Loving Yourself In A Lonely World

Love yourself like a friend.

You’ve got a friend in you.

We always hear to treat others the way you want to be treated. Putting others first is something I have always kept as a priority. Being positive and encouraging to my friends when they need someone on their side? I’m there. But often times, we forget to see ourselves as a friend. And when everyone seems to be so far away, we tend to shoot down the one person who is always there for us, no matter what.

I’m talking about you, yourself, and you. 

There have been many times where I have not been the nicest person to myself. I have said things, to help me move on or distract me from what I’m really feeling—really mean things. Things I would never say to my friends or the people that I love.

I would beat myself up and pick myself apart.

I’m not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. I’m not good enough.”

Imagine me telling you:

You’re not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like you. You’re not good enough.”

Ouch. Now do you feel the daggers?

I learned to shut off that well and cured the toxins. I’m not saying it doesn’t leak every now and then, but I became aware of the words I was using to hurt myself, telling myself hurtful things I would never tell people I loved.

I know it’s not easy. Sometimes when I open the door to negative thoughts, they flood in and there is no going back—it’s hard to shut off that well. But, when things don’t go our way, or we feel as if there is no one on our side, we can’t be the first to defeat ourselves.

As we hold ourselves to the standards of others, comparing yourself to others is never the answer. You should always want to be the best you that you can be. Because the path you’re on was only written for you, no one else. Putting yourself down and telling yourself what you want doesn’t exist or that your imperfections are louder than the beautiful parts of you, only creates a lonelier world. Why would you want that?

Sometimes it’s a lonely world out there.

We get lonely.

We crave that validation of self-worth from others and put too much pressure on them to fulfill what we already know and have inside of us. And sometimes, that isn’t enough so we go searching for more. We try to find it in people, social media, dating apps, success in the work place, you name it—we’ve all searched for it in one form or another.

In people…

We meet people who treat us like an option that didn’t even have a chance. Or we meet people that are really great for us, they check off one big box off our checklist and we think it’s all that we need. We get caught up in the fulfillment that we forget to ask ourselves if we really are fulfilled. Then, sometimes we meet people that fulfill our voids for the time being and we forget to check-in and ask ourselves if we are happy, if we are okay, if this is what we want, if we are deserved to be treated this way…

We put pressure on people to give us things we need. We hold them on a perfect pedestal, always expecting them to be the perfect person, our hero. But no one is perfect. No one will ever check every box you need except you. The universe will always send you someone when you need to be reawakened, sometimes it’s not even a person—it can even be a dog. But people will not complete you, they will only help you complete you.

In places…

Sometimes we travel the world to sustain us. We leave and never want to come back. Life is easier when we aren’t dealing with ourselves or our problems back home. Don’t get me wrong, traveling is a good thing. Traveling teaches you things about yourself. You learn more about yourself when you travel. You receive signs and tools and experiences to help yourself grow. Just don’t forget to come home and use those experiences to work on yourself. Travel will always be there.

Connect the two and search for answers to questions you hide within yourself. That’s what places are for—to unveil things for you, to help you love yourself more. They are there to provide a different environment or prospective. Places help you see what you’ve been blinded from seeing in yourself.

In things…

Sometimes self-worth gets trapped in things like Instagram followers or Facebook likes. These things have grown to become an instant source of validation. We don’t need them, but they’re so addictive. They validate what we are looking for in an instant. It’s easy, quick, and doesn’t require you to work on yourself.

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter who liked your post. If you thought it was cleaver, witty, touching—all that matters is you thought and felt that. At the end of the day if you take a selfie and post it, it shouldn’t matter how many likes you get. The point is, in that moment you felt beautiful and you wanted to always remember that. The validation you have in yourself will start to fuel your self-love and worth.

Self-love is better than loneliness.

Because those things are easy, loving yourself—that’s hard.

