Learning to love yourself.
These are my personal thoughts about my own battles w/ insecurities, but I know that there might be some opinions that others can relate to. I hope some of my realizations can be helpful to you. This is the second part to my “Confidence is Key” two-part series. The first post is here.
Now, I’m gonna finish up on the physical aspect of self-love soon and then go into emotional and mental self-love. My self-confidence in regards to my physical appearance still has a long way to go. Although throughout high school, I became more and more confident. I got moderately skilled with makeup. I would wake up early to put it on every single day during my sophomore and junior year (not caked up but definitely always winged eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick). I worked hard to style my hair and eventually dyed it black… and blonde… and black again. It went through a lot, actually. I would get compliments from friends and strangers. I learned to feel better about my appearance mostly because I was happier? I was around friends so I was usually laughing and enjoying myself. Happiness is a good confidence booster. So are friends. So are boyfriends, if you have the right kind. Which thankfully, I had the best.
Junior year is when I started dating my current boyfriend. My confidence and self-love definitely improved by being with him. When I’m at points of deep insecurity and just not at all satisfied with how I look, he’s always there to tell me otherwise. Sometimes you need that. Sometimes you need someone to see you the way you’d like to see yourself. It shows you a different perspective. It’s good to look at things differently. It’s good to look at yourself differently. By the time senior year rolled in, I was comfortable with not wearing makeup to school. I was comfortable wearing baggy clothing and looking like a tired mess. Because my friends would still enjoy my company. I would still laugh and have a good time around them. I would still get compliments and feel good about myself. There were times when I’d look in the mirror and falter. Wondering how in the world they saw me as something pretty when I felt so gross. But I took it little by little, day by day.
I don’t feel the need to cake my face in makeup anymore. It does make me feel better on bad days, it does make me feel prettier when I want to take a picture. But it’s not a necessity as I once made it seem. I do have points where I look at other girls. I see pretty women all over social media and I ache to look like them. I fawn over their beauty. I covet certain features, wishing I could have that nose or have that hair or have that breast size or have those lips. But there are also times when I wake up in the morning, fresh-faced after getting cleaned up, and I smile. Because I look pretty, even with no makeup and messy bed hair. Sometimes I can look at my naked body and appreciate it as well. Sometimes I look at it and I feel unsatisfied with certain things. It’s a fluctuating thing, but I try to pick myself up on the days when I feel low. I do a little “self-care” day. I clean my room, do my laundry, play with makeup, shower and shave, flat-iron my hair. Listen to all my favorite songs. Send pictures to my boyfriend. Post an Instagram photo. Little things that make me smile, you know?
Alright! Continuing on from where I left off in the last post. As well as moving on from the physical aspect of things. Here we are… or rather… there I was, sophomore year at a new school. At first, I was very apprehensive. I had planned to go to the same high school throughout ALL four years. Even though the school I went to for Freshman year was less than ideal, I had made a few friends towards the end. However, I didn’t realize that the school I would be going to would change my life. In a way that no other school did.
My first step to finding self-love was surrounding myself with people that I love. The people you surround yourself with will impact you, always. That can be good or bad, so make it good. Find positive people. Find people who are genuine. Find people who love you back. It isn’t easy but it is SO FREAKING WORTH IT. I swear to you.
My new school introduced me to many new things. Friends, “popularity”, and a “new” side of myself. An outgoing, eccentric side. I became someone who loved to be around people rather than hiding myself from them. This was a side of me that had gone dormant ever since the 5th grade. In this school, I was approached by so many people. I made friends easily in the first week. Yes, over the next four years, that group changed so many times. But I was left with people who genuinely cared about me, people that I really love. People that inspire me, motivate me, support me. Who I would also do anything for (shout out to Sharon ♡ ). It took a lot to figure things out, but I did. I grew a lot and learned from the mistakes I made and the people I knew.
There were times where I hated parts of myself as a person. A shadiness grew in me as a result of being involved with too much and having more attention than I was used to, I think. But I’ve evolved and learned from that as well. That wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be. You have to allow yourself to reflect on past actions and think about whether or not you want to be known for those things. Or rather, do you want to see yourself that way? That’s what I had to think about before I realized what things I should work on.
Once I had the right support (my friends, some of my family, my boyfriend ♡), I then had the foundation I needed to build myself up. Finding a way to love my body and my appearance was hard, but I achieved it (to a certain level). I also realized that I had to stop comparing myself to people. I wrote a quote in my journal at one point, telling myself to “stop comparing everything that you are to someone you barely know the surface of.” Those words are still a kind of mantra to me today. I have such a terrible habit of comparing myself to people. People who I barely know or don’t even know at all. I don’t know their flaws, their insecurities, their struggles. It only tears you down when you compare yourself to other people. When you try to compete with them. When you wish for what they have without even knowing the half of it. It only brings you pain. I learned that from years and years of trying to be as good as other people or better than them.
Once I admitted that I had a problem, I worked on trying to fix it. Little by little, I found myself competing less and less. Now, I only strive to make myself happy and improve myself for my sake. It feels much healthier that way.
So now, I’ll give my advice. Everyone is different, and there is no universal formula to self-love. This is just how I went about it, and it is a daily process. And you can’t beat yourself up if you falter sometimes. It happens.
- 001. Surround yourself with love and happiness.
- 002. Find your support system (another shout out to my boyfriend, Amar and to my angel, Sharon ♡ Also to my mom just cause she’s awesome ♡).
- 003. Challenge yourself to love/accept/appreciate your weak spots (physical & emotional/mental).
- 004. Reflect on yourself, your mistakes, your flaws. Ask yourself what kind of person you want to be and work on becoming that.
- 005. Learn from your mistakes. Grow from the past. Focus on your strength and use them to face your flaws day-by-day.
- 006. Take everything a day at a time. It’s okay to have low points or bad days. Give yourself extra positive attention on those days. Do things that make you smile.
- 007. Don’t compare yourself to others, only to your past self.
- 008. FINALLY… just keep reminding yourself that you’re beautiful. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Compliment yourself. It’s okay if it looks silly or crazy. Or if it seems self-centered or narcissistic. This is a method in the healing process, just go for it.
You’re awesome ♡ Shout out to you ♡ Be great ♡ Have a beautiful day ♡