You Can't Cheat On Yourself, So You Might As Well Love Who You Are

You Can't Cheat On Yourself, So You Might As Well Love Who You Are

What I Know Already Is This: I'm Learning Not Only Who I Am, But How To Love Who I Am Becoming
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The argument sounds air-tight, right? Well, it’s not so easy to actually recognize. Here I am: a freshman who's still attempting not to get lost on a spacious campus, trying to make friends and finding out who I'm going to be in life. For so long in life, I've been happy with who I am and who I'm slowly becoming.

Life is all about learning to be yourself and growing up doing something you'll love. I have so much that I haven't learned, but what I know already is this: I'm learning not only who I am, but how to love who I am. It sounds easy, but it’s complicated.

Those little butterflies that make you nervous when you're around them, or the sense of sarcasm that bubbles up and either comes off as rude or jokingly and whichever way it comes off makes you feel stupid for saying whatever you did... The sense you get that you just want to get to know this person more and you find these commonalities between the two of you that you want to explore and you want to see this person's world and everything that they hold special.

You want to know them, know them for them and not just who they are, but what they stand for and the quirks that make them who they are. You want to dive into this space that's open toward the exploration of what makes a romantic relationship what it is.

Yet, over the years I've been learning who I'm becoming and who I will be. It's not as easy when sometimes you just can't feel good about yourself, no matter how many "Mood Booster" playlists you put on or ways to distract yourself from your negative thoughts or even roaming around the internet looking for quotes and sayings that fit the mood you're in making it a bit more relatable. It's about even in those darker times loving who you are because of maybe or maybe not what you've done, but how you see yourself.

A bit confusing? Let me try this: maybe dressing up for the heck of it or even adding that little bit of makeup to make you feel good about yourself, even doing something out of your comfort zone because you're trying to become someone better and even just bring something new into your life.

It's about finding yourself and being yourself and being happy with who you are outside of any relationship that you may have. Focusing on how you are being single and moving forward in life, despite maybe not having a romantic significant other. Here's where I draw the line.

To feel good about yourself, you don't need a boy or any other significant other. A significant other should be someone who lifts you up the same you do them, but they should also be a shoulder to lean on, someone to learn from who puts a smile on your face, making your heart happy. But, to be in a relationship, you need to be happy with yourself.

You need to recognize that who you're becoming is someone you want others to see you as. A significant other should be someone who loves themselves as much as they love you and vice versa. You need to be sure that you’re confident enough in yourself so that you can support not just yourself, but the relationship that you’re jumping into.

Someone who has big dreams and even larger motivations to accomplish them. Your sense of conviction for your beliefs is not where you stop, but it is the stepping stone to where you make yourself who you become. Your faith in whether it be something religious based, other people or even yourself should be strong and confident.

Trying or actually succeeding, I'm currently in the attempting phase, to be sure of what you do not know and still following whatever you believe in.

Here I am talking about all of these ways for someone to be sure of themselves and by no means am I close to what I'm saying in terms of confidence and perseverance for my beliefs or even the convictions of where I lay my faith, but what's important is that I'm trying.

When people talk about taking your own advice, I don't think I'm alone in the fact that I speak true to how I feel, but I'm not quite "there" in terms of being the person you're trying to be, I try to take my own advice. But it's the fact of adding that to reality that makes it more difficult to follow it.

When I talk of all of these things about making yourself happy with who you are and who you will become, I'm setting myself up for a future that will show me just how much I have to learn from life, itself. I'm learning that a new environment and adjusting well to it is about how you grasp life for yourself and shove yourself into something that's nowhere close to comfortable. I've written so much this far talking about how you're constantly learning through life and it is.

It's all a maze that each person may or may not find the middle of. They'll take several wrong turns and may never reach the exact spot that they aspired to reach, but that doesn't mean that it's wrong or bad because it's different.

I sit here at about 1:00 a.m. on a lofted dorm bed with sleeping roommates being oh so very aware of how and what I'm learning about myself.

I'm slowly learning that my faith is something being established that has never fully been solid. I doubt and fail, but I never give up. I'm learning that even by looking in a mirror with one positive thought earlier in the day will make my mood better and that by surrounding myself with friends and opportunities I never imagined, I'm learning to love how I look, who I'm becoming, and even the uncertainty I know that I'll face within the future.

Finding myself through the music I listen to and embracing even the somewhat embarrassing things about me have become things that are important to who I'm growing to be. I'm slowly learning that through college, it's okay to admit that not everything is okay, or that you need help, or even that life is harder than you expected and that making friends when you're in a completely new environment especially on a campus of 50,000 students is by no means easy... While I'm still settling into campus attempting not to get lost and learning about what I want to do in life, while in the meantime learning who I'm slowly becoming throughout life.

But, it's how you throw yourself into the direction of the wind, walk against it, and what you do for yourself through that struggle that causes you to become who you will be.

Cover Image Credit: Meghan King

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Stand In The Mirror

An exercise in self-love.

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If you're reading this, then I want you to stop what you're doing right now, get up from wherever you're sitting, and go stand in the mirror.

Yes, that's right