Have you ever looked in the mirror and hated what you saw? Growing up as a dark-skinned girl, the bullying I faced growing up was truly horrendous. I was constantly told that simply because of my skin tone I wasn’t pretty enough or that I wasn’t good enough. When I thought about why my self-esteem was in the shape it was, I thought about the first time I stopped loving myself. When I was young I was the most confident little girl you would have ever met until one day someone made fun of my skin tone for the first time in the fourth grade. That was when I first started questioning who I was. I internalized the things people said about me for so long and just recently I decided that enough was enough. The beliefs that I had about myself started to affect my ability to develop relationships with others. I came to the conclusion that before I wanted anyone else to love me I had to start loving me and who I was first. The journey of learning how to love yourself is truly a hard and long one but getting there is truly one of my greatest accomplishments.
- Self Affirmations
The first thing I did on my journey to self-love was look in the mirror and say positive affirmations about myself. There was a point in my life where I could not even look at myself in the mirror for longer than 30 seconds before saying something negative about myself. So when I started my self-love journey I started by forcing myself to look in the mirror and tell myself that I was beautiful and that I was amazing each day. Even though I did not believe it at first, the more I said it the more I started to believe it.
- Stopped Comparing Myself to Others
As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I used to get on Instagram or Twitter and look at others and a lot of the times I would wonder why I didn’t look like that or what was wrong with me. I had to come to terms with the fact that even though the people I was comparing myself to are beautiful, so am I. I had to remember that I was not them and I never would be but the person I am is more than enough.
- Self Care
One of the things that helped me along on my journey was doing things that made me feel good. I realized that I had been depriving myself of the things that I love. Many times I was doing things just because they made other people happy and I did not do very many things just for me. One of the things that I started doing was getting into skincare and I developed my own skincare routine. I also started working out without doing it for anyone else or the results but just for me because I wanted to.
- Forgiving Myself
I had to forgive myself for not only the things that I did in the past but also the cruel things I said about myself. I had to realize that I wasn’t perfect and just like everyone else I made mistakes but that didn’t mean I had to hate myself for it. I treated myself like I would anyone else and I apologized to myself for everything and then I worked on forgiving myself.
On my journey to self-love, I realized that I was using others to fill a void that I would feel when I was alone. When I started to love myself more I realized that I actually loved my own company. I started to take time out of my day to be alone and journal my feelings and things that happened throughout the day just to take time for me.
- Saying No
I realized that something I couldn’t do was say no and I would put myself in situations and positions that I didn’t want to be in just because I didn’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings. I had to realize that my feelings came before anyone else’s and even if all I had planned to do one day was stay in bed and watch Netflix that it was okay for me to say no. I could no longer keep making others happy while also making myself unhappy.
- Knowing My Worth
A lot of the times in my life I realized I settled because I thought I could not find anything better. However, when I came to terms with who I was and that what I wanted was not too much I stopped settling in every area of my life. I no longer settled with friendships, relationships, or opportunities because I knew my worth.
- Embracing Myself
When I was around friends I always felt like there was a certain persona I had to keep because if they knew the real me they wouldn’t really like me. Instead of being me, I used to try to fit the perception of what I felt other people might have had of me. I realized that I am amazing in every way possible and that I should not have to hide my true self from other people. I started to be my most authentic self in every way possible no matter who was around. I came to terms with the fact that it was okay if other people didn’t like me because I liked me.
I hope that writing about my journey of learning to love myself again is able to help anyone who is struggling to love themselves. It is definitely not an easy journey and I am still working on loving myself more each and every day.