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The first time I noticed my weight in comparison to my friend was when we were eight years old and she could wrap her hands around the entirety of her thigh but I could barely make my fingers touch. Again, in fifth grade in my sex education class, when my friends at my table were happy with their small boobs but they pointed at mine and said “no offense… but yours are too big.” 

Though I never got bullied or called names about my weight, the words and interactions stuck with me. Spoken words stay with you, whether it be good or bad. Especially when they highlight your insecurities. 

Now, as a 20-year-old college student, I tend to struggle with loving myself. Don’t get me wrong- I do love myself- but it comes and goes in waves. 

I have spent hours analyzing my body in the mirror, poking at my rolls and stretch marks. I have spent hours wishing for a “better” body. I have spent hours hoping to be more attractive, more pretty, more skinny, just a constant deluge of more, more, more. 

When I look at magazines, actresses, and my Pinterest boards, they mostly have one common denominator- you are more easily accepted as beautiful if you are skinny. It always felt inescapable to me. It is the unfortunate beauty standard in this day and age and despite the tremendous progress body-positive movements have made, there is no escaping that skinny is still what is preferred. As a result, I struggled internally and for long moments, I believed I could never be beautiful since the number on the scale was not what society expected. 

But at the same time, the same amount of hours I spent berating myself, I also spent excitedly doing my makeup. I spent my time and money to buy makeup to express myself in a way I felt most confident and I loved it. I spent hours putting together outfits that highlighted the best parts of my figure and I left the house feeling confident. I spent hours being active, taking naps and painting to relieve my stress since self-care comes in many forms. 

Like I said before, my love for myself comes and goes in waves. While I still struggle even now, I am still learning and trying my best to love myself. I don’t have all the answers (I really wish I did) but here is my advice on how to love yourself.

1. Know your self-worth

Everyone is worthy of everything they want in life. Something as insignificant as weight or acne does not diminish your self worth in any way whatsoever. Respect yourself, you deserve it. 

2. It’s okay to take a break

Social media can do more harm than good. It is okay to step back and take a mental break when needed and to just prioritize yourself before anything else.

3. Know you are loved

If your friend asked you if you would still love them if they gained weight, what would your answer be? Their answer will most likely be the same for you. Know you are loved by the people you love. 

4. Care for yourself

Whether it be big or small, do things that make you happy and give you peace of mind. 

5. Acknowledge your fears 

Don’t hide from them. Listen to yourself and figure out what you are afraid of. It’s the first step in overcoming them.

6. Know that change takes time

Changes don’t happen overnight so be easy on yourself and know that you’re on your own amazing timeline. 

Self-love isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Wishing you all the self-love you can give yourself collegiettes- you are worthy, you are loved.

George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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