For weeks I have been practicing and studying what it means to radically love myself.
Radical is defined as relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something, far-reaching and thorough. A radical self-love means loving yourself despite... despite how you may feel about yourself, your circumstances, your relationships, despite your failures, your successes. Loving yourself thoroughly and fully and wholly.
I think of my twenty-two year-long journey of learning to be comfortable in my skin, confident in my calling, and in my beliefs, to be exactly that, a journey. I am constantly evolving, failing, winning, and learning along the way. It was not until around my junior year of college, that I really started to truly love myself. I had been studying more into the lives of Black women who shaped my life, my mother's life, and my granny's life. I was reading about the experiences Black women faced and are still facing. I read stories, novels, poems, academic writings, I listened to speakers, I traveled to events, worked alongside and joined organizations that amplified Black female voices and stories.
My junior year of college was transformative for me, I was exiting my teen years and headed into my twenties. I had left a damaging relationship and was ready to figure out who the hell I was. I was struggling with my confidence, I had gained over thirty pounds and was the heaviest I'd ever been. I knew my calling and was walking in it, but struggled with feelings of loneliness and self-doubt. I was (and still struggle) with worrying about what people would think of me for having a lot to say.
I wanted to be free of all that. Free to love myself the way I was, the way God created me, and in the many ways my mom had instilled in me. I wanted to feel beautiful, be comfortable in my clothes, in my skin, while looking in the mirror. I wanted to be free to give love and be loved. I also wanted and am still working on setting boundaries with the people I am friends with, coworkers with, supporters of, and even those I am not that close with.
A radical self-love for me is giving myself permission to be me... the good, the bad and the quirky.
Giving yourself permission.
What I've learned the most from the great's like Audre Lorde, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou, is they dared not to compare themselves. They dared to explore what love looked like towards themselves, towards their friends, their partners, supporters, and naysayers, and in their works. They talk a lot about the freedom they feel when doing the things that pour back into their minds, spirits, and bodies.
I just ordered The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love by Sonya Renee Taylor. If you've been with the blog for a few posts, you know that I'm a book worm. I love love love to be able to refer to texts as a resource, as a guide, and as a release. Check out the post here. I would love to read this book with you, share your thoughts with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
I wanted to start a little mini-series on Radical Self-Love, so you'll see many blog posts and tweets and Instagram posts referring to it, feel free to join in the conversation and build community with us.
I'll end with a few affirmations, repeat them to yourself, write them out on a post-it, on your mirror, or set a reminder with them.
I love myself.
I am proud of myself.
I believe in myself.
I am confident in my abilities.
I know that there is a plan for my life.
I make time to be social.
I make time for rest.
I do not compare.