"Donít be stupid all your life. At some point, get a clue," was the statement spoken by our grandmother that literally changed our life! 37-year-old Latresa said to her 25 year old self while relaxing on the beach with the wind blowing in her hair, toes resting in the sand, sitting near the edge of the water while listening to the sound of the beautiful crystal blue waves crashing upon each other.
"That statement used to make me so upset!" yelled 25-year-old Latresa.
"Me too! However, when you think about think about it, you will recognize that every area of your life connects to this statement Latresa," replied 37-year-old Latresa.
"How?" asked 25-year-old Latresa.
37-year-old Latresa looked at her 25-year-old self and replied, "It checks you when you do things that harm yourself and fail to demonstrate a real love of YOU. You have to love you more in order to accomplish your dreams."
25-year-old Latresa looked puzzled and dismayed as she thought to herself "What does she mean? I do love me."
As the above story reveals, if I could leave words of encouragement and a map of the route to success for my 25-year-old self to read and utilize, I would tell her to love herself more. When you love yourself, certain things you do not engage in or allow others to do to you. For example, when I was younger, I charged a little over $10,000 in credit card debt to assist an ex fiancee over the seven years in which we were together by charging things for him anytime he asked as an "expression of my love for him". This was a grave example of my failure to love myself; because I put myself in extensive amounts of credit card debt that acted like anvils hanging on my legs affecting everything that I involved myself in. Debt is debilitating. It causes you to have to pay higher prices for simple things such as housing, cars etc. Thus, poor financial stewardship is an indication that you do not love yourself the way that you should.
I have also learned that loving yourself can help you avoid experiencing immense amounts of heart ache and pain when entering relationships with others. Many times, when I was younger, I would assume that I had to change me to be able to be in a relationship with a guy. For example, things that I was adamantly against, I would consider if I loved the person and just wanted to please him. Afterwards, I would feel hurt; especially if the relationship fell apart. In fact, if the relationship fell apart, I would be furious! Over the years, I have finally learned that real love of myself causes me to let my "yes" be a true "yes" and keep my "no" a true "no". When I operate this way, it decreases the amount of anger, heart ache and depression that I experienced while simultaneously indicating that I must love myself enough to put myself second to God only
When you love yourself, you do things that would extend your life not shorten it. As a youth, I consistently over ate; especially when I competed with my cousin to see who could eat the most food or I felt very depressed about life. Overeating increases your risk of becoming obese which in turn could cause someone to develop illnesses such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc. If someone engages in behaviors that hurt the only body that his/her soul rests in, it is an indication that they do not love themselves. From me to you, 25-year-old Latresa please love yourself more so that you will not have to play catch up like I had to do with regards to my finances, love life and health. You are worthy of so much greater. You must love you more to experience it.
July/August - 2018
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
Tammy Erickson, Olympic Medalist
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