Thanks for all your sweet comments on yesterday’s post about my first love… I really meant it to be overall positive, because I’m happy that I had the experiences I had! I love hearing all your stories as well so anything you want to share… Shoot my way!
I’ve been hard on myself for quite some time. I remember being relatively happy and carefree as a youngster, but as early as 3rd grade I started experiencing some rather significant anxiety. My first distinct memory of this anxiety and intense self-doubt was a flute recital in 3rd grade… I was so petrified and certain I’d mess up that I held my flute far too low and barely a note escaped. By fifth grade, I was sobbing my way through essay exams (that I inevitably aced, mind you). I’ve pretty much always suffered from the curse of the “gifted” child whose parents expect a lot of her, and who expects a lot of herself… I beat myself up to the extent that my 5th-grade teacher told me I’d have an ulcer before I was 25. (Incidentally, I think I now have an ulcer…)
This is something I struggled with all through my teenage years. Whether it was my thick thighs, “inadequate” grades, feeling like a misfit at school… I had a lot of self-destructive tendencies, let’s put it that way. I remember hyperventilating and looking at my legs and thinking there was no way I’d ever be able to wear a swimsuit in public, because I didn’t look good enough. I remember being upset about 5 points missed on a test (something I still do, sometimes). There was almost always something else I could nitpick. And really, there always will be.
Self-love, to me, is accepting yourself the way you are. Flaws and all. Yes, I’m overly nosy. But that’s also related to my inherently caring nature, which is something I’m proud of. Sometimes I’m stubborn. Sometimes, it’s just determination.
Sometimes, self-love means baking a small batch of cookies just for me. Sometimes, it means trying on red dresses and taking ridiculous pictures in the mall, just for the hell of it.
This was last week. My first instinct was to say that it made my hips look disproportionately large (No, I’m not “fat”, I’m trying to gain about 5 pounds, but I DO tend to be pear-shaped). Then I stunned myself by having the following thought, and actually kind of believing it: Yes, maybe I am kind of pear-shaped. But maybe it doesn’t matter. And maybe no amount of lunges or crunches or dry salads is ever going to change that, but maybe I can be beautiful just the way I am.
I wish I could convey all of that to my teenage self and save her from the years of self-abuse.
I still suffer from self-esteem issues. I still question how people think about me, and am often insecure about how I present myself. But I’m getting there. Because I’ve realized that the high points in my life have been when I’ve learned to feel comfortable in my skin, when I’ve truly been my somewhat-wacky self. Because I’ve realized that these insecurities ultimately drive people away as I try to get them to stick around. Because I’ve realized that we’re all worth it!
Here are a couple awesome lists of “self-love” ideas…
- 100 ways to love yourself
- 25 ways to love yourself
- Self-Esteem Booster: 10 easy ways to love yourself!
- Letter to 20-year-old self (*hilarious*)
I personally love: good workouts, trying to look cute, putting on pretty dresses (I’m not a girly-girl, but I *love* dresses!), wearing cute underwear! (it totally helps!), finding a mantra (see below), affirmations/listing things I like about myself, & doing good deeds.
I also like to try smiling. Sometimes, you gotta fake it til you make it… but a smile usually elicits a smile in response, and for some reason that just brightens up my day and makes me feel like maybe I touched someone life in a positive way. And that’s really my ultimate goal. My personal mantra: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tell me one thing you love about yourself!
What are your favorite self-love tactics?
Is it okay that I posted something this cheesy during vegan week? ;)