How to Actually Put Self Love into Practice

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A month ago, this is what I knew about myself for sure:

I’m in a happy relationship with my boyfriend of four and a half years.

I have built a home with the person I love.

I’m building a life with the person I love.

Today? None of that is true

Our relationship ended for many reasons. Many are too personal to write here. Many aren’t mine to share. However, I will say this: 

The relationship ended because I was cheating on myself, emotionally, with him.

Let that sink in. 

I loved him long before I loved myself. I sought everything from him: validation, affirmation, confirmation… Are you surprised to hear it was never enough? 

It's the classic scenario. 

I preach #selflove and know, in theory, that I’m a strong, amazing human. But putting that knowledge into sustainable practice? That shit is hard.

And now the party’s over and I’m left cleaning up the aftermath, I’m finally, finally starting to get it:

This love thing? It begins and ends with me. 

Just me. 

The answers I’m looking for — the validation I seek — can’t be found in another human, no matter how well-intentioned. Nor can it be found in a fancy dinner date, a trip across the world, a thousand Instagram likes or a shopping spree. 

And the same rules apply to you, too—no matter what your relationship status.

If you’re looking for validation about your appearance, learn to look in the mirror and compliment what you see. If you’re seeking confirmation of your intellect, invest in a course or a good book and watch as your mind expands. If you want affirmation about your character, learn to sit comfortably in the silence with yourself. One minute. Two minutes. An hour. Sit. Learn. Do the work. Even when it’s tough. Especially when it’s tough.

Take more photos. Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Monitor your internal monologue. Every time you think “I’m so stupid” / “I’m so awkward” / “I’m so dumb” / “I’m so ugly”, pause. Really pause. Take the thought back. Don’t even allow those thoughts to touch your lips. 

Switch your mentality from “I’m broken” to “I’m growing” and watch how your life changes. 

In the wake of my grief, these small acts of self love have got me through the past few weeks.

These are the things that will get me through my life, whether I have five husbands or none. 

It’s my job to figure out who I am. It’s my job to validate my goddamn self. Only I can cultivate and create contentment — true contentment — within myself. This is my job and mine alone.

And, in realising this, I’m freeing myself.

This is my life’s work. 

I'm ready to start hustling. 

Bianca Bass