As young girls growing up, we never cease to hear our parents, family members, and those adults we look up to tell us “If you don’t love yourself, nobody will.” I never truly understood why everybody preached that, and never grasped the FULL meaning of these words until recently.
If you’ve read this far then you probably know where I’m headed with this, but by no means am I an expert on the topic of relationships and self love and how the two correlate. I’m only 20 and I have a long way to go, not to mention a ton more to learn. I’m simply here to share my experience along with some of the things that I’ve learned on my journey and hopefully you can take something beneficial away from this.
I took some time last summer to give myself some much needed “me time”..you know, a lot of me, myself, and I, with the slightest pinch of Beyonce, and it was hands down one the best decisions I’ve ever me made. “Me time” is basically where you take time to focus on yourself. You get to know yourself better, you get to grow with yourself, and most importantly you get to appreciate and accept yourself for who you are. No matter how selfish that may sound, the reward is well worth it and once you’ve accomplished this arduous task you will feel 10,000 times better than you did before, and have a“nobody can tell me a thing” feeling.
At the time I decided to take my “me time”, I had become tired of sacrificing my happiness for others so I said “F it” and I did me boo boo. I wasn’t seeing anyone or looking for anyone so the decision to go through with it was that much easier. I met with my friends and told them, “Look I’m taking this time out for me so I’m not going to be around as much”, and they completely understood.
During my personal time, I learned to love my flaws, forgive myself for mistakes that I’d made, and learned to further accept my blackness wholeheartedly, which was the hardest thing to do. When it was break time, of this never ending journey of finding and loving myself -I was much happier with myself and others around me. As for the people that I lost along the way…well I still keep them in my prayers.
About a week after my me time, I got a text from a guy, who’s now my boyfriend, telling me how he liked my personality and thought that I was a cool person. He then wished me well in upcoming sophomore year of college. After that text, we continued to talk and I later found out that he had had a crush on me since we had taken a class together, and when I came back to school we hit it off.
Now like I mentioned before I was not looking for anyone, I didn’t pray to God to send me a man but this guy was an absolute godsend. From the start he was really kind and accepting of me, I hadn’t yet mentioned to him that I wasn’t looking for anything serious and that I was focusing on me. A few months passed and my “me time” turned into “we time.” Not too long ago, thanks to a conversation with my boyfriend, I came to realize the many benefits of my “me time.”
The time I took to get to know myself and the time that I’ve invested in my relationship have helped me to identify the difference between what is real and what isn’t, what to look for from my partner and ultimately to know that I want someone who is going to care for me and love me as much as I do myself, if not more. Here are 4 benefits I gained from my “me time”, that ended up strengthening my relationship.
1. I learned to Love my flaws.
Acceptance of my flaws made my ‘me time’ that much more worth it. It wasn’t something that came “easy,” instead it took a lot of preaching to myself that I was who I was and that I didn’t want to change anything about myself.
Just as I have come to love all of the things that I once hated about myself from the chip on my front tooth, to my crooked bottom row of teeth, to my stretch marks, and even my attitude…he has done the same. Though there were some things I had to learn to love about myself there were some things about myself that I didn’t have to grow to love.
A few of these being my hair, and my smile. Before I even got to know my boyfriend, he would always compliment me on my hair and I think he has come to love my hair a lot more than I have. He never skips out on a moment to tell how beautiful my smile is. These little compliments that he gives me from time to time, boost my confidence and make me fall more in love with myself everyday. I think it’s safe to say that this is a positive benefit from both the “me time” and the “we time.”
2. I learned to be comfortable with myself.
I always say that if you aren’t comfortable with a person or they aren’t comfortable with you then chuck up the duces. But if you aren’t comfortable with yourself and who you are and who you’re becoming then you can’t even begin to expect for someone to be comfortable with you and what you have to offer.
I took my personal time to get to know me, to get comfortable with the fact that I am a germaphobe and that I suffer from anxiety and to know that although I struggle with these things on a daily basis, they do not make me who I am and they do not take away what I bring to the table. In fact getting to know myself and getting comfortable with myself made me realize that I’m a writer, a poet, a smart and intelligent young woman among other things, and I’m in love with the woman that I’m becoming.
This journey of knowing and becoming comfortable with who I am and what I have to offer has made me realize that I shouldn’t settle for anything, and I shouldn’t be treated any less than what I am and what I deserve. It’s another way of saying “know your worth” and be comfortable with that. My boyfriend knows that I’m conscious of who I am and who I am becoming. He’s taken his time out to do some studying of his own to become aware of who I am and to continue to make himself comfortable with who I’m becoming.
3. I learned to love the skin I’m in.
As I stated previously accepting my blackness and that I am a lighter shade, was one of the hardest things I had to do during my me time and is still a work in progress. I say this because loving my complexion has always been a hassle due to the fact that I was a lighter shade. Everyone thought that since I was a lighter shade it would be easier for me but I had it just as tough as the brown and the chocolate girls. I was light enough to pass the paper bag test but not dark enough to be “considered” black.
My struggle was and still is to love the fact that my skin color is forever changing from pale in the winter, to yellow, to that tanned brown glow that I get in the summer that I really love.
When I first met my boyfriend he had only seen me when I had a tan and when we made things official I told him “my tan won’t be here come December when we go on winter break. I’ll go back to being pale.”
He had become so accustomed to seeing me as brown that now we are both dealing with the fact that my tan has faded and I look like a naked mole rat one day and a peach crayon the next. He hasn’t ceased to look at me any different than before, but just chimes in to let me know on what days I look pale the most. He has come to accept the fact that I am my own rainbow, and thinks that his chocolate on my pale peach or honey brown is a beautiful sight.
4. I learned to be my greatest supporter.
The time I took for myself helped me to learn to be my own support system and my biggest fan. I learned that I am my worst enemy and that I am responsible for picking myself up and moving forward…not anyone else. I learned that it’s great to have yourself, but it’s even better when you have a plus one in your corner cheering you on.
When he came around, it was like I had two of me rooting for myself. He has been my shoulder to cry on, my ear to listen, my best friend, my tutor and my person to give me positive vibes and to be optimistic when I am not. The biggest thing I gained form this benefit, and the one thing he never forgets to tell me is “It’s your life, do it for you. Not anyone else.”
The four things I have listed above are a majority of the things that I had to accomplish for myself before I could fully love my self and even think of starting a relationship. Each of the things I listed above are things you can do to love yourself more and prepare yourself for someone to come into your life. Once you’ve taken your ‘me time’ that ‘we time’ becomes a lot more easier. It becomes a lot easier for your significant other to accept you, love you, and to care for you because you’ve already done it on your own
One of the biggest benefits of “me time” is the fact that by doing it you accomplish the things that most women try to accomplish while already in their relationship which is trying to get to know themselves while also dealing with their partner. That’s why I always say “do it for you” not for the acceptance of anyone else and once you’ve done it for you then the right one will come along and effortlessly enhance those lessons you’ve learned.