Happiness is hard. Authenticity is hard. I know this very, very well.
I’m not going to give you some fluffy sermon about how if you just take a bubble bath, smile three times a day at yourself in the mirror, & think happy thoughts constantly that your life will magically be better. These things might help you, but they also might not.
You’re probably reading this book because your life isn’t totally, 100% pure awesomeness. If it is, all the power to you! But it probably isn’t. You probably don’t feel like you love yourself as much as you could, or you feel depressed, or you really just feel you’re not living up to your potential. The best part is, whether you can believe this yet or not – you have all the power in the world to change & improve your life.
Hating yourself is boring. Feeling ugly & unloved is boring. Living someone else’s plans for you is boring. Being depressed & feeling hopeless about your future is boring.
Those feelings are all completely valid. They’re also sadly common. But when you really think about it, those aren’t very interesting things to feel. Break them down, & all those feelings relate to sadness. Society has romanticized the idea of sadness. It’s made personal sorrow seem alluring & mysterious & beautiful. Like that without it, you won’t be an interesting person for people to know. Like you will be shallow & one-sided if you’re always happy & you feel good about yourself. Like your art won’t be as good if you don’t have all this sadness as your muse.
Those feelings aren’t making your life any better. They’re not serving you in any way. They’re not even true.
You deserve better than that. Your body is made up of the remnants of stars that were born & died long ago. You are literally made of stardust. You can do anything you want to. Stars didn’t die so that you could loathe yourself & live an unspectacular existence. You can have better than that. You were born to live an awesome life. It’s your duty to yourself to pursue that, as vibrantly & lovingly as you can.
Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose, & everything to gain.
Happiness is thrilling. Love is beautiful. Self-acceptance is rebellious. Success is triumphant. Hope is alluring. Peace of mind is interesting. Boldness is adventurous. Resilience & determination are courageous. Living a life you’ve created is compelling.
Sometimes, I ask myself why I should bother loving myself. Sometimes, the whole thing seems impossible, & even pointless. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I deserve it.
Why should you love yourself?
Because you’re vast & brilliant & awesome & kind & smart & filled with potential. Because you might as well. Because the only way you’re ever going to even KNOW what you’re capable of is if you try. Fear of missing out on what you could become should be the biggest FOMO of all.
You don’t want to be a product of a society which profits off promoting self-loathing & insecurity. You don’t just want to be another face in a crowd of mediocrity. You want more for yourself, even if you can’t admit that to yourself yet & don’t think you deserve it.
What do you have to lose in learning to love yourself? Or in trying to be happy, & starting to live a life that genuinely makes you feel good? There is nothing to lose.
Change is hard. Taking all the bullshit & the bad feelings you’ve been accumulating & shoving them out the door with their cardboard boxes of baggage isn’t easy. In fact, changing & creating the kind of life you always hoped you might be able to live & becoming the person you hoped you could become might just be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.
There will be kicking & screaming & tears. There might even be days when you don’t even think you can get out of bed, much less move forward.
But the thing is, you will. You will get up. You will open the curtains, & the sunlight will stream in again. And you will feel better. You will make it through this.
On the other side of the dark stormy seas you’ve been sailing, there will be sunlight, & warmth, & a life better than you ever hoped you could have.
To be completely honest, I’m not there yet. But I’m on my way. I make my progress in great leaps & strides. Sometimes, I fall down. Sometimes I stumble & slide back on the hill I’m climbing. Then I get back up & brush the sand off my clothes, & I keep climbing. Someday, not long from now, I will get to where I’m heading. And then I will find somewhere else to travel to.
I am on my way.
So are you.
Change is hard. But the ability to adapt is the thing which separates the winners from the losers. You are trying to make your life better. That puts you in the category of the winners, right now. You’re strong enough, & smart enough, & determined enough to win.
Think about this. You have made it through everything that’s happened to you in your life so far. You have made it. If you can do that, you can do this. You can do anything.
You can love yourself. You can feel better. You can be happy.
You can start living any super-awesome amazing life of your choosing.
And you can start today. Right now.
The key to having all this starts when you start loving yourself. Self-love is the backbone to everything else available to you. It’s the ship that you’re sailing on, & the wind that fills your sails & your lungs. It’s the star you see up ahead in the dark of night. It’s the start of everything else. The first brick on the yellow brick road.
When you start loving yourself, everything else falls into place. You become stronger & more resilient. You start respecting yourself & knowing your worth & only accepting the things you deserve. You start realizing that you can create whatever life you want for yourself, & start empowering yourself to go out there, & go get it.
Happiness is hard. Authenticity is hard.
But when you start loving yourself, that’s when these things become easy.
Make the decision to love yourself. Feeling better isn’t something that just magically happens. You don’t wake up one day & suddenly your life is all awesome & you finally love yourself & you’re happy. It’s a lot more challenging than that, & a lot more interesting. A lot more beautiful.
It’s a choice you have to make. Even if you can’t see how you’re capable of feeling like that. You still have to believe it, before it’s true. Believing is what makes it true. You have to believe it’s possible. You have to really want it, & you have to decide that you’re going to do what it takes to get there. And you’re going to have to choose it, over & over again.
Making this choice is important. Until you decide to love yourself, none of the other awesome things can start happening. Until you decide, all the potential you have inside you is just going to keep sitting there & waiting for you to say yes to it.
Choosing to love yourself is the first step towards the awesome adventures & the extraordinary life that are possible for you. You’re going to explore & experiment with becoming the kind of person you have always wanted to be, & have always genuinely been. Even if the real version of you is something you haven’t known since you were a kid. It’s still there. You deserve to live authentically.
As you venture out, to try to find out who you are, to learn to love yourself deeply & honestly, it won’t always be easy. But it won’t always be hard either. You’re going to evolve & you’re going to reinvent yourself a million times. You’re going to make mistakes, & you’re going to fail sometimes. But you’re going to be okay. Remember that.
Loving yourself is all these things rolled into one. It’s being gentle with yourself when you fall. It’s pushing yourself harder when you have to. It’s making choices, every day, that empower you to live the awesome life that is available to you.
It’s about realizing that there is nothing wrong with you, that your feelings are valid, that you are beautiful & unique & wonderful. It’s about pursuing the things that truly make you happy, & deciding for yourself what you’d like your life to be like.
It’s all the beautiful & limitless things & possibilities & freedoms that are waiting in front of you on the other side of the river, if only you are willing to reach out to touch them. Willing to open the door & walk outside & stop being afraid that maybe you DO deserve to be that happy & that successful & that loved every day.
Self-love is realizing you deserve better. Then, having the guts to go get it, as fearlessly as you can. It’s about becoming yourself, & getting the happiness you want. Loving yourself is your right, your victory, your purpose.
What would your life look like if you truly loved yourself? What things would you start doing, & stop doing?
If you wanted to travel across the country, you’d have to make the first move & get into the car or bus or bicycle. If you want to love yourself, first you have to make the first move & decide that you will.
Deciding you’re going to do something & then committing to it is one of the most powerful things you can ever do.
This really is where it all begins.