What does self love look like to you? What does it feel like? What started your journey? I think self love starts with self awareness. Walk with me.
I started therapy last week. Finally. It’s an idea I had been going back and forth with for years. But therapy is a privilege. It’s not accessible for everyone. But before I was unpacking my trauma with a trained professional, I was starting the journey of self discovery on my own.
I first realized I was deep in depression May 2019. That’s the first time I paired the word “depression” with how I felt and how I was navigating life. I was numb and unhappy. I didn’t have the means for therapy then. Or the second time I was depressed. Or third. Or fourth. But I explored ways to teach myself how to rise up when I felt I was at my lowest.
I started reading. A lot.
I literally started studying self care, living intentionally, and taking care of myself. I realized how important self awareness was for my self love journey. So before therapy was an option for me, I did what I could.
So I picked up a few gems during my journey of self exploration. Whether you’re getting to know yourself with a professional, or you’re just starting your journey. Dipping your toes into the water. Ya know. Just feeling this whole “self love” thing out, I hope these tips and resources will help you as much as they helped me. I hope to make wellness and healing feel accessible to you.
The first self discovery book I picked up was Deepak Chopra’s The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success (click through for the free PDF. You’re welcome). This book changed my life, honestly. The First Law teaches you about self (you) and ego (everything else), and how understanding that you can only control self, the internal, will change your perspective on life. And whew! It did. I still revisit that book often.
Vibrate Higher Daily by Lalah Delia is another book that I keep bedside so that I can always revisit. Lalah is a spiritual writer, author, wellness educator, certified spiritual practitioner, and gem to follow on Instagram. The word “vibes” is used way too often, while too few understand the definition and practice of vibrations. Her book teaches you how to become aware of vibrational energy in everything: media you consume, foods you eat, people, how you treat yourself and so much more.
Social Media Accounts~
You are what you consume, so curate a timeline that will help you feel good, safe, and inspired. In addition to following people who share things you love (fashion, sneakers, makeup, photography, etc), follow pages who drop gems on easy ways to take care. Here are a few of my faves that helped me along the way:
Therapy For Black Girls has a ton of resources on Black mental health and a directory for help finding Black female therapists. Black men, I got you too. Here’s their brother page, Therapy for Black Men.
Heal Haus is an amazing resource for guided meditations, tips, and workshops. They help make wellness feel accessible for everyone.
The Body: A Home For Love is a safe space for Black women healing from sexual trauma. They drop tips and perspectives to help women feel worthy, despite their trauma.
Transparent Black Girl is a “wellness company shattering unconventional stigmas surrounding what it means to be well for Black women.” Memes galore over there and I love it.
Image: Transparent Black Girl
Talk to your body~
Honestly, I felt like my body played the hell out of me when I suddenly gained 40 pounds in Spring 2018. I got back on birth control (depo, ew) and I blew up like a balloon. I was angry at my body.
It helped me to literally get naked in front of the mirror and talk to her (her = my body). I had to get to know her while hyping her and learning to love her for what she is. Get naked and have conversations with your body. Oil your body. Do face masks. Masturbate. Get to know your physical self while you’re unpacking your mental and spiritual self too.
Seems easy enough right? You’re alone a lot. But like. I mean extended time alone with no phone, no distractions, just you intentionally spending time with yourself. Maybe do this while journaling about how you feel at the moment. Maybe take a quick solo trip. Or just unplug from your phone for the day. Spend time with yourself in the morning before you pick up your phone. Try meditating with an app like Simple Health, Headspace, or Slumber.
Moving across the country alone really forced me to do this. By the time I was solo trippin’ in Bali for 2 weeks, I was so at peace with solitude. I’m a pro at this point.
The silver lining of quarantining and working from home has been developing morning and evening routines. My favorite has been my skin care. Somehow, tending to my skin - my body - has helped me find some kind of peace. It brings me joy to see my skin bright and glowing or to see a pimple disappear. It’s like I'm getting to know my skin and I’m treating her well.
Develop routines that make you feel some sense of normalcy, or like you've got your shit together. You start to understand what daily tasks bring you peace or joy.
Music is so healing for me. I’m listening to Janelle Monáe as I’m typing this out. I guess this is why I love curating intentional playlists. I want the music I put together to be healing and bring joy to others. Feel good music helps you vibrate high, especially when you’re spending time alone, getting to know yourself, and dancing in the mirror. In addition to the playlists I’ve curated, I find this R&B/Soul playlist so healing and full of feminine energy. It’s full of Solange, Erykah, Jill, Ari, and just women singing about being women. There are some men in there too, but it’ll all good vibes. lol.
Self love is a journey made up of daily tasks. It’s about waking up every morning and doing the work. Whether you are using therapy as a self discovery tool or not, you are 100% capable of making small decisions every day to get to know yourself.
I hope that you’ve found some kind of inspiration here.
Drop a comment or send me a DM if this resonated with you.