• Leatitia Coetzee

My image of self vs the image that real love has

Maya Angelou says, “Love liberates. It does not bind.”

Before Amandeep (my fiancé), “love” always looked like fixing myself the right way, so someone could bring themselves to love me. Being perfectly shaved, perfectly thin, and perfectly presentable.

Now, I know real love makes room for you to love yourself the way you are and the way you want to be. I feel more beautiful than I ever have, and I allow myself things I assumed were only allowed for women doing a better job at being pretty than I was. I allow myself to live fully.

I present myself to the world in a way that feels right to me. Love got me here. And every day is a struggle, don’t get me wrong. But somehow, someway I find myself anew each day. And not on my own, because in my own mind I am very critical of myself, but with the right love, respect, space, and time is given to me by Amandeep, my support system, my rock, and best friend, I am reminded daily that it is okay to feel my dimples and to love my quirkiness and awkwardness.

It is okay to be moody, impulsive and like a chameleon on a smartie box (i.e indecisive and chaotic, overthinking and over-planning, etc ) and it is okay to just be me. I don’t have to try and be anyone else, as he accepts the women God had gifted him with. And I am learning to believe this wholeheartedly, and not to expect the preverbal other shoe to drop because I am not “perfect”.

Don’t we all get here sometimes, most days, or always. Aren't we all, as women, hard-wired to be so critical and judgmental of ourselves, but we are oh-so-good and gifting advice to everyone else and gifting support and praises to everyone else around us...except to ourselves.

And we get huffy and offended if we are not recognized or praised for our successes but when someone does compliment us, we somehow feel shamed at this, and oh-no I am not that great, really. And then we deflect the compliment onto someone, who we think is better or prettier or smarter etc. Right? Why is this?

Because we were told from a young age that selfishness (healthy selfishness i.e saying NO when you want to, being healthy for yourself, choosing yourself over the “group”, being authentic and true to you) is wrong, self-indulgence and self-praise are morally reprehensible and vanity is a sin. We should stay in our lane, not aim too high, do not dream too big. That you must have a man’s approval and love to feel warranted and worthy.

But I have to disagree.

We should start to raise strong-willed and strong-minded, independent and wildling daughters...who not only know their own worth but do not need validation from a man or anyone, who love their bodies, their dimples, their flaws and celebrate all of this, and celebrate other women and empower other women. In this respect, we will raise a generation of spiritually and emotionally strong and grownup women, who encourage not only each other, but their husbands and families because they are loved fully, and well.

So let's start today by loving ourselves first ( all of ourselves) and then showering and sharing that love with others.

You are worthy, you are beautiful, you are enough.

Love and adoration

Leatitia xxx

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