Just A Spoonful Of Self Love

Just A Spoonful Of Self Love

Makes the Happiness Go Round
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One of the biggest challenges in my life was learning how to love myself. Not just my looks, but my personality, my traits, me as a human being. It is not easy, especially for girls like me who tend to compare themselves to unrealistic goals and images. Unfortunately, it is part of the society we grow up in.

I remember even as a little girl I would always look at my Barbie dolls and wonder why I didn't have long blonde hair or bright blue eyes and perfect teeth. Why wasn't my chest large and my waist thin? Why did I have frizzy short brown hair, lots of freckles, and a big belly?

I spent most of my childhood and school years trying to fit another mold. I distinctly remember in 6th grade sneaking into my mom's makeup bag when she took my brother to school early in the morning to use her eyeshadow and mascara so I could look like the other girls in my classes.

Even when I finally lost my baby fat that I hated so much, I didn't have the right clothes and I still had glasses. I would roll my shorts up super high and rip off my glasses as soon as I got into school after my mom dropped me off in the morning.

Then I was finally allowed to wear makeup and do my hair. I would wear such heavy foundation you couldn't see my freckles and such dark eyeliner that my eyes appeared black. My hair was dry and dead from putting heat on it so much. In my mind, the less clothes the better. Oh what little I knew.

When I began high school was the first time anyone told me that I didn't need to do all of those things to try and look "good". At the time I thought it was the rudest comment any guy had made to my face, but looking back now I'm thankful for his honesty. One of my guy friends had approached me one day, a day I thought I looked my best, and said, "Erin why do you wear so much makeup, you don't need to." That changed my entire outlook on what it mean to be beautiful.

It was in high school that I learned I am beautiful without makeup. I can love my body without having to show off every inch of skin to try and impress guys. I could eat and enjoy food without worrying about where the fat would end up on my body because looking like a human skeleton wasn't what I wanted anymore.

From the moment I accepted these things and made the choice to change my unhealthy, obsessive habits, I learned to be happy and slowly love myself. It was not until March of my senior year of high school did I truly make a change. I decided to overcome my mental challenges by challenging myself physically with exercise.

I found a passion in working out and pushing my body to new limits, and of course loved the results. It made my mind more positive, it gave me something to work for instead of something to deprive myself of. I nourished my body and cared for it. I dedicated time to doing things to make me happy and to make my body happy. I was finally able to look myself in the mirror in August 2016 and say "I love the skin I'm in". It may have taken almost all of my adolescence to overcome a monster that controlled my social life and my mental and physical health, but I can confidently say today that I am thankful for what it taught me.

I have learned that no mental illness or disorder will overpower me. I learned I am stronger. I learned I am beautiful. I may always have cellulite and large thighs and I may never be a size 0, but I am so incredibly okay with that. My freckles are beautiful. My crooked smile is beautiful. My fair skin is beautiful. My brown hair and hazel eyes make me, me. I am thankful for the person God molded me to be, but I am overwhelmingly proud of the woman I molded myself to become.

To the girls out there that still struggle to love themselves. Know that you are beautiful, just the way you are. Stop comparing yourself to what you see on social media or in magazines or even in your classes. There is only one you and you only have one body. You cannot change that, and do NOT destroy it. Do not feel the unnecessary need to change your looks, personality, or anything based on society's unreachable standards. Set goals for yourself and reach them, and if you don't, that's okay too. But in all things, put your happiness first.

Cover Image Credit: Evolving Wisdom

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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50 Things To Think About That Will Make You Smile, Guaranteed

Little things I think about when I'm having a bad day that bring a little joy back into it.

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Everyone has bad days. Sometimes they are bad enough that you cannot see the light at all, and you can only focus on the dark, bad thoughts. I know what that feels like. You are not alone in that. To cope with those days or just bad days in general, I started writing down little things that make me smile.

1. Dogs

Dogs are one of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world. They make me so happy. They're so silly and happy, and all they want to do is make you happy. Plus, they are always excited to see you. If you need more silly dogs in your life, head over to my other article where there are lots of cute puppy .GIFs.

2. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are just happy flowers. They are so bright and big and they're my favorite.

3. Freshly baked cookies

The smell, the taste, the feeling you get when you pull them apart and bite into them... it's all so lovely.

4. Sunshine

Sunshine is proven to make people feel happier. Good days usually happen on sunny days. I love sunny days because they feel like happy days, and I'm always looking forward to summer so there's a whole season full of them.

5. My significant other

He makes me the happiest I could ever be. Being with him, or thinking about being with him, always brings such a big smile to my face.

6. Birds singing

Birds singing means it's getting warm again after months of cold, and that makes me happy. That, and they always sound so cheerful.

7. The ocean

Everything about the ocean is so calming. Hearing and seeing the waves crashing, feeling the sand and water under your feet, and the sun on your skin... it's magical.

8. My favorite meals from home

Being a college student 2,370-ish miles away from home is difficult. It also means that I almost never get a good homemade meal, but when I do, I appreciate it so much more. Tacos, soup, salads... everything is better when it's not made in a dining hall and comes from home.

9. Brothers

There are annoying most of the time, but they are so silly and fun to mess around with. Thinking of or hearing about their silly comments and the dumb things they do always makes me giggle (and is usually preceded by an eye roll).

10. Sisters

My sisters are like my best friends, and I love spending time with them. We just get each other in ways that nobody else could possibly understand, and there is happiness in that.

11. Candles

Aromatherapy is a thing, and it is wonderful. The smells themselves make me happy, but so does just laying down or taking a bath with candlelight.

12. Friends who listen

Feeling and being heard by someone is so important. It's always good to have a friend you can go to and know that they will listen without judging you.

