What is the Role of Self-Love in Our Growth?

“We write about the brokenness,

but there is pain in being whole. 

In the desire to be more than that

which we already are, and in realizing 

how sometimes our whole is quite lacking.”

What role does self-love play in personal growth? 

My ten-year-old brother loves plants as much as he loves fried chicken. He grows his own okra, tending to it day and night. 

One time I asked him why it took so long for plants to sprout, why they didn’t just pop out the instant they were planted and make life so much easier.

Of course, this was a trick question.

He paused for a second and finally gave me a simple answer. The simplest answer in the whole world, yet, to a degree, it sums up everything about growth that leaves most of us baffled.  

“You don’t grow unless you experience things.” 

You don’t grow unless you experience things.

That five-line wannabe pop-poetry that you read at the beginning of this article was my journal entry for March 19, 2019.

Looking at yourself and not liking what you see is a struggle most of us bear quietly. It’s one of the highs and lows of growing up. 

Most of the time, the pain comes from what we don’t have. 

I don’t have porcelain skin or long legs, or dimples that rest elegantly on my cheeks.

No one ever talks about the crushing realization you get when you look at yourself and think what you have and who you are will never be enough. And there is nothing to be done. 

There is no remedy for what is not broken. 

Let’s circle back to the question, what role does self-love play in personal growth? 

Self-love can be more than a little tricky sometimes. When you’re up, you’re up. When you’re down, it’s like you’re being sucked into the depths.

I won’t tell you to bury your emotions or brush them off like they don’t mean anything. I won’t tell you not to feel what you’re feeling. 

But I will ask you to remember that it is not those moments when you’re up or down that define your self-love, but what you choose to do that makes all the difference.

Growth, real growth, is not about dismissing the pain. 

It is about transforming the pain into a learning experience. 

Growth is about welcoming and going through the fullness of the emotions our experiences may elicit from us. 

Self-love is harnessing grace within as you travel the path of growth. 

It is being kind to yourself as well as holding yourself accountable for your actions and inactions. 

It is understanding that what you perceive from the outside is only a fraction of your being and that so much lies beyond what is seen.

Self-love isn’t an alien term. We hear it everywhere, from influencers to the casual conversations we have with our friends. We see it in posters and commercial ads. 

Self-love is everywhere.

Except where it is needed most.  

Self-love can take on different forms. It can mean different things for other people. 

Contrary to popular belief, self-love isn’t about doing things that make you feel good. It’s about doing more of what brings good into your life.

One of the best takeaways from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits is the act of giving something—a dream or a habit, the time and space to live in the world. 

This time, give love room to live in your life. Cultivate self-love in your life. 


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