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  • Writer's pictureDedeStewart

Me, myself, and I

Welcome or welcome back to Discussions with Dede! The other day I was watching Real Housewives of Atlanta recently and I thought about self-love. In the episode I was watching, Latoya Forever (a Youtuber) was insulting another woman, Drew Sidora’s, wig. I was very surprised at this because this was the first time they had met each other, and she was coming crazy. Obviously, the show is supposed to bring drama and shade but some women on the show bring more than others. I have observed that the two women that bring the most drama and are the meanest are the unhappiest. Kenya Moore and Latoya are the two this season that are bringing the most drama and that says alot about who they are. They try to insult other people but it doesn’t land because these other women are content with their lives and who they are, so the insults do not affect them. These two women have a lot of insecurities and they project those onto others. Not me psycho-analyzing them; what can I say I’m a psych major! Today, we’re talking about self-love and my personal journey working through it.

First of all, self-love is a journey. It can literally take you from 6 months to ten years to really truly love yourself. I feel like people just barely like themselves, they just don’t know it.

People fail to understand that when you hate yourself or even just tolerate yourselves, it filters into how you see life and how others see you. It is in everything: the partner you chose, the friends you keep, the job you have, how you live your life. Everything. In short, the way you treat yourself is kind of how life treats you. Except for those extreme examples where something is completely out of your control and not your fault at all.

For me, it has been a long journey trying to love and accept myself fully. Before quarantine, I did not realize how much I really did not like about myself. It’s not even physical traits, it’s more my personality traits and who I am on the inside. Alot of things I don’t like about myself are because of what people used to say about me. I was bullied for a lot of my life, and I didn’t know how much it actually affected me until now.

I was bullied for my skin tone a lot when I was younger. I have always been very quiet, and honestly, I used to be pretty naive. The people who I used to think were my “friends'' were actually my biggest bullies. It did not help that I did not have many other friends, so I would stay with these people because I wanted them to like me. I’m really sensitive too so I used to get made fun of for being “emotional” and crying a lot. Like I’m sorry I have emotions. I used to really hate standing up to people because I did not like to talk. Seriously, before 6th grade I never used to speak like I do now. I spoke very softly and quietly because I didn’t think people cared about what I said.

I really don’t like talking about my past self because it makes me so sad to think about. I’m a completely different person now so I try not to think about how the bullying affected me in different ways and how I view the qualities I have.

I used to view my sensitivity as weakness because of the many times people picked on me for crying. I now understand and believe that vulnerability is a strength that many people do not have. People are not able to break down and cry because they view that as “weak”. I know now that vulnerability creates a space for release, and those who hold it all in can only do that for so long. That’s all I will go into for this subject because my next blog post will be about sensitivity and vulnerability.

Because I didn’t truly love myself, I did not think that there was a right way for people to treat me. I used to allow others to talk down on me because that’s what I believed I deserved. My friendships in the past were never reciprocated and I would invest in people that would not be able to give the same love, care, time, or attention I was giving them. I was comfortable with that because I did not know any different. I’ve since realized that reciprocity in friendships is key, and you should not invest in people that are not willing to do the same.

I have a lot of healing to do because how can someone else love the qualities I display when I don’t love them myself?

I do feel like when you have a lot of insecurities you become a huge hater. You hate seeing other people who are happy and confident in themselves because you’re not. I know this to be true because I went through that and I still have my moments when I feel like that. A lot of times when you are unhappy and don’t know your worth you start to project that onto others. Suddenly , it becomes “Oh she looks a mess, what is she wearing?” or “ her teeth are crooked, she needs to close her mouth”. You start to spew really ugly things onto people that you probably don’t even know. And yeah, it might feel good in that moment but how about later?

Trust me, I’m talking to myself here for sure. Sometimes, instead of being happy for others, I become jealous and very mean. The only different thing I do now is reassure myself that I am on my own path and I’m doing this for me.

Also, stop looking for other people’s approval and validation. Oftentimes when you look for external validation it’s because you lack things inside yourself. Validate yourself, say affirmations, and reassure yourself. You should not always have to seek others’ opinions about you or what you are doing. Even if it is from your friends or family members. That’s the hard part. You have to find that approval in yourself, even if no one else believes in you yet.

I have been working on not caring about what people think of me as much. I am trying to better myself and lift myself up and remember that other people’s opinions should not and will not control my life. Most times, people don’t even care that much, I just think they do.

I try to constantly reaffirm myself when I am going down in a spiral. Whenever I make a mistake or do anything negative, it just validates my insecurities and the negative things I believe about myself. I learned about this in my psychology class, it’s called confirmation bias. It’s just finding evidence and information that supports what you think of yourself. I try to rebuttal these negative thoughts with positive thoughts that hold weight to me. It’s hard work because it requires you to be intentional about fixing things that you have trained yourself to believe. It’s not easy at all, trust me, but even thinking one positive thought is good.

I try to do my affirmations in the morning but that’s so difficult. I never think it is working even though my top love language is words of affirmation because it just feels so big. I find that if I am having trouble believing my affirmations, I try to write down 5 things that I did well that day. Even if I don’t write it down, I think about the things I accomplished that day. Never downplay your accomplishments, no matter how “small” it is. Hype yourself up! If you woke up and brushed your teeth this morning, be proud of yourself! Be proud of yourself because the “small” steps you are taking are leading to big changes in your mindset.

I mentioned earlier that you should not depend on others for validation, but I do believe it is important to find people that are willing to hold you accountable when you do think negatively. Find those people that care about you and want to see you do well. Tell them about your mindset journey and have them remind you along the way. Everybody needs people to remind them of how far they’ve come and how far they’re going.

Remember: never settle for ANYTHING. Not in a relationship, but also in friendships, jobs, etc. Just never settle. I saw this on Instagram, it says “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated.” If those people always sigh when you walk in or you can feel that they are not respecting you, leave them. Do not stay around that negativity. Go where people genuinely appreciate and care for you. If they are struggling to give you the bare minimum, do not beg them to treat you well, they don’t care. LEAVE. Many people will treat you like how you treat yourself. If you treat yourself badly and don’t know your own worth, that’s how people will also see you. Go to places where people value you, in addition to you valuing yourself.

I have been trying to work on all these things myself because quarantine helped me realize my own worth. Like I said before, I used to surround myself with people that barely liked me. I am learning to love myself and cherish the good and bad qualities about myself. I am learning to love my sensitivity and the complexity of my emotions because that’s who I am!

That’s really all I have for you guys today. This was more of a vulnerable read. I’m trying to be more honest in my writing and not put up a front. Remember, take it easy on yourself and give yourself some slack. You are living through a pandemic right now, and it’s so difficult and draining but you got this! Feel free to DM me if you want to talk; I literally do nothing all day lol. Ok guys, see you next time!

Question for the comment section: What qualities do you like about yourself and which ones are you learning to love?

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