Can you sit there and truly say, “I love myself” without any caveats? If not, don’t feel bad. Not many SAHM can. Typically the statement goes more like, I love my kids, I love my family, I love my house… no self-love. Loving your family and your life are important, but you can’t know how powerful that love can really be until you find out how to love yourself first.
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For a very long time, I didn’t love myself. I still struggle with self-love. Why? Because it’s not something that’s programmed into me. I have taken the years of negative comments, put-downs, and hatred as the value of my worth instead of realizing that no one else defines my worth but me.
Additionally, I didn’t realize that those few who spread that negativity around are truly the ones lacking. I live my life trying to be kind and life other people up. It’s an important core value. The people slinging insults and put-downs at me are saying something much more telling of their character than mine.
So why does it affect us so much? I believe it is because we’ve never taken the time to discover our truth and take personal responsibility for our lives. If someone tells me that my minivan is a sports car, I wouldn’t take it personally or question whether or not my van is a sports car. No, I’d simply think, “Okay, you have fun believing that,” and go about my life.
Why? Because I know that my vehicle is, in fact, a black minivan and no amount of telling me otherwise will make it less true.
Imagine having that same confidence in your sense of self. The confidence of knowing your worth and your ownership no matter what others say to the contrary. That’s pretty powerful and it starts with personal responsibility.
Taking an Inventory of Wrongs
This is the first step to truly freeing yourself. Pull out your journal and write down every instance you can think of where someone wronged you. This can be a long or as short as you want. I do believe that if it is an experience or animosity that still tightens your stomach to this day, it definitely should go on the list.
Please note that this is not my original idea. It is something that is done at Al Anon to help family members. I was first exposed to it on Kate Anthony’s podcast, The Divorce Survival Guide Podcast. I cannot recommend enough that you listen to the episode about personal responsibility. Her example for this is truly brilliant and inspiring.
Own Your Part
After you have your list of wrongs, it’s time to think about what role you played in those events. Again, if you are struggling with this I totally recommend you listen to Kate’s podcast episode. After listening you’ll be convinced that if she can do it, anyone can.
Here are some examples from my own life to help you out, too:
When my parents got divorced, my mom started going out and partying a lot. I felt abandoned and unloved.
I never articulated these feelings to her at the time. I was angry, hurt, and depressed that she didn’t just know how much pain I was in. In addition to that, I also didn’t take any time or energy to think about it from her point of view.
I was once drugged and raped at a party.
I did not know the guy I went to the party with (he was a friend of a friend) and I didn’t know anyone at the party. I should not have even gone, let alone had anything to drink.
- I want you to know that in this process, you are not absolving the people who hurt you of any wrongdoing. In my second example, that boy 100% committed a crime and it was/is not okay. However, I am also not without fault in the situation. That is the point you’re trying to get to with this exercise.
Determine Your Own Definition
Once you can honestly identify your personal responsibility in your life, you feel empowered. It truly sets you free so that you can define your own self-worth and do it with love and acceptance. Not one of us is perfect, but you always know when you’re being true to your core.
Take a moment to write down a glowing description of yourself. It can only be positive. Find at least one physical, personality, and cultural trait that you truly love about yourself without caveats. This is the time for self adulation because guess what: none of those things that have happened to you define you. They only served to shape you and to teach you. A life without mistakes isn’t a life.
As you go through the journey of rediscovery after marriage and motherhood, go back and add to your definition. Continue to add to it as you learn more about yourself. Use it as your tangible guide for how to love yourself first. Know that you are smart, funny, strong, powerful, independent, and capable no matter what anyone else tells you.
Calling a minivan a sports car doesn’t make it true and someone telling you that you’re something you’re not is the same way. As with all things, this strength, fortitude, and self love get stronger with practice. Know your truth and let go of your past.
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How to Rediscover Yourself After Marriage and Motherhood Series
- Why All Moms Need a Journal
- Determine Your Why for Self Discovery
- Find Your Cheerleaders
- DIY Positive Affirmation Cards
- Create Your SAHM Hierarchy of Needs
- The Hard Truth About Carving Out Me Time
- 5 Awesome Podcasts to Inspire Self Discovery
- How to Love Yourself First
- Stop Reacting to Life and Live Proactive
- How to Set and Protect Boundaries as a Mom
- How Moms Can Stop Being People Pleasers
- Why It’s Okay to Outgrow Relationships
- It’s Time to Break-up with Yourself
- Create a Mini Mom Oasis for Recharging
- Why Moms Should Date Themselves + How to Do It
- How to Get Your Free Time Back as a SAHM
- Turn Someday into Today
- Why You Should Throw Out Your Clothes
- Rediscover Your Old Hobbies
- How to Find New Hobbies You Love
- How to Create a Daily Self Care Routine
- Shut Down Your Negative Self Talk
- How a Haircut Can Help You Find Yourself
- Make a Bucket List You’ll Actually Complete
- Unique Alternative Ideas to Help You Find Yourself
- Why SAHM Need to Unplug Weekly
- 10 Mom Date Ideas You Can Do at Home
- 10 Mom Date Ideas to Get Out of the House
- Embracing Your Weird as a Mom
- How to Practice Mindful Reflection