13. Hugs

Hugs always help. I love hugs.

14. Summer

Just picture it: the sun on your skin, laying in or by the pool, a refreshing drink ready to go. Birds singing, people laughing, eating fresh fruits and barbecue. Pool parties, trips to the beach... it's my favorite.

15. Ice cream

Ice cream is a go to for every occasion.

16. Books

Old books, new books, hard cover, soft cover, all books. The smell of them and the feeling of turning the pages and exploring new world is magical.

17. My favorite movies

I love watching new movies. For me to want to enjoy seeing a movie more than once, it has to be really good. For the select few (other than Disney movies) that are like that, they always make me feel good on a bad day. Disney movies are ones that I could watch all the time and never get tired of them.

18. Singing and/or dancing along to your favorite songs in the shower

Nothing like a personal concert in the shower.

19. Kittens

I did not grow up with cats in my house, only dogs, so I do not know how to act around cats, but I love kittens. They're so adorable and I love playing with them.

20. Music

There's something for every situation.

21. New opportunities

I love getting to do things I've never done before. It's so exciting.

22. Learning something new

When I know I am going to use that knowledge, it is so exciting to learn something that I did not know before.

23. Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes

Personally, these bring back memories of sleepovers and tummy aches, but the best kind. They remind me of best friends and giggle fits and sugar rushes. Plus, when something is Mickey Mouse shaped, it's better.

24. Rollerskating 

The smell of popcorn, used skates, and sweat, mixed with throwback music is something that cannot be replicated anywhere other than a rollerskating rink. It brings back happy memories of elementary and middle school field trips and lots of friends trying to skate while holding hands.

25. Sleepovers

Sugar rushes, shared secrets, lots of laughs, staying up late, and watching movies.

26. Quiet time

Sometimes being alone in a quiet space is all you need. Give yourself the space to collect yourself and quiet your mind.

27. Fairy lights

They make me feel like a princess. They're even better when combined with pictures held up by clothespins.

28. Freshly washed laundry

I love the smell of clean laundry and the feeling of clothes that just came out of the dryer.

29. Traveling 

There's something about exploring new places that gets me so excited yet so at peace. I adore traveling. I just wish I was a little less anxious on plane rides, and that tickets weren't so expensive.

30. Painting

I am not good at painting by any means. However, I enjoy painting on everything. Rocks, canvas, walls, my arms, paper, everything. It can be so relaxing.

31. Broadway musicals

Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Broadway musicals. My favorites are "Mamma Mia!", "Newsies," "Hamilton," "Waitress," "Anastasia," and "Les Miserables" (among many others). Everyone is so talented and they all have such smooth voices. It's really pleasing to hear them sing and tell their stories.

32. Iced coffee

I never finish hot coffee before it gets cold, so I have resorted to getting iced or blended coffee. It is a necessity as a college student with classes as early as 8 a.m., and even just knowing that I'm going to get coffee that day is exciting to me.

33. Hearing "I love you"

I love love, and I love being in love. Hearing "I love you" from a friend, family member, or significant other is such a good feeling.

34. Flowers

The smell, the beauty, the everything. Every kind of flower. Even if they make my allergies act up.

35. Sleeping in

It's nice to wake up early and have more time to do things every now and then, but getting to sleep in and not worry about an alarm is a feeling I adore.

36. Taking off my shoes when I get home

It's such a relief.

37. Babies

Baby feet, baby hands, baby coos and babbles. The idea of holding a baby in my arms. I have always wanted to be a mother, so whenever I see a baby, it makes me smile.

38. Fuzzy socks

Nice and warm.

39. Handwritten notes/letters

Texts and phone calls are more convenient and efficient than writing things out and sending them, but I love getting letters and cards from people. My boyfriend and I used to write letters to each other (as well as calling and texting) and it was so sweet. I loved it even more because we were in a long distance relationship and it added a personal touch to our communication that texting could never replicate.

40. Stargazing

The universe is so vast and I am in awe of its beauty. I love recognizing constellations and making my own shapes in the stars. I love the peace that comes with staring up at the sky and even occasionally seeing a shooting star or the Milky Way.

41. Bonfires and s'mores

Summer nights with friends and family, gathered around a fire. Burnt marshmallows and sticky fingers may seem like a bad time, but it only makes it better.

42. Popping bubble wrap

It is SO satisfying.

43. Taking pictures of friends

I love being behind the camera. I am constantly taking pictures of everything I want to remember. I have had the opportunity to do photoshoots with a few of my friends, and I love being able to be the one to capture those moments.

44. Helping people

I want to help people in every way that I can. It's a good feeling to know that you have done a good thing, but it is an even better feeling to know that you have touched someone's life and made them a little bit happier, even if it is only for a moment.

45. Listening to stories from grandparents

I love hearing about other people's lives. It is so interesting to me, especially when the stories come from people who lived in a completely different world than I am growing up in right now. I love hearing about my grandma's childhood and how she explored. I love hearing about how people have overcome their struggles and made it this far. I adore the relationships that have lasted decades and are still going strong. I can't wait to tell my story to my children and grandchildren someday.

46. Freshly picked fruits

I love picking them myself, and they always taste better when you know where you got them from.

47. Fall/Autumn

The best temperatures, crunchy leaves, pretty colors, and lots of festivities.

48. Drinking cold water on a hot day

Water is my favorite drink, but it tastes so much better on a hot summer day when you need it.

49. Long, hot showers

Time to think, relax, sing, or just enjoy the water running over your body.

50. Making lists

Most of my articles are lists, and that's because I really enjoy making lists. I also enjoy making to-do lists because I feel more accomplished when I can cross things off of it.

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