My friends, I am back with another interview, and if you’ve been with me in this experimental interview series, THANK YOU! If you’re new and would like to get caught up, you can read my previous interviews here.
Okay, back to business. This interview is with my good friend, Stef, who I’ve known since high school about 10 or so years ago. She is a 25-year-old poet, music-lover, and former podcaster who is always open to share her thoughts with her readers and followers. Whether she’s talking about mental health, gun violence, or pop culture topics, Stef is ready and willing to be vulnerable for the greater good. Now, she continues her vulnerability by volunteering to share her journey to self-love in hopes that someone out there will relate. So, let the interview begin!
Q: What do you define as the difference between loving yourself and hating yourself? What does that look like?
My definition of self-love is when you love yourself unconditionally, no matter your flaws, and you feel comfortable with yourself in being alone. Self-hate is when you can’t accept your flaws and you constantly criticize yourself. You may even feel like your overall existence is never needed.
Q: Do you think you have more self-love, more self-hate, or is it a mixture of both?
I feel like I have a mixture because while I do love myself unconditionally, there are a lot of things that I don’t like about myself, and I do feel like I’m not needed in life. I had a lot of issues with my father in my teenage years, so as I got older, I had to learn how to love myself despite everything else. Thankfully, my mom was also there to teach me how to love myself as well. It doesn’t work all the time, though. Sometimes the way that people treat me and the things that other people say make me feel less than. For example, I think that I am a giving and caring person, but sometimes, I’ll give someone my last, but I don’t receive that same energy back. It’s not a good feeling.
Q: When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see?
Honestly, it depends on the day. Some days when my hair is done really nicely and I have on a beautiful dress or nice clothes, I feel pretty. Other days, I don’t feel good about the way I look, and a lot of that comes from what people around me, usually someone that I dated, would say. They’d tell me that I need to change a lot of things about myself like wearing more dresses and skirts, putting on makeup, and dressing like a girly girl. It makes me feel so bad, like I should change my appearance just to appease others. It hurts, especially because they would try to make me into someone and something I’m not.
Q: So, what do you not like about yourself on the outside and inside?
On the outside, I don’t like my face because I have acne. It’s really bad and has gotten progressively worse over the years. I’m currently trying to find treatments to use so that I feel comfortable in my skin, but I think I can recite some affirmations to tell myself I’m worthy and I’m beautiful. On the inside, I don’t like how caring I am towards others because I don’t usually get it in return. To combat this, I want to set more boundaries and only give my all to those who treat me with respect.
Q: What do you love about yourself on the outside and inside?
Honestly, my hair is the thing I love the most about my outside appearance. It defines who I am. On the inside, I love my mind. I have a lot of knowledge that I can share with others, especially from a music standpoint. Music is basically my life.
Q: Where do you think you get a lot of your ideas of self-love?
Sometimes, the feedback that I get from social media makes me feel good about myself. Like, when I post my poems, people will tell me how good it was, and it makes me really happy. Also, when I post a selfie, people will leave nice comments and tell me that I look nice. My family also tells me how much they love me unconditionally and it shows in their words and actions. They don’t care what I wear, as long as I’m happy, and they’re always telling me how special and gifted I am. All of the positivity really lifts my spirits and makes me happy!
Q: Why do you think self-love is so important? Do you think self-love is in any way related to self-care?
Besides the obvious reasons, self-love is so important because if you don’t love yourself first, I feel like other relationships won’t work out as well. Your relationships with others have a direct correlation with the love that you have for yourself. And self-love and self-care are definitely related because if you have love and care for yourself, you set the standard for how you want to be treated. If you don’t set that standard, people may feel that they can treat you any kind of way.
Q: What do you think you can do to practice more self-love in your life? What advice do you have for someone else who may be struggling with self-love?
I think we all can do more things that make us happy and not worry about what any haters have to say about us. We can love who we are on the inside and feel good about the type of person we grew up to be. We don’t have to conform to other people’s image of who they think we should be or who they want us to be. We can and we will love ourselves in spite of it all.
Q: Would you want people to reach out to directly with any questions or comments?