How I Learned to Love Myself, As I Am

Any woman who has never experienced self- hatred is probably lying- it’s sad, but it’s true. I have hated certain aspects of my appearance for as long as I can remember. As a girl, I detested my body, so I went to hazardous lengths to change it, to make it slimmer and “more desirable”. As a teenager, I hated my red hair and freckles, so I concealed my freckles and dyed my hair. As a woman, I realized that I have wasted twenty-one precious years of my life hating the only body I will ever have. Hating myself got me no-where, so I tried loving myself instead and the results were extraordinary. 

Here’s how I learned to start lovin’ what my momma gave me:

 

Quit the comparisons

Repeat it with me ladies: “I shall not covet my neighbors pant size”. Short of surgically removing my ribs, there is no conceivable way for someone with my body type to get Alexis Ren’s waistline. She has a beautiful body; but so do I -they’re just different. If we ever want to achieve self-love, we can’t compare ourselves to our Instagram feed. This task is harder than it sounds, though. In today’s social media obsessed society, we are constantly bombarded with images of models and influencers whose “perfect” appearances and glamorous lifestyles make it hard not to compare. Try replacing negative self-talk with self-acceptance and eventually self-love will follow. Instead of letting thoughts like: “wow I wish I looked like her” ruminate in your mind, recognize these thoughts and replace them with: “I’m the only person who will ever look like me, how awesome is that?”.

 

Practice radical self-compassion

Most of us speak to ourselves in a way we wouldn’t speak to our worst enemy. More often than not, we don’t even realize we’re doing this. So then, how do we stop? – by making an active effort to change your thought process. When you notice you’re getting down on yourself over something out of your control, try to tell yourself what you would tell your best friend or sister. Be gentle with yourself. 

 

 

 

Honor your body

This may be a given, but in order to love yourself, you must first respect yourself. Eating a balanced diet and getting a healthy amount of exercise will allow you to flourish so you can reach your full potential, but remember to listen to your body's needs and take both mental and physical rest days when necessary. 

Stare at yourself naked

No, seriously! Before you shower every day, take a few moments to just look in the mirror and be grateful to your body. When you find yourself wanting to change your belly or your thighs, make a list of all the fantastic things that part of your body does for you. Remember that the same arms you think are "too weak" make it possible for you to hug your best-friend and the legs you think have "too much cellulite" allow you to walk. 

 

 

Focus on what you are, instead of what you aren’t

Everyone has unique strengths and interests. Some are gifted in the sciences while others are skilled artists or musicians. If everyone had the same talents, the world would be a very dull place. Instead of lamenting over your weaknesses, try honing your strengths- the power of positivity will bring you much farther.

 

 

 

My personal journey of self-love has been a long and turbulent one. Just one year ago, if someone were to tell me that I could love myself the way I am without changing, I would have sent them to the doctor to see if they had bumped their head. I didn’t believe I was worthy of love, my own or anyone else’s, until I fit a very lengthy and particular set of criteria. The purpose of sharing my journey is not to say that self-improvement isn’t a wonderful thing. I believe that to be human is to be inherently flawed, and thus we all have room for growth and improvement in our lives. The key is to recognize that if you wait until you lose ten pounds or have a 4.0 GPA until you love yourself, you’re robbing yourself of valuable time. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have, so you might as well make it a loving one. 

       XOXO,

          Amanda