Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Family Time | Love yourself harder

Published:Sunday | February 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Motherhood has brought so much joy into my life and has allowed me to grow and become a better person. I am the proud mother of two beautiful children - Aiden, my firstborn, and my daughter, Arielle. My children inspire me daily and give me a purpose to continue on this journey called life. I have grown so much as a mother, and some of my best lessons are from my children. Let's take this journey together in this space created by Outlook Magazine - A Mother's Space.

I love the reflection that I see - the curves and the broad nose. I love my short hair and, most times, my 'Fro. I love my thick thighs and all of me - from the crown of my head right down to my toes. I am so in love with me.

I am such a sucker for romance and love stories. For the month of February, I plan to live a little and explore - head out to a few special places; perhaps a date or two. For the last few years, I have been patiently waiting for Prince Charming. But reality hit after celebrating my daughter's eighth birthday and my son's soon to be 10th. In a few years, they will be intertwined with their teenage struggles and finding themselves. A friend joked about checking back with me when my children are in college, to see if I have decided to live again. This was not an applauding conversation but a time of reflection, as I have been so consumed with motherhood over the last few years that I often forgot about Marica. I have had my shares of long, dead-end relationships; and yes, in 2017 I decided to rid myself of it. I want to love me harder than before, work so much on me that my future husband will have no choice but to love me beyond measure.

As Paul Brunson stated on a video posted on Instagram, "Unconditional self-love helps a woman grow and becomes her best self. When the right man comes along, he will have no choice but to give you unconditional love in return, because you have attracted an equal." He also reminded me that a relationship is a collective interdependence stemming back to the laws of attraction. Self-love does not mean you are conceited, it means you are confident enough to accept yourself for who you are. It is being so authentic that you acknowledge and embrace your flaws and build upon your strengths.

Here are my four simple suggestions to loving yourself harder:

Rule #1: Never be No. 2

Focus on seeking God first and he will lead you in the right direction. As the Bible states in Matthew 6 vs 33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Anytime we do not put God first, we will settle for second best. This also applies to self-love and personal relationships. Put yourself first and never settle for less.

Rule # 2: Spend time with you

As a single mother, I look forward to kid-free weekends. I love my alone time, without any distractions. I love to enjoy me, and will just dance naked in front of my mirror while listening to some good old '90s music. I use this time to love what I see, and to embrace all of me including my flaws. During quiet moments, I love to read and meditate on God's word - spending time reflecting on God's purpose for my life.

Rule #3: Don't compare your journey to others

God loves variety, and has created us differently right down to our fingertips. I always remind myself that God's timing is not my timing. We all have different paths to take to get to our destination, so don't compare your success or journey to others. You can only control your own destiny, so don't waste time focusing on other people's lives rather than your own.

Rule #4: Be authentic

Be you! People are more drawn to authenticity than hypocrisy. I tell folks what you see is what you get. I often speak my mind freely, and find that openness is more accepted by my colleagues and friends. I try not to fear my true feelings, and can openly share it with the world around me.

The moment you walk away from toxic relationships, you realise what is more important to you and what isn't. You realise that after loving someone else too much, you lose self-love in the process, which can be painful. No one has the right to make you feel worthless. No one has the right to steal your joy. Learn to care less about what others may feel and think about you, and care more about yourself. You can face the mirror and smile and see how your mess is now truly your own message and inspiration. Plant your own garden, fill it with sunshine, and decorate your own soul rather than wait for someone to do it. Love yourself harder.

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