Becoming Unapolegetically Me

It can be difficult to reach a place in your life where you are satisfied with yourself and feel that everyone else is happy with who you are as well. It can be even harder to realize that sometimes you have to put yourself and your happiness before the opinions of others. Being yourself and learning to love who you are is one of the most important aspects to building your self-esteem. It took me a long time to realize this, but once I did my life changed for the better.

When I was in middle school and up until high school I had major body image issues; I didn’t like the way that I looked AT ALL. Growing up in the face of social media didn’t help this either. I saw so many beautiful people that I aspired to look like but never would. I would rarely post pictures of myself unless it was a special occasion. Selfies were very unlikely to be featured on any of my pages except for as a profile picture.

Overtime I came to realize the errors in my thinking. The girls that I had looked up to on social media were eight to ten years older than I was, so of course they were going to look a lot different and more mature than I did. I also realized that one of the big reasons why I was unhappy with the way that I looked was because I felt I didn’t fit into what was deemed “attractive” by societal standards. One of the last realizations I came to, and arguably the most important, was that none of the reasons that I had for being unhappy with my appearance really had to do with me. My insecurities came from comparing myself to other people! I had no issues with the way that I looked until I was concerned with the opinions of others. Instead of saying “I’m happy with myself” I began to say, “I’m happy with myself... But what will they think?”

Of course, body image issues couldn’t have been enough alone, I also had issues showing my true self around people. I was surrounded by individuals that were all very different from me. Desperate to find a group to belong to, I took shape to whatever kind of person that group needed me to be. It was exhausting being a completely different person around different people, none of which were truly who I was. I only allowed a glimpse of myself to shine through in fear that people may not like the complete me.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I decided that the most important opinion of myself was my own. I learned to grow thicker skin and to ignore those that had ill things to say about me. I began taking better care of myself and putting my feelings and needs above others. The process did not happen overnight. It took time and there were definitely relapses, but eventually I got to a place where I could say that I was happy with the person I was becoming. Learning to love yourself is a journey that doesn’t end. I have to work on myself everyday to maintain my healthy self-esteem and happiness. It does get easier though, as long as you don’t lose sight of what is really important.

When I started prioritizing myself I discovered so many things, the first being that you attract what you put off. If you are a positive person that is staying true to yourself then you will attract people that are doing the same. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be extremely beneficial to your journey of self-love. The second thing I learned was those that genuinely care about you will love you for you. They don’t need you to pretend to be someone else or attempt to live up to ridiculous standards, just being you is way more than enough for them. The last big thing that I learned was to be unapologetically me, meaning that I had to be myself in spite of possible dismay. I couldn’t be sorry or feel bad if someone didn’t like the person I was. I had to be confident enough in myself that nothing and no one could break that confidence.

Self-love is anything but easy to come by, but it is integral to our being to love ourselves. We should never let anyone come in the way of our journeys because we are obstacles enough. Becoming unapologetically me made me happier, healthier, and a person that I felt confident the right people would want to get to know.