Out with the Old, and in with the New: A Step toward Eliminating Self Doubt and Demonstrating Self-Love


  • Author Kristian Graves
  • Published November 6, 2021
  • Word count 1,010

If I could teach my younger self anything, it would be that life is a marathon, not a race. We must be our only competition. We are not here to satisfy anyone except ourselves. We must not be people pleasers and showing our weaknesses is never the answer. We as individuals must understand we are worthy of everything we want to receive. We must avoid seeking validation outside of anyone besides ourselves. Struggling with self-love requires a change in our thinking, and these new thought processes may pose a threat to what is comfortable and unfamiliar to us.

Suffering is not forever, and you must believe that you can change your mindset. Our negative mindsets are not permanent, and we have the mental strength to change our worlds. What bad habits and unhealthy beliefs are holding you back from accessing mental strength?

I am an advocate for admitting my bad habits have cost me. My bad habits have left me with self-doubt, a lack of self-love, and a negative mindset. Understanding the importance of building your mental strength is the key to beginning a journey toward healing and self-love. Managing your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are the three habits of mentally strong people. Dwelling on our thoughts and things we can not control is giving away your power. It is up to you to take control.

As an adolescent, I had beliefs that I carried around for a long time. Living to people-please is a negative form of losing control. Today at 20 years old, I am laying down my new neural network. I am now focusing on the positive, being grateful for everything in my life, letting go of things no longer serving me, and learning to love myself more. It will not happen overnight. I must not abandon my past but allow it to help me grow into the person I want to be within.

98% of thoughts we possess and feel are from yesterday. We must change our negative mindset into positive thoughts. Using these thoughts as motivation is one step closer to being a better person than yesterday. We must affirm we are valuable and are not hard to love, within or externally. Why hadn’t I expressed these thoughts to myself before now? Take time to ask yourself this question before understanding the positive, necessary effects of self-love. Dwelling on our thoughts and things we can not control is giving away your power. It is up to you to take control.

Bad habits hold us back. We must understand the importance of releasing them. The secret to being mentally strong, giving up our bad mental habits. Similar to physical strength, to see results, you must train and release bad habits. Countering our unhealthy beliefs with positive ones usually results in being uncomfortable with our emotions. Temporary distractions prolong the pain. Feeling emotions you avoid is the training of the mind that allows you to gain confidence in dealing with your emotions. To not make the same mistakes, you must accept responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and feelings.

Our self-love journey is not an easy topic. We carry mindsets that are uncomfortable to confront and discuss. We must understand the difference between two concepts: coping and healing. Feeling and healing are not the same things. Your pain is not normal, but it is normalized. Crying and being vulnerable are not weak. Healed people are strong people. Being strong and resilient with no proper self-love journey is not healing. It is a temporary solution we recognize as coping.

While we cope, we are selfless. The definition of self-love is to protect, nurture, preserve, and celebrate one’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Healing and self-love say make time and be selfish for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Self-love can become learned behavior when practiced efficiently and effectively. Self-love teaches us how to protect and preserve our mental health. If we can heal our trauma, it can save our families, communities, and our mindsets.

How many things have we silenced, and for how long? We must evaluate what we sweep under the rug. Pushing ourselves away is not a solution for self-love. Healing requires looking at your emotions and forming healthy relationships with them. Healing and coping are not the same things. You must be aware of these emotions to heal from them. There is power and strength within healing.

Feeling and understanding our emotions is one step closer to finding freedom in authentic emotional expression, a key concept when addressing self-love. How we think and perceive events impact our emotional and physical reactions. Are there any alternative explanations or thoughts you can have toward your current belief systems? Does our belief use any thinking errors or outdated concepts? These questions are essential to recognizing our cognitive distortions that enable this self-doubt. As individuals, we must choose whether we accept these thoughts or initiate toward changing them.

As an adolescent, I allowed my emotions to become an unfamiliar territory. This unfamiliarity caused me to feel trapped and powerless in situations that caused me to feel emotion. As a young adult, I can now identify how my vulnerability was one of my best skills. Unable to use my best skill as a child caused me to feel punished. Having no experience in this emotional warzone in my head allowed my emotional reactions to being unpredictable and very intense. Never wanting to confront these emotions made me irreverent, and I knew this was not the answer to my past or pain.

One day, the pain of who we always knew ourselves to be will outweigh the fear of the unknown. Labeling ourselves is coping and not a step toward who we need to be for our self-love journey. Assessing a positive emotional intervention is not weak. Letting go of an identity that no longer serves us is healing. Ultimately, we must learn not to relapse those intrusive thoughts and feelings. Replacing them with ones that radiate confidence, self-respect, and inner harmony is one of the first steps toward self-love.

My name is Kristian Graves and I am a 20 year old Chicago native currently enrolled at Xavier University of Louisiana. I am a Mass Communication major with a concentration in strategic communication and public relations. I am submitting an article as a young African American woman focusing on taking control and eliminating self-doubt to improve mental health and self-love and how changing our mindset can affect our everyday decisions.

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