Am I "Better" At Loving Myself Now?

Feb 18, 2024

What does it look like to love yourself– especially when you’re grieving? I asked myself this question first over Valentine’s Day, 2022, in the middle of my year of Grieve Leave. That somehow feels like both an eternity ago and just yesterday (which, honestly, is how time has felt overall since my dad died.) This Valentine’s Day, 2024, I imagine I’m “better” at loving myself now than I was then–  but there’s only one way to find out. 

I’m asking myself the same question, again, now, by reading through my 2022 reflections: How do you love yourself? And (for the Gram and for y’all, of course) I recorded my reactions to re-reading my thoughts for the first time in a long time.  

Has my sense of self-love changed from age 32 to 34, two more years into grieving my parents, and grieving a finalized divorce and one post-divorce relationship? 

Yes, big time. And also no.

Because I am me, I immediately found myself teary-eyed while reading my old thoughts out loud. My heart ached for the version of me I was reading about: someone who couldn’t look at herself in the mirror, and say “I love myself” without crying. I can do that now.

When it comes to the mechanics of being alone, I feel really confident these days. I wanted to be able to eat dinner at a restaurant alone, or go to a party alone, without feeling incomplete. My exact words that you can watch in the video are “I’m doing a
damn good job at this” now.  And honestly sometimes I prefer to go to events alone– in many ways, I feel stronger on my own. I feel powerful when I walk in a room, shoulders back, in a kickass pair of heels. 

I also read that I wanted to be able to feel better about myself independent of my job title and workload. I do feel better about that now – because today I recognize that I am so much more than what I produce. Although, some days I can still sink in some days to my old
hustle-culture habits, and I imagine that this is an edge I’ll probably walk forever.

But then I see the things that haven’t really changed. The idea of wanting a partner or a parent to just be there to affirm me, to tell me I’m ok, to tell me they’re proud of me? That’s something I still struggle with: seeing my own worth without someone else translating it for me.

And in a similar vein, I also reflected on my fall-back habits of dating as a self-love cure, which (in case you aren’t already aware) doesn’t actually work in the long run– it’s just a placeholder. The line that gutted me? “I will never learn to love myself if my mirror always has a man in it reading my beauty back to me. I need to do it for myself.”   

These days, I do know I am enough…I
know that. But the grief and dipping into my own struggles with self-worth go hand in hand around days like Valentine’s Day or my dad’s birthday or my dad’s death anniversary (which are all so very conveniently/devastatingly close together). But, I’m done judging myself for my feelings. I’m learning to ride the waves of grief without letting them drown me. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to believe that I deserve to love myself, even on the days when I feel like a mess. I especially try to give myself more grace when I’m in a griefy season.

I am still very much working on self-love. I think I always will be. But when it comes to being by myself? I feel great about that. And I’m incredibly proud.

For anyone else out there grappling with grief and questions of self-love and self-worth as this Valentine’s week ends, here’s my advice of what that work looks like:

  1. Write down three things that would be true if you loved yourself: how would you know that you love yourself–  what would it look like? What words would you be able to say to yourself? What would you be able to do? 

  2. Go practice being alone somewhere. Seriously. Take walks without headphones in. Don’t bring your dogs. Take yourself on a date with a book. Go to a party alone and leave the party when you feel like it. Practice being alone, regularly, until it doesn’t scare you as much.

  3. …Maybe delete the dating apps for a while, shall we? (Ok fine this is actually a reminder from me to me.)

Grieve on,


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