When I learned to love myself a bit more

Every year that I add another número to my age, I like to reflect a little on life.

What was different this past year from the previous? What did I face? How did I overcome it? Did I? And once I am done reflecting, I like to set a few goals for the upcoming year (more on that later).

Back to my reflection…

A little more than a year ago, I was in a funny place in my life. I was hearing the words, “congratulations, you’re a role-model, success” pretty often, but I myself wasn’t able to fully appreciate and give myself a few pats on the back. ¿Por qué? I was feeling a bit burnt out and I had taken a bit of a detour as far as my career went.

BUT I still kept going.

I was finally done with grad school and I wanted to put all of my energy into one thing: work. I played with balance but I was hungrier than ever.

I kept going.

I was focused. I worked, took on new projects, became a college professor. I was trying to save Journalism one tweet, one Facebook post at a time. I messed up a few times, came back up some others, and then I did a few more cool things. The first half of the previous year, I grew a lot, in my career. But when the new year came around, I realized that I hadn’t done much growing on a personal level. This was a problem. I wanted to grow in all aspects of life.

I had a friend tell me, “Joanna, the thing about you is that you see beauty in everything.” Maybe he was right, but did I see beauty in myself? In my own life? Did I love myself enough?

I decided it was time to give myself a little bit of loving.

I kept going.

I began keeping track of what made me better, happier and what didn’t. I let go of toxic relationships, I let go of negative energy, I began surrounding myself with love and for the first time in a long time, I was able to say “I love you” to someone… myself.

I loved myself for the person that I had become, I felt free and at peace.

I worked on loving every inch of my body, I worked on reminding myself of all my blessings, I worked on expressing my love and affection for others. I took care of myself, I treated myself, I challenged myself and congratulated myself when I was done.

See, when I learned to love myself and love those around me, when I learned to look at the colors and ignore the clouds, when I learned to say no because I was exhausted, I was a happier person and that affected other areas of my life. I learned that by loving myself I drew in love from others.

My circle of friends grew bigger, my relationships got stronger.

I kept going and I kept growing.

#Selflove and #Selfcare are often on my social media timeline because if there is one thing that I have confirmed this past year, is that by practicing self-love and self-care, everything else in life begins to fall into place.

BUT don’t get it twisted, I am still working on all of this, I will probably work on all of this for the rest of my life, you will probably work on all of this at some point. The point is that for the first time ever, I was and am aware, I was and am putting effort.

As I celebrated my birthday this past weekend, I found myself taking in a few moments. I sat in silence and observed my surroundings, I had felt more love and support than I had probably ever felt in my life (or maybe this was the first time I was aware).

I stopped.

I paused to reflect on my reality, to reflect on the fact that my life decisions had given me a better outcome in life and that I felt happy and grateful. I stopped and I learned that when I focused on myself a bit more, when I learned to love myself a bit more, I got love and peace in return and this, at the age of 27 I am grateful for.