Loving All of You

This past summer, as I prepared to speak at an event on the topic of loving yourself, I was close to tears after reflecting on my journey to love and embrace all of me.

This past summer, as I prepared to speak at an event on the topic of loving yourself, I was close to tears after reflecting on my journey to love and embrace all of me. I realized how far I had come from being a timid youngster to a confident adult and it humbled me. It was a hard journey and I fought to walk through it. Most important, it was where I learned to decipher the lies I had adopted as truths that came dressed up as friends or marketed in social circles. It was a time I had to learn to separate life’s issues from my intrinsic value and where I moved from being my worst critic to my best friend.

Here are 3 simple secrets that changed my life:

Secret 1: I took notice of me.

“You can dress like them, act like them, talk like them….but you will never be them.”

I didn’t know when it happened, how it happened or why it happened, but I had become a clone. I underestimated my uniqueness in thought, design and purpose and sought after my identity in those around me instead of looking inward.

When I started spending time alone and learned to enjoy the presence of me, I blossomed. I decided to take the path few haven taken; one where I no longer needed to be “liked”, but where I earned respect for being unashamedly different regardless of how unpopular it might have been. I tapped into a place of courage I didn’t even know I had.

I didn’t know it then, but this secret is vital in life. Take notice of you.

Secret 2: I made life’s issues bow down.

I begin to realize that I was living life in the shadow of my issues. I had allowed my circumstances to guide my decisions instead of facing them head on. I was afraid to trust others, terrified of being rejected, and had built so many mental walls that my unresolved issues created a life of bondage. I was paralyzed and did not even know it.

Once I began to realize that my life was greater than my mistakes (and other people’s choices that affected me), I went on a relentless pursuit of healing my heart. One by one, I had a hard talk with myself, recounted some painful memories that haunted me, and made them bow down to my future. You must get to the place where you are honest with yourself and seek after the healing you need. For me, enhancing my relationship with God was my first step.

Secret 3: I got a new attitude.

Day by day, I got a new attitude. It was a slow process but worth every minute. I realized that I didn’t love me to the extent that I should have which was evident in the way I dressed, the attention I sought, and the thoughts that soared through my head. I needed a new mentality and so I went to work doing whatever it took to renew my mind.

I loaded up on shirts that read “I Love Me,” placed affirmations all around my house, was quick about kicking out thoughts that didn’t belong and was ultra-selective in who was in my inner circle.

Every day, I would look in the mirror and say good things to myself, regardless of how I “felt”. Every week, I rocked my “I Love Me” shirts because I knew I was in a fight for my life. If I didn’t take the time to remind myself that I was valuable, special and worth loving, my story would be a lot different right now. I would not have a healthy marriage, my beautiful sons and be living my dream. EVERY day, you must decide to have a new attitude…every single solitary day.

I’m in tears as I finish this week’s post because I know there are many who are struggling with loving themselves and I understand. You are a gift, chosen to be here at this very moment reading these words. If you leave with one thing, let it be to keep walking, keep believing, keep trusting and never give up.

Brands don’t make you, friends and relationships don’t complete you and your past doesn’t have to determine your future. Choose to start the journey of loving yourself right in this moment; that decision will change your life.

Brook Marie

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