EVERY human has the right to self-expression. The fight to be recognized and accepted takes strength, endurance and most of all, self-love. Fighting so vehemently, for so long, can only come from an inner acceptance of the self. Although the struggle is far from over, we are living in a time where all genders, preferences and colors are starting to be recognized. When the LGBTQIA folks model self-love, it forces society to increase it’s recognition and acceptance of others.
Self-love means giving yourself a break and accepting yourself unconditionally. We are all prone to difficult life situations, but they do not take away from our value as humans. If we cannot accept ourselves, with all of our baggage, we can never achieve self-love.
Learning to love yourself takes time. Often times, our self-deprecating words and thoughts are directly tied with how we love and accept ourselves. Sometimes, we have to undo years, if not decades, of negative self-talk, difficult childhood experiences and traumas. Going through this process alone might not be the best idea. It is very difficult to objectively look at yourself and shut off the negative self-talk that got you here in the first place. Therapy and support groups can be good tools for this journey. Staying in your own head doesn’t bode well- sometimes you need an outside perspective to reinforce your worth. Be compassionate to yourself in this process because it’ll be uncomfortable. Don’t set time restrictions on your progress and lean on a good friend or supportive family member when needed.
The LGBTQIA community can teach the world a lot about unconditional self-acceptance. Pride month is not only a time to revel in all the progress the community has achieved. It’s also a time to celebrate and appreciate the tremendous strength it takes to love yourself no matter what.