Self-Love: How Do We Get There?

Hi guys, it’s Katie, Catherine’s pal here today. I was so pleased to be asked (and slightly nervous) to feature on Catherine’s blog! I hope you find me just as entertaining.

Catherine asked me to write following on from an Instagram post I wrote (see here). In it, I talked about race, identity and a journey to self-love. I thought that today I could expand on that a little.

I am so proud to be at a point now that I don’t hate who I am. Sure, I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be ok with all the nosy questions that come with the way I look, but that’s a matter for another day. Today, at 24 years old, I am FINALLY ok with being mixed. (I am half Scottish, half Filipino.) Growing up in a single parent environment on my white side meant I despised my dark features for what felt like outing me. It was my body’s fault that people couldn’t accept me for who I was inside. And so I grew to hate it.

So how did I get to the point I am now? How did I learn to love myself? I think when it comes to self-love there is no one cure fits all. What I will say though, is it starts with you eliminating the other people… So:

1) Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
We all have to stop comparing ourselves to other people! Sure, it’s great to look up to someone, to aspire to certain aspects of their appearance or a healthy lifestyle but we need to remember: there is only one them, and there is only one you. Human beings were not made to be clones and, personally, I think one of the first steps to self-love is embracing your individuality. Think about your obstacle to self-love. For me, this was ,to be frank, my race. So what DID I like about myself? And there were many things. So how about you? Are you proud of yourself for going for a run even though you felt like staying in bed all day? Do you like that your a bit of a weirdo? Do you bake amazing cakes? Tell yourself! Congratulate yourself. A few words of kindness goes a long way. And expressing gratitude is all the rage right now… so express some to yourself!

2) Meet More People Like You
I have to say, coming to uni was a huge step forward for me in terms of beginning to like how I looked. Before that, I had grown up in a rural town where I could literally count the number of POC on one hand!! When I came to “the city” (gawd), I met all sorts of new people and this included, for the first time in my life, other mixed girls. Having a network of people who understood what it was like to be mixed and who I could relate to was so incredibly empowering at such a vulnerable stage in my life. (Shoutout to my twin Cathy Mac.) Ask yourself, do I have people in my life who understand my issues, can help me through? If not, look them out! I can’t tell you how supportive it is to have people who understand your struggles. Not feeling alone makes all the difference.

3)Maybe Embark on a Journey of Self-Discovery (lol)
It was when I came back from my first proper time away travelling that I realised something in my brain had shifted. I LIKED being tanned. I was even sad my brown skin was starting to fade after a few months. For the first time, I realised I identified as coloured. I was making progress! But still, I hated being Filipino. And honestly, it took me visiting the Philippines 4 years later to accept that final hurdle in my quest for self-love. The problem was, I hated that people asked questions about my looks and my background and I had nothing to say. And although I didn’t want to talk about it, I always felt like I owed the person an answer, however painful it was for me to rehash. In the last year though, I have learned that I don’t owe ANYONE any answers and if the answers I give aren’t what they expected or don’t seem good enough, SCREW THEM. It took going to the Philippines for me to realise I had never been denying a part of myself, I just identify as purely Scottish, and that’s ok. I still had a great time there and had a chance to learn a lot about the side of me I’d never explored, but subliminally, my brain was finally beginning to understand that who I am never has and never will be about how I look, it’s how I feel inside.

So for self-love, it’s a case of self-acceptance. Only when we accept ourselves can we grow to love ourselves too. Unfortunately, self-love is not something that can be validated from other people. It is something that grows from within, and it is bloody hard, but so bloody worth it when you get to the other side. I’m not saying I will love who I am every day (does anyone?!), but boy, to finally accept who you are and like that person… it’s the best feeling in the world.

I know this hasn’t been the most eloquent of posts, and a bit all over the place, but I hope you find some words of wisdom in there. Be kind to yourself, you’re the only you you’ve got.

K x

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