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Learning To Love Yourself

Acceptance of Yourself Exactly The Way You Are

Photo by Alina Miroshnichenko on Unsplash

There are a lot of things in this world that are hard to swallow. Whether it be politics, natural disasters, or humanitarian issues we have a lot of bad around us. We also have an incredible amount of good that sometimes gets pushed to the side with the negative always weighing us down. One issue most people deal with on a daily basis is a lack of self-esteem. Even if you feel confident you still have those days where you don’t feel as pretty or as smart as you would like.

Society has a harsh role in this problem we face. With the phenomenal work of Photoshop and the unrealistic body standards on runways it is hard to fully love a little extra fat we see in the mirror. The reality of the situation is most of these girls and boys thinking they are too fat are probably healthy and at the same weight thousands of other individuals are at. Yet, when you only see size zero on billboards it is difficult to realize this simple fact. While I have seen us move in the right direction by having people of all shapes and sizes on covers we still have a long way to go.

As a kid into my young adulthood, I had a hatred towards my body. To call it a hatred is almost too polite for how I looked at myself. Everyday in the mirror I would see the figure staring back and be overcome with feelings of disgust and loathing. I never told anyone this and, because of all this hatred, I closed myself off to the world. So many experiences I lost because of this loathing that I deeply regret now. If you are in this stage of your life I am here to tell you that you are absolutely beautiful the way you are and it does eventually get better.

It took years and a lot of emotional rollercoaster events to get me to the point I am at today. While I have “fat days” or “ugly days” I overall have a love for myself exactly the way I am. This was not easy to get to and it won’t be easy for you either. I can assure you that once you get to that stage of acceptance and love it will feel like the most beautiful gift you have ever given yourself.

My technique was not necessarily the right technique and each individual will have to find their own path to happiness. That does not mean you can’t learn from different viewpoints and try them out until you find a road that works for you. For me, I worked desperately hard changing things that I could change and accepting things that were out of my control. For instance, I felt like my face was extremely ugly. Because of this I watched hours of makeup tutorials, spent hours a day practicing, and created a skincare regimen that I stuck to religiously.

I also started eating healthier and adding a little exercise into my weekly to-dos. When it came to things I couldn’t change (like my crooked nose or lack of breast) I would spend each morning in the mirror for a few minutes saying nice things about them. Then I pierced my nose to give it a little flare and wore outfits and bras that accentuated the little cleavage I did have. After a while I felt like I had grown a little confidence in myself that had never been there. I was extremely proud of this accomplishment. This was around 4 years ago.

You ARE Beautiful

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

At this time I would go to work with a pound of makeup on (done extremely well, though, to make everything look perfect) and wear outfits that showed off cleavage and the smaller stomach I had from dieting and exercise. The compliments I got soaked up my dry sponge of insecurities. It felt amazing. Then I found a new insecurity: intellect. People were now calling me beautiful and sexy but no one really cared about what I had to say. Was I coming off as dumb? I would try to say something intellectual but they only thought I was joking.

I went home thinking it was never going to end. I would always feel worthless in some way or another. That night I started reading more and educating myself on different topics. I was going to be hot and smart if it killed me. Today looking back I have a little sadness at the girl I used to be. I went to work thinking I was happy and confident but realize I constantly needed validation for my looks or my intellect. I was not confident or happy; I was covering a large gash with a baby Band-Aide.

Truly accepting yourself is different than fixing things to fit certain standards. While I am happy I practiced makeup and started eating healthier I see now that I was doing those things for the wrong reasons. Today I love myself, not because people accept me, but because I learned to accept myself. Slowly, over time, I taught my mind to not care what someone thought of me or to worry if they were thinking of me at all. Now when someone gives me a compliment I don’t scoff it away but thank them. I do feel beautiful with the “extra” weight I have and crooked nose.

This place happened slowly and matured over time (and will always continue to mature). It is not a lifestyle change but a mind change. Now I wear makeup on days when I feel like it, not when I am in public. I don’t wear bras that push up my breast to my chin but, instead, let them sit freely with no restraints because it is comfortable. My hair takes five minutes or 30 minutes depending on my mood. The point I am making is the fact that I don’t do anything to my body for anyone else but myself.

Eating healthy and exercising is still in my routine but it is there to keep my body healthy and happy instead of to make my body slim and sexy. Taking care of myself trumped looking good, a day that will come for each person struggling out there if you give it time and work. There is no magic answer on how to love yourself. You are the only person who can make that happen. Just remember that on those bad days you are still incredibly beautiful and unique. 

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