The Greatest Act of Self-Love

There is something you should know about me…. I am mildly obsessed with Rachel Hollis. Possibly a little bit more than mildly. If you don’t know who Rachel is, you should look up her Instagram or Facebook. Or listen to her podcast. I was introduced to her when I picked up her book Girl, Wash Your Face. This book made me laugh, and it made me cry, and it made me rethink my life and my purpose here as a woman and as a writer. I’ve read it cover-to-cover twice. If you’re a woman, you should definitely read it. Men you can read it, too, but it won’t hit you the same. Anyways, back to my Rachel obsession… after reading her book I followed her on Instagram and Facebook. I started listening to her podcast and watching her daily live show she does on Instagram with her husband. She just puts out great content and is entertaining and funny to boot.

I could write a post on each individual chapter from GWYF and how it changed my thinking, but I’ll spare you that. For today at least. But my friend Tori sent me this quote from the book this weekend and it reminded me just how much it made my heart ache.

“Sometimes choosing to walk away, even if it means breaking your own heart, can be the greatest act of self-love you have access to.” 

Learning to let go of things no longer serving you is most definitely an act of self-love. But damn, this can be so ridiculously hard. When I decided to end my relationship of nearly 4 years, it was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make. It took me months to be able to let go. I knew long before it was actually over that it wasn’t going to work out, but walking away definitely meant breaking my own heart. Now, long after the fact, I’m grateful for that choice and I know that it was the right decision, but at the time it felt like I wasn’t going to survive it.

It breaks my heart when I see people in relationships where they aren’t getting the love, loyalty, respect, and honesty that they deserve. When you’ve been with someone for so long, it’s hard to imagine life without them. Its hard to face just how many aspects of your life are going to change if you let go. Its hard to think about finding someone else and its scary to wonder if you’ll ever find someone better. Its hard to remember the good times and all the love and wish that you could just get back to that.

But if you are in a relationship where you are being lied to, or you are being disrespected, or you are being cheated on, or you are being treated like a doormat, or a second option, or being taken for granted, or you are no longer being treated with love, and respect, and kindness: it’s time to break your own heart and walk away. If the good things about your relationship no longer outweigh the bad things, its time to make a hard decision. It’s time to put your foot down. It’s time to love yourself enough to quit accepting less than what you deserve. It’s time to quit allowing behavior that you do not want to continue. I know you love him, but you have to love yourself more.

The other Rachel quotes from this chapter that I have highlighted are this:

“People will treat you with as much or as little respect as you allow them to” and ” as long as you allow someone to treat you badly, they will continue to do so. If you’re not able to value yourself, no one else will either.”

Realize right now that you deserve more than half-assed effort and crappy excuses. You deserve more than lies. You deserve more than being treated like a second option. You deserve more than being taken for granted. Realize now that you are allowed to want more for yourself. Realize right now that if you don’t start believing that you are deserving of more, that you will keep getting less than you deserve. Realize right now that if you keep allowing yourself to be treated without respect, you are going to continue getting treated without respect. What you allow will continue. Realize right now that you need to love yourself enough to walk away.

Learning to let go isn’t just important for romantic relationships. You have to learn to recognize when something is no longer having a positive impact on your life, and you have to be willing to let go of that. This can be a job, or a friendship, or a behavior that you need to let go of.

If you are working somewhere that you hate going in to every day, or if you aren’t being treated respectfully by your coworkers or your bosses, or if your job is not helping you to eventually get to where you want to go…. it might be time to let go and walk away.

If you have a friend who makes you feel bad about yourself, or who flakes on you all the time, or who has a negative vibe and always brings you down, or continues to encourage you to participate in self-destructive behavior, or who doesn’t support your goals or care about your well-being, or who continually puts down your dreams… it might be time to let go and walk away.

If you have a a bad habit that makes you feel guilty or unhappy or if you have a habit that is getting in the way of your goals, it might be time to let go of it. This could be your habit of spending an hour on your phone on social media as soon as you wake up. Or your habit of emotional eating. Or your habit of having a glass or three of wine every single night before bed. Or your habit of letting the dishes pile up until you have no clean dishes to use so your forced to wash them. Or your habit of skipping the gym when you told yourself you were gonna go. Whatever it is – if it makes you feel slightly guilty, if you know that it’s getting in the way of your goals, if this behavior is making you unhappy deep down – let go. and walk away.

You are allowed to remove toxicity from your life. Toxic people, toxic situations, toxic behavior. No matter if its your best friend, your boyfriend (or girlfriend), or even a family member. If they are toxic to you – if they are bringing you down and making you feel bad about yourself, or making you unhappy, or bringing chaos to your life – you are allowed to remove them from your life. If you can’t fully remove them, you can at least quit allowing them to have an impact on your life. No matter who it is. If something is costing you your peace, it’s too expensive.

Self-love is important for every single aspect of your life. Letting go of things that are no longer bringing you happiness, or fulfillment, or aren’t helping you get farther along in your journey…. Letting go of these things is 100% an act of self-love. Love yourself to walk away from things that are no longer serving you. 

Thank you for reading. If this resonated with you, or if you have a friend that needs to hear it, I’d love it if you shared this post. And if you want to know more about the most important lesson I learned during my 4 year relationship, you can read about that here.

Photography by: 3 Little Birds Photography

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