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“Love yourself girl or nobody will.” – J.Cole

A self-love journey isn’t as pretty, fun, or easy as everyone makes it seem.

Self-love is not just getting your hair and nails done every two weeks, going shopping, or going out for a few drinks…

The truth is, it hurts. It gets rough.

No one talks about the nights you’re up wondering why a certain situation had to happen to you, or why you feel so alone, inadequate and unworthy. Not to mention the countless tears, and mental/emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs that follow.

Self-love is so much deeper than simply looking the part. What about the substance beneath the beauty?

The journey to truly loving myself has been hard. It’s actually an experience I’m not very fond of.

I’ve been through so many self-love journeys you’d think I’d have it mastered by now. Each time I complete one, I’m sooo sure I’ve restored and replenished the love I have for myself. In my mind, I’m head-over-heels in love with all things Destiny — but the reality of it is, I’m not. I’m in love with the idea of loving myself.

I’m in love with how awesome it looks to love myself, to confidently state my worth, and to live this self-fulfilling life.

I’m only able to admit this because I’ve pinpointed and accepted my biggest flaw.

If I truly loved myself, that love wouldn’t dissipate as I begin to love someone else. My self-worth wouldn’t equate to someone else’s perception or treatment of me. And, I wouldn’t feel so empty after parting ways with a person.

You only allow and settle for less than what you deserve when you don’t believe you’re worth more.

I haven’t, and still don’t, always believe I’m worth more than what I settle for or allow into my space. My perception of self-love has been tainted by the idea that sometimes it hurts to love someone, or that you have to struggle in a situation before you reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m still trying to get to the bottom of why that is for me. Loving someone isn’t always easy, but it definitely shouldn’t hurt. And it should never cause you to feel inadequate or unworthy of your own love.

Fighting through the pain is not always rewarding.

A self-love journey requires you to strip yourself completely naked and stare straight on at the chaos looking back at you. It’s diving head first into your inner-being and thumbing through the hidden or suppressed memories that have shaped you into YOU. It’s facing and forgiving the people or situations that have hurt you, used you, and abused you — because every page of your book matters whether you want to re-read them or not.

Figuring out what has caused you to lose or misplace your self-love and self-worth in exchange for the bare minimum or empty promises is the first step in this journey. The second step is truly believing you’re deserving of more and recognizing your worth. You decide how much you’re worth and your purchase price — no discounts. Finally, be intentional, and be consistent. You have to consistently feed your mind, body, and spirit with love and positivity in order to yield positive outcomes.

Embrace the perfect imperfections you hate to love. Restore yourself. Affirm yourself. Love yourself — unconditionally and unapologetically.

This journey is not easy, fun or pretty, but the results are SO worth the self-restoration every single time.