So, I had an epiphany today. The beginning of this year I sort of made a resolution. Not the typical “I’m going to workout everyday,” kind but a better one.

I’ve decided to be happy. Sure everyone believes that they are happy enough, but how many of us are truly happy? How many of us look in the mirror in the morning unsatisfied?

I know I do. Or I used to. I still catch myself speaking negative language about myself, but happiness is a process. I know that now. I’ve always wondered how to achieve a higher state of self- worth and satisfaction, and I’m going to share my secret.

I am sure that some of you don’t believe in a higher power or entity, but you believe in something. This isn’t a testimonial so don’t worry. I’m just saying that when I usually pray and meditate I always ask for guidance and clarity.

When I asked for that shortly after my resolution the answer hit me. I’ve been looking outward for these things all along. Even when you know that happiness comes from within you still don’t truly get it right away.

Love and happiness is key. To be happy you have to truly love yourself. You can’t just acknowledge it every now and then. You have to talk to yourself like you would to someone else you love. When you told your first love how you felt you were nervous, scared, and maybe even a little embarrassed. That’s how it is. It seems embarrassing to look at yourself and affirm your love.

But when you look in that mirror picking apart your body that doesn’t feel wrong. Why? Because you are so wrapped up in self-hatred you are blinded by it. Even if it doesn’t seem all that bad you are still bringing yourself down. You want people to see you a certain way but you don’t see it. People’s words hurt because you give them power. Sure words are always going to have meaning behind them, but you can choose how you absorb them.

Fat, skinny, short, tall, bald. They are just words, they can’t tear you down if you build yourself up. Now, there is a difference between building yourself up and putting up a blockade. I’ve been guilty of the blockade myself. You think that you are safe, but you aren’t. You are avoiding, and the words still penetrate. They hurt even worse because you alienated everyone because you’re afraid of getting hurt.

But when you build up your shield of self-love, there is nothing that anyone can say about you that will break you. Think of your shield as a living thing. You feed it and treat it well, and it’s good to you. You misuse it and abuse it, and it will crumble. You have to nurture your shield, and keep feeding it with positive words and acts everyday. If you can do it for others you can do it for yourself.

Because you truly can’t love anyone else if you can’t love yourself first.

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