there is anyone out there feeling the way I once did, she/he can find hope and inspiration in my story and in our interaction.
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)
I changed many of my negative habits. I make it a priority to remain active weekly – working out frequently and using FitBit to track my steps because it keeps me motivated (I love work-week challenges with my coworkers). I’ve cut out a lot of foods that weighed me down internally (fried foods, bread and dairy), and I replaced them with healthier alternatives (baked foods, non-processed foods, coconut milk).
I love to read books of all genres to keep my mind fresh and alert. Lastly, but most importantly, I talk to God through prayer and daily affirmations.
Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?
I used to be overweight and suffered some complications with my health. Becoming healthier has truly transformed me. I feel good inside and out, and I think healthy eating and activeness have contributed. I am more open to people and have been able to build stronger relationships.
What have you learned from self-love?
Self-love has to be defined by the individual and takes on many different forms. You can show yourself love in your daily actions and interactions with others. For example, I know if I stop practicing my healthy habits I may need to re-evaluate self-love; there may be something deeper going on with me, because being healthy is how I show myself love.
I’ve learned that it is difficult to build relationships with others when there is no self-love. I want to make sure I am always loving me so that I can fully love others.
I have also learned that people really love me! When I struggled with self-love, I felt that others did not truly love me. I mean, why would they if I could not love myself? What I have come to find is that (1) people really do want to get to know me, and (2) I do have something to offer the world. I have been able to experience things I NEVER would have experienced, and I finally feel like I am living life. It feels good.
Inspired by Yewande’s self-love story? Share in the comments. We want to hear from you.
Love Yourself First! Friday share the unique stories of diverse women to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action. The questions are meant to shed light on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.
Do you want to share your self-love story? Send an email HERE. Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.