Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Parceling Pieces

I have a confession: I don't always know my worth. I want to believe that I love myself wholly, fully and unconditionally, and I believe I love myself more times than not, but there are times when my love for self falls short. So, I’ve decided to be intentional about loving myself.

  I love myself. I love myself. I love myself. This is my mantra. My goal is to say it until I believe it, until I live it, until I am it, so that when I say I love myself, I really mean I love me some me! And it’s not a conceited or selfish love but an authentic love that says I’m ok as I am flaws and all, and that I am a work in progress. This self love is a necessary love so that I am able to love others in the same way.

 Loving self is easier said than done because I allow outside factors to get in the way of loving who I am. I seek approval from family, friends, colleagues and the men I date.  And sometimes approval comes with a price. I have cut off pieces of myself shrinking into confined spaces to make others comfortable when what I needed to do was expand so that I busted out of anyone’s preconceived notions of who I should be. 

I've been trying to figure out when it how all begin—this parceling off pieces of myself to keep peace. I grew up in a house of strong, proud people. We were raised to believe that we were as good as anyone else. We didn't look down our noses at others and in no way did we take to others looking down on us. The youngest of seven, I was doted on. I got all that I needed and much of what I wanted. But that didn’t stop me from being a people pleaser. 

Who I’ve most wanted to please were men. Most people think I'm a smart, confident woman. And I have deluded myself into thinking the same. I prided myself on not allowing men I've dated to disrespect me, but I can't count the times I've disrespected myself in pursuit of a relationship. I wasn’t being verbally or physically abused, so what was I doing wrong? Settling for less than I deserved: giving second and third chances when he didn't deserve the first; trying to prove to him that I'm a good catch; staying when I should have left. 

For the last decade I've been single longer than I've been coupled. And I’m using this time to reflect on lessons learned and to love myself in the ways I want to be loved. For me, that has meant figuring out what does it mean to me to show love. How can I expect a man to love me better than I love myself? He won't. Loving myself in a world that doesn't always love me back isn't easy. Some days I nail it. Other days, I don’t. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't keep trying until I get it right. It's never too late to start anew.    

So, during this single season in my life, I’m learning to fall in love with myself.  To help me, I ask myself:  What did you do to show love today?  I cannot expect anyone to love me more than I love myself. Here are seven ways that I show love to myself so, I’ll be ready for love when it comes around again.
  1. I focus on eating healthy more times than not. I don’t worry about what I can’t eat. I focus on what’s good for me. So, every day I aim for fruits and vegetables.
  2. I spend time alone. If I don’t enjoying my own company, I’ll be lonely with a mate.  While spending time with me I write, listen to music or read.
  3. I spend time with people whose company I enjoy; I love a good stimulating conversation.
  4. I find pleasure in simple things like coloring, blowing bubbles or bubble baths.
  5. I take myself out—to eat, see a movie, go to the theater.
  6. I dance!
  7. I sit down at the dining room table and eat out of the good dishes.
Feel free to borrow, and share how you show love in the comments section. Thanks for reading.


  1. I adore you Ms.Gates! This is beautiful and so are you. I admire your strength and transparency, not everyone has that <3

    1. Thank you Monique. I'm glad that you got something out of what I have written. I definitely believe each one, teach one.

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  3. Jennifer Brown BanksSeptember 4, 2016 at 6:08 AM

    Bravo, Steph! In the words of Oprah: "When we know better, we do better." :-)