Recently, I watched a video of an incredible slam poet – Ashley Wylde. It inspired me to write this…
From the day we are born to when we are children, then adolescents, moving into young adulthood, transitioning into adulthood, and then shifting into older adults.
At all of the phases of our lives, we are taught to learn how we must feel about ourselves based on the external assessments that we receive from the people around us. A lot of the times, these external assessments are based on our physical appearance and how other people feel about the way we look. This comes from friendships, romantic relationships, co-workers, family members, strangers.
When we are born, it is the usual reaction to gawk at how ‘beautiful’ we are as babies, when we are children, adults talk to us about how they like our clothing, how pretty or handsome we are. As adolescents, acceptance to ‘fit in’ at school into certain peer groups is highly based on physical appearance, in adulthood – it’s almost the same way in work environments or even when struggling to find that balance between ‘appearing as an adult but not seeming too old’, and then as older adults that tough spot of no longer looking youthful and being okay with an aging body.
All of these phases of life come with external assessments on how other people see us and the way they feel about our appearances and if they think it is acceptable. We find ourselves in a position of basing our own self-esteem, self-worth, and body image on what other people tell us.
Throughout every chapter of life, we also learn about the things that we love. We learn to rattle off a list to anyone about the things that we find enjoyment in, what makes us happy and what we truly appreciate in life.
Most of the time, when we talk about the things we love we could make a list that is pages long. Regardless of how long that list is, I am willing to bet that many people would not once use the phrase: I Love Myself.
It can take incredible courage to say the words, I Love Myself and to truly believe it. We tend to be more comfortable with complimenting other people, and not as comfortable with loving, complimenting, and appreciating our own selves.
This poem reflects Wylde’s experience of taking her wise grandmother’s advice and Meeting Herself in the Mirror to find what really mattered. She talks about making a date of it, and really looking at herself and saying “I Love You”.
This inspired me and reminded me of the importance of truly loving oneself and putting aside all of the external assessments and judgments that we tend to base our self-worth off of. Because Ashley’s grandmother is right – what truly matters is how much you love yourself. Not how much other people love the you that they want you to be.