Our #BREAKFREE from Fear Campaign Ambassador Laura Jane Williams tells us how to love ourselves and gives us her tricks for seeing the world through a happy filter...
I’m in love with myself. With who I am, and what I believe, and how I see the world. Me, myself, and I are really chuffing happy together. I’m proud of myself – imperfect and wild and confused and messy and trying – and that’s because I learned a trick. A hack.
Once I started to do this one, seemingly quite small, thing, my life unfolded into a love affair with itself – even on the bad days (which really, isn’t that when we need the kindness and affection and reassurance of a loving relationship the most?).
We all want to go to bed at night, every night, feeling like, oh hey. I did good today. I’m all right. We all want to feel like we’re seen. Heard. Like we matter. Right?
My hack is this: I suspend judgment on myself.
I suspend judgment on myself because I’ve learned to be my own best friend. My best friend – myself – tells me I matter. That I am worthy. Capable. And because of that, I’m a brave and bold beast. Life doesn’t scare me. Well, actually that’s not true. Life terrifies me. But I am brave and bold in spite of, and because of, that. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ve got one hell of a cheerleader in myself.
The love I have for myself isn’t contingent on me only being “good” or “successful” or “popular”. If I screw up, I’m not breaking up with myself. It’s unconditional, this thing we’ve got going on. That makes anything possible. I’ve got a forever friend who doesn’t care if I am “right” or “wrong”, “correct” or “bad” – she just cares that I give a damn. That my intentions are true. That I’m the most authentic version of myself I can be. That’s freeing.
Do I sound corny? Probably. And I don’t mean to present happiness as some sort of competition, self-love as a quantifiable metric of “success” like weight or job title or salary or relationship status. I’m not bragging.
I’m telling you this because for ages I wasn’t confident, or happy, or in admiration of me and all that I can and will do – not in a manageable, consistent way. It feels like a personal coup that now, on the other side of the most tempestuous, unnerving, anxious decade of my life, I can say: I’ve learned something.
I’ve learned how to like myself.
I’ve also learned how to maintain that “like”. That love. Because that’s part b) to my life hack: don’t think that once you attain “happy” or “self-love” or “confidence” that that’s the job done. All of those things are slithery, slippery, elusive snakes that need constant attention, like toddlers. Leave your self-esteem unattended for too long and you’ll find it smearing dinner all over the walls, gleefully and with abandon. Liking myself is a full-time job. An ongoing art. A lifetime’s work.
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Listen. I’m distrustful of advice. Let me say from the start that I’m not here to tell you what to do, and how to do it. I do not have any answers, and don’t believe any writer or blogger or Internet ~personality~ who professes to have it all figured out. Be warned: all advice is autobiographical and when we give it, we pull it out from a store of memories and experiences coloured by a complex past. When we tell each other what the best thing to do is, what we’re really saying is, this is how I wish I could re-write my own story, or, I need to know I did the right thing by having you do the same thing too. Whatever we prescribe for somebody else it is in some way a prescription for us, as well. Take it with a pinch of salt. Trust you, most of all.
Bravery is trust, and that trust in yourself has to be your guiding light. You’re not screwing up like you think you are. Everything you think you need to live boldly and unafraid of your own blinding potential is already within you.
Start here: The only person who is an authority on you, is you.
Take a minute to tell yourself that. Write it down somewhere if you want. Nobody knows you like you do.