I want to normalize something: self love, self acceptance, and self discovery- what I'm all about helping clients with here at Many Colors- is hard!
We all struggle with parts of ourselves that we've been told are not okay. Traditional gender roles are one example. Women and femme identified folks are socialized to detach from that within us which is considered masculine. Men and masculine identified folks are discouraged from being what is perceived to be feminine. Bisexual or pansexual individuals and non-binary people are invalidated for not fitting into the gender binary. There is pressure to be the "right" kind of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer person. These are just a few examples.
Of course, none of us are as simple as a stereotype and traditional gender roles hurt us all. Self love involves knowing and accepting who you really are.
It's scary because it requires you to let your guard down- first with yourself and then with others- by revealing the contradictory complex person you are; but it does something magical. It frees you from the constraints of internalized oppression and allows others to be closer with you and maybe with parts of themselves, too. We all deserve permission to be ourselves.
You learn how to love and accept who you are by picking up on what feels true to you and what doesn't. Some discomfort and fear along with doing something new is to be expected. It's essential to tease apart what's healthy anxiety related to self discovery and what's a message that something isn't right for you; this changes over time and is different for every person. That's why a counselor, friend, or trusted ally is a big help in this process.
Our natural tendency to play it safe by fitting in is so understandable and something that only you are in charge of (safety is key!); but, when it gets in the way of being who we truly are, it can really keep us from our joy. Knowing, loving, and trusting yourself is the answer and it's a skill that can be learned!
May we all find what's right for us at any given moment on the self love journey. There will be missteps, setbacks, and mistakes as you find what's right for you and you deserve your loving understanding the whole way.
Yours Truly, Anna Belle