“Rose anajipenda!” someone commented about a lady in the crowd.
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I was just a teenager at the time and I swore I wouldn’t jipenda like Rose.
Years later, after getting out of a toxic relationship, I found myself with nothing but a shell. I had spent years putting his needs first, massaging his ego, supporting him as he strove to achieve his goals while sacrificing my own. I had completely forgotten myself. In return, I got derided, shamed, put down and made to feel like I was incompetent.
Once out of the relationship, I struggled to find my footing. Long gone was the once confident, self-assured girl I had been. I second-guessed myself. I often spent hours crying, wishing that I could go back to being the confident, happy-go-lucky girl I had once been. I’d forgotten my goals, I had no self-esteem and I couldn’t get out of the negative self-talk.
Two years later, on New Year’s Day, I made one resolution: to love myself. I didn’t care if anyone would say, “Audrey anajipenda.” I had finally realised the importance of loving myself before allowing anyone else to love me. I finally understood that there was nothing wrong with Rose for loving herself.
Self-love, according to the Miriam Webster dictionary, is an appreciation of one’s worth. It is looking at the mirror and loving everything that you see. It is taking charge of your life physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally and working towards improving it. This is in contrast with selfishness which is defined as seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. Selfishness borders narcissism.
As the year wore on, I learned that self-love is about putting yourself first. It is about taking the time to look after yourself, nurture your dreams, speak your mind, forgive yourself and let go of anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
It involves trusting your decisions and not being afraid to live with the outcome.
It is setting boundaries and pursuing only those relationships that add to your life rather than take away from it.
Self-love, as I finally learned, doesn’t mean being selfish. Rather it is taking care of yourself like you would other people, filling up your cup so that as you get love from others, you can give love as well.
This month Eve is celebrating February as the month of self-love. Join us in this journey by reading the self-love articles, talking to us on social media using the #LovingYourself hashtag.
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