I Tried to Love Myself and You Should Too

My story is similar to that of many young women; the deep rooted lack of confidence, the fixation on body image and food consumption, the battle with the mirror. All of these are things I'm deeply familiar with and I'm sure a lot of you are too. It's something that started when I was in middle school and has really stuck with me, infiltrating almost every aspect of my life.

If you too suffer from the symptoms of an image driven, photoshopped society then you know these thoughts seep into everyday life without warning. And you know how draining they are. It is incredibly difficult to have meaningful relationships when all you do is calculate how much thinner someone is than you, how you wish you had their hair, how they must think your clothes are terrible. It's difficult to believe the words “I love you” coming from a special someone when you’ve said “I hate you” to yourself for years straight. And sometimes you take your frustration out on the people who don't deserve it like your mom, your best friend, or random strangers who make you feel inadequate.

Explaining those feelings come easy to me. I'm so familiar with the thoughts my fingers fly over the keyboard without even thinking.

But what doesn't come easy are the “tips”. The ways to change your mindset. Because it is something I have struggled with myself for so long. But I finally woke up one day and decided to learn to be ok with who I am. And this is what I did.

1. I let myself eat and tried to not give myself a hard time about it.

Honestly this was the hardest thing for me to do because I’ve always felt large and like eating was the reason. So anytime I decided to have pizza or a cookie, I’d spend the next two days either eating just fruit or telling myself over and over again that I have no self-control. After about a week of trying to accept that I ate food, I found the eating experience more enjoyable and the guilt lessened.

 

2. I made myself say something positive about my body

I can’t count how many times I cried in the mirror while poking at my exposed body. I decided that if I was going to look in the mirror, I was going to say ONE POSITIVE thing. If I didn’t think I could do it, I wasn’t allowed to look at all. Not saying something nice is better than saying something negative.

3. I started to listen

It’s easy to believe that everyone who says good things about you have a secret agenda or are lying when you don’t see any of your own good traits. But you have to clean that self-serving gook out of your ear and listen when people say you write well or that your makeup is pretty. If nothing else, you can have a genuine smile that day.

4. I worked on my skills

All I want to do most of the time is curl up. I don’t think I’m good at anything, so why try? That’s the WRONG MINDSET to have. Who cares if my ukulele chords don’t sound perfect? At least I’m trying! And it gets my mind off of myself.

5. I said it’s ok

No matter the situation or feeling I just constantly told myself, “It’s ok”. Because sometimes that’s all you can do. And you say it until you believe it.

If I can do all these things, trust me, so can you. Do I love myself now? If I'm being honest, no. I still struggle to find the value within myself, I still negatively compare myself with others. But the point is that I am TRYING. I can't allow myself to accept that I don't love myself any longer. I can't allow my whole life to be consumed with self-loathing. Because I will have truly wasted my time here if I do.

I don't want to waste my time.

Do you?

 

(Gifs courtesy of Giphy.com)