Learning to love yourself


It is more than likely that at some point in your life you will suffer from a lack of body confidence or low self esteem, or whatever you want to call it. The truth is it is not something you will miraculously get over — not without a lot of hard work on your own part. To an extent, I do believe that time helps you come to terms with yourself and who you are, and how to accept it, but I also think that for us to achieve significant changes in our outlook on ourselves, we have to actively change our minds.
I am by no means happy with my appearance. More often than not, I find myself listing off all the things I dislike about myself, and even panicking that, unlike some people, I can’t even fixate on one favourite feature about myself. (Honestly, if I had to pick something it would probably be something really weird like my hands, but not many people are self conscious about their hands anyway, right?) My point is this post is by no means a ‘how to’ type thing, because I am very much still in the early stages of trying to be happy and comfortable in my own skin. 
One of the important things (what is a synonym for this devil word, ugh?!) to grasp onto is those glorious moments where you look in the mirror one day and you love how an outfit looks on you, or you even just think ‘you know what, I’m not so bad’. Whatever that positive thought, hold on to it. Put it into something good, whether that be a selfie (man, I hate that word but it’s like the universal term now), or you tell someone you’re feeling good today. Or even if you simply have that extra hop in your step, cast those happy vibes into the world. Not only are you improving your own mood, but  you’re also uplifting everyone around you.

I had a wise anonymous person tell me on tumblr “There’s a vulnerability to being kind, but when you open yourself up in this way, you’ll find a freedom you may never have expected.” There is a definite truth to that. Putting goodness into the world can never hurt. It’ll make you feel good; it’ll make those around you feel good. And, in turn, you could be opening yourself up to new friendships. Not only will you be turning that moment of love for your appearance into something everyone can gain from, but you’ll also be warming your soul beneath the skin by being a wonderful human being.

Something else to remember is that no one else can make you love yourself. This is your responsibility. No boy or girl can ‘fix’ you by telling you you’re beautiful. Sure, it’s an amazing thing to hear, but, like I said, being body confident is all on you. I learnt that the hard way; you have to love yourself before you can expect anyone to love you back. By that, I don’t mean a person won’t necessarily love you because you’re not confident — although confidence can definitely be deemed as an attractive trait. What I mean is — in my own personal experiences — I have found that a lack of appreciation for myself can lead to damaging and triggering thoughts that ultimately lead to things not working out. In my case, I didn’t feel like I was in the same league as this guy, and although I never believed for a second it could lead to cheating, I did think that one day he’d realise that he could do so much better, and I didn’t want to open myself up to that kind of hurt in the long run. Obviously that was only one contributing factor in that situation, but you get my point: you cannot rely solely on someone else to love you. Nor should you allow your worth to be defined by someone else in the first place. You are your own person.

I also wanted to touch lightly on actively doing something about your body, whether that be through dieting or exercising, or both. Clearly I am no professional in this topic, but I think it goes without saying that you should remain healthy and not push yourselves too hard. I have started to complete a daily exercise routine, because I do want to try and lose a bit of weight. This is definitely something I am doing for myself, because I believe I’m carrying a few more extra pounds than I should be. I want to highlight that it’s important that you do these things because they make you feel good, and not because you’re experiencing some higher pressure from people in your life, or even society (because we all know society/the media can suck when it comes to broadcasting the ‘perfect’ body type and casting ridiculous expectations on women). You will get so much more out of healthy eating and exercising if you want to do it, and that is something I always take into consideration now. You lose motivation fast if you burden yourself too much.

Lastly, I want to stress that it is an ongoing process. I may have written all of this, but I am by no means on the other side. I am not certain there will ever be a point where a person can ever be one hundred percent happy with how they look, but there’s definite truth that you can change your attitude for the better. As you grow older — and this is something I’m finding — you come to realise that appearance honestly isn’t everything, and that life is far too short to be hating on and holding yourself back. And, as much as I sometimes find it hard to believe, there are people out there who are going to see you in a completely different way to the way you do. That’s something I have to remind myself constantly. You might think your friends and family or whoever are just saying it for the sake of it, but it’s true. We look in the mirror and we see all the things we hate, and we think ‘yeah, but I can see it for myself, it’s right there’, but that might be a feature or flaw someone else wouldn’t even notice. Or they might even love that one niggling thing about you. Think about that. And start loving yourself.

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