We live in a world where society likes to put you in a box. Where social media and body standards constantly change. We live in a world where it’s easy to give up on yourself. Where it’s easy to give in and settle into something or someone that doesn’t fulfill you completely or even meet you halfway. And I wish it wasn’t this way. But you have the power to control that and channel it into self-love instead of validation from others.

What’s hard is using that energy for yourself. What’s hard is learning to love yourself. We need to put in the work to love ourselves the way we hope other people love us, the way we love our passions, the way we love to get a hit of instant validation. We need to water our own seeds if we ever want to see them grow. You need to make time for YOU.

Practice Self-Love.

So next time those mean thoughts emerge from the darkness, turn on the light. Say something positive instead. Even if it’s not about you. I know some of you find it hard to compliment yourself, I’ve been there. We can take baby steps. So even if the thought is complimenting someone else, that counts too. 

Positive thoughts are the only cure to toxic, negative ones. 

Give yourself some time to recognize those hurtful words, change them into positive ones, then do something to make you feel good about yourself. Buy yourself flowers, take yourself out on a date, start a bullet journal, sign up for that exercise class you’ve always wanted to try, do something you’ve always wanted to do. You’ll start to see yourself bloom and love will radiate within you.

Lovelee Lesson:

You have to remember that you should always be your number one fan, as best as you can be. At the end of the day, whatever it is you are struggling with, don’t shut yourself down so easily. Stop and thinking about the hurtful words that you are telling yourself and check yourself—is this something I would be telling my mom or my best friend if they were in this situation? I can guarantee you that the answer is no. Why would you? You love them too much to hurt them like that.

You are as important as those that you love. Don’t forget to treat yourself like a friend. Don’t look for what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. Look for the things that make you, you. And go fall in love with yourself. I for one, think you’re exquisitely lovely. And you are so loved. Even and especially by your truest, most loveliest friend: you.

Eat, Pray, Love in Italy: Love

Eat, Pray, Love in Italy: Chapter Love.

Love actually is, all around.

Love is bittersweet.

There was a time, for a long time, that I was extremely bitter when it came to love. Anytime I would see a couple holding each other or kissing in public, I would jokingly say, “Get a room!” or would simply just silently “Booooo” at them. These were things that got a laugh, where I would engage my friends in participation. These were childish things. I found humor in making fun of the one thing I always wanted, but never got, a way for me to deal with that bitterness.

I hated seeing people happy like that. Selfishly, that wasn’t fair because I didn’t have it, when I wanted it. So, it was easier to simply “boo” at them and make it a joke. I know we’ve all been there. Watching people love on each other in extreme displays of PDA, or sometimes in a simple back rub at a concert. Something that probably feels totally normal to the other person, but to the outside looking in—a single display of affection at a time when you are bitter about love, can just be a reminder of the fact that you don’t have a public back rub masseur on call, to make that a normal thing. Which in turn, makes you even more bitter.

It’s a trigger, and bitterness feeds on it like it’s the only thing on the menu. Bitterness makes you focus on the things you don’t have in that moment. It makes you forget about all the other beautiful things in life that you do have in this moment. Bitterness takes the focus away from living in the present. It takes your moment and reminds you of your past, and it flash forwards you to the future. A future where you are still alone and how nothing in the past ever worked out, how the situation you are in right now is going to last forever. Bitterness does a lot of time traveling. Bitterness is dangerous, it’s unhealthy. It’s sometimes my best friend. It’s easy, familiar. It’s something that I try and reason with.

That’s amore.

When I went to Italy, I was in a bitter state of mind about a lot of things, one of them being love. But being bitter also causes blindness. Blindness where you are unable to see things that are constantly being shown to you as a form of beauty or reassurance. But I was bitter for a long time, therefore I was blind and could not see those beautiful reminders of the thing I loved most. Then, something happened in Italy. Something spectacular, something completely unexpected.

I was in Venice. Eating Gelato. Go figure. It was peaceful, I was happy. I was eating in Italy, so I wasn’t multi-tasking or worrying. And maybe it was the combination of eating and some of the long lost praying I had been doing while I was there. God are you there? It’s me Mon. But, mid-gelato, I witnessed something beautiful.

The photo you see above, I captured in a very delicate moment. From my perspective, an Italian girl had just had a long day, something had happened. She was distraught, she was crying. She was telling her boyfriend the story but couldn’t seem to get the words out through all the tears. Then, all of a sudden her boyfriend just held her as she continued to cry into his chest. He allowed her to feel, and he comforted her. Something so simple, something that we so often forget to do. Yet, it was so amazing to witness. I saw love. I witnessed it in it’s purest, most raw form. And I finally understood what I was allowing myself to be blinded from. I was reminded in that moment that love existed. That love was real.

Bitterness unveiled.

And in that moment, for the first time in a long time, bitterness stayed away because even it was floored. We came to a mutual understanding that this was a beautiful moment, it was real. Regardless of what had fed bitterness all those years, all the lies and the heartbreaks, the love we had erased and doubted, existed.

And after that moment, I noticed myself actively looking for love. I would capture love, instead of booing childishly at the couple in front of me. I wanted to see it again and again. I wanted to be reminded that it was real. Maybe the thought of it being something I could never attain or sustain, made viewing it out in the world a little bit more tangible. Because this time, bitterness couldn’t argue with it anymore. It started to believe in it again. So, I wanted to make sure I captured every moment I could, to remind bitterness to stay away. As she cried in his arms, I couldn’t help but capture the moment to remind myself of it. Because it unveiled my eyes so vividly.

Throughout my trip to Italy, I noticed a lot of wedding photo shoots, couples holding hands, couples randomly pausing in the middle of the street just to kiss each other in that moment. Bitterness would like to add here that it’s sure this was only because we were in Europe, but I refuse to give in to it’s side remarks anymore. Because every time I would notice a couple, I was reminded that love existed. This even happened when I returned home. So, suck it bitterness.

I like to believe that God took a moment to unveil my eyes in Italy. To remind me that the form of love that I crave so deeply is alive and well. And although it might not be my time for that, it still exists. And I can continue to fuel my belief in it as long as I want to. Because for a time, I used to say I believed in three different kinds of love. And after constantly feeding that belief, I grew tired of breaking my own heart by cheating myself from what I really wanted—unconditional comfort and confidence in myself, supported by someone else who I unconditionally comforted and encouraged as well.

And after all those years with bitterness, I now understood love when I witnessed it in the streets of Venice. That couple may have been young, but their love was so strong. And if there’s anything that I strongly believe in, it’s love. Love exists in many forms, but this is the one I resonate with the most. Sorry bitterness.

A time for love.

Italy may have awakened my belief in love and unveiled my bitterness towards it, but it also started a journey of self-love. I may have left my heart in Venice, but it was ready for the greatest love story of all time—my own. And in my story, I have dreams other than love. There are things I wanted to do with my life that bitterness wouldn’t let me do, that I am now embarking on before chapter love really does come to pass. Finally. But in the meantime, I can admire it from afar and know that it’s something that is real. And if the form of love I want isn’t written for me in this life, at least I know that it exists and that I am on an adventure to find things I love too.

Lovelee Lesson:

Love taught me that it actually does exist. Bitterness can cloud the existence of the thing you want most. It can create a fog around what is alive and well in the world around you. But letting God unveil your eyes, surrendering to peace and just opening your heart, is something that I hope everyone experiences in their lifetime. However they need to experience it. Your unveiling might not be in love, but maybe something else.

But I learned that the thing I believe in most, that I want the most, still exists. And although I might not get it when I want it or in the way that I want it, others are getting to experience it in their own way every day. It is something that should be admired and pursued as a reminder that you’re alive in a beautiful world. And that you are on the right path to discovering where you’re meant to be. You might just have to do a few things for yourself first, before you get the thing you want most. Have faith that unveiling things is one step closer to the greatest gift of all.