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Love Yourself: On the Good Days and the Bad

By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW

Published: March 2014

When asked if you truly value yourself, your answer may differ depending on your current environment, life circumstances, or even your mood. While you are sitting at your desk, drinking a latte, surrounded by like-minded co-workers, and wearing a polished suit and heels, you may be quick to answer “of course I value myself”. At that moment you are comfortable with yourself because you are in an environment that highlights your success and displays how well put together you are. But what about the last weekend of the month when you are home, facing a financial crunch, and the pile of bills on the kitchen table is growing? To cope, you have surrendered to your craving for an overindulgence in an item from your “forbidden” food list or favourite alcoholic beverage. Your hair is a mess and your children have labelled you as the “enemy” of the day. How much do you love and value yourself at that moment? In this circumstance, you are facing a time of weakness, you are overwhelmed with stress, and your worth is being challenged by those who surround you. If asked how much you value yourself in this situation, you may be quick to say “not much”.


This article is for the woman who has forgotten that she is a real woman on a real journey whose value is not time-sensitive or circumstantial. Keep reading for tips on how to love every part of yourself, through your best days and your worst days.


EMBRACE YOUR IDENTITY

Your identity describes who you are as a person and can include aspects such as gender, race, age, nationality, or more.  Getting in touch with your identity is about learning to be comfortable in your own skin.  Avoid focusing on the “stress” of womanhood, or the “frustrations” of aging. Instead, appreciate the joys of womanhood and the gift of aging.  Embracing your identity helps you to feel connected with others who share aspects of your identity. You may find comfort in connecting with other women of your age, race, or cultural community. You may also be surprised at how many similarities you might share. Test yourself by exposing yourself to other women who share aspects of your identity and listen to their stories. Recognize that you are one of many women who experience similar weaknesses, insecurities, and fears. You are not alone. Embracing your identity allows you to find comfort in who you are as a person as opposed to measuring your worth based on the challenges you are facing in your life.


EXPRESS YOUR UNIQUENESS

Loving every part of yourself involves acknowledging your unique qualities and expressing your uniqueness without reservation. Appreciate the differences that set you apart from others. You may be taller, shorter, thicker, or thinner than your friends or family members – embrace that, accept that, find comfort in that. You may not have the new car, white picket fenced home, or perfectly trained dog like your neighbour, but maybe you have a safe home, fun friends, and a television that can play My Strange Addiction marathons with no problem. Celebrate that! Have fun with yourself and express your appreciation for what you do have.

Expressing your uniqueness is about acknowledging what sets you apart and being ok with it. If there is a part of your identity within your control that is causing you discomfort, accept the challenge and work towards change. There is no shame in admitting you are working to improve yourself.


ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY

Keep in mind that life is a journey. Our flaws are the areas where we have been given the opportunity to experience growth. If your life was not a process then you would have been born as an elderly woman! There would be no need to grow, learn, and experience change. If you are going through a challenging experience that no one else in your network has ever experienced, then by the end of this challenge you will have learned a valuable life lesson that no one else in your network has learned.


When asked whether you love and value yourself, the answer should always be “yes of course”. Pony tail or up-do, sneakers or heels, you are a real woman on a real journey and the lessons you learn through your life struggles make you even more valuable as a woman.

About the Author

Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies to women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey. 

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