If you'd have met me a year ago or even a semester ago, you'd meet a completely different person than the one that would stand before you today. Within the last few years, I've been on a journey. I didn't know where I was headed, but I knew I wanted to find whatever was at the end of this journey. I've since realized that I'll never end this journey and that I never want to. I set out unsure of what I needed to feel satisfied and happy with my life, but now I know that all I ever needed was to love myself. Now that I've started, there is no one out there that can stop me.
I used to think that it was selfish and conceited to love myself. Sure, I could appreciate my strengths and talents and who I am, but I couldn't get too carried away with it or else that's obnoxious and annoying. That whole thought process has proven to be obnoxious and annoying by itself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving myself, and I hope that all of you come to love yourself too.
This was no walk in the park for me. I've spent pretty close to my entire conscious life finding different reasons to tell myself that I'm not worth loving or deserving of really anything. Whether it was my weight, or my personality, or my appearance, or the boys that didn't like me, or the number of friends I had, everything was a good enough reason to hate myself. For nearly all of last year, I was bouncing between existential crises and wondering why I'm here. It was draining for myself and for everyone around me. I still haven't broken my habit of saying "ugh, I hate myself" (however, I have picked up a new one of finishing that statement with "ha, just kidding I love myself").
I used to let anyone who wanted to walk over me do it. I didn't really think I had the authority to stop them. (This is ridiculous now, looking back. Who has more authority over my life than me?) That was my life. I spent most of high school letting someone else run my entire life and I didn't really complain all that much. Until this year, that was about how it went. I let people come in and decide what was best for me and just sat back and took it. I didn't really think I had all that much going for me and spent my existence looking for corners to hide in. However, as the result of a lot of reflection and a very supportive friend group, family, and professional circle, I've had the chance to realize that I am worth a whole lot more than I've ever given myself credit for.
After coming to this realization, everything has really fallen into place for me. I don't know why I ever spent so much time hating myself. I am the only person that is guaranteed to spend my entire life with me. I don't know why I would spend so much time despising someone I spend so much time with.
In addition, I am responsible for all of my own choices. If you've ever given a friend that you love advice, you know how frustrating it is when they choose not to do what you think is best for them. However, I am the one friend whose choices are entirely up to me. If I want the best for myself, I can get it. I just have to make my own decisions with my best interests in mind. Sure, I can disappoint myself, but I know at the end of the day that I am in control of what happens to me and how I choose to react.
I've always heard the expression that until you love yourself, you can never truly love anyone else. I thought that was ridiculous, of course, too. What do my personal feelings about myself have to do with my capacity for love for anyone else? But really, if I don't love myself, then I'll spend any relationship I ever find myself in appreciating the other person for doing what I never could. Now that I love myself, I'm out here looking for someone to appreciate what I already appreciate about myself and appreciate them along the way. I want someone to grow with me, rather than grow for me.
Since I've begun my journey, I've had so many different people talk to me about how much happier I seem. And truly, I am. I've surrounded myself with nothing but love and appreciation for myself and now only those who are out here to appreciate me genuinely are those that I allow to stick around. There's no point in keeping anyone around who's trying to drag you down.
I know that I am strong, confident, and I enjoy being the person I am. I'm truly sorry for all the years I spent trying to be someone else, someone who I thought was worth being. I never realized that I always was that person. I have fallen in love with the person I am and I can't wait to continue to love the person I'll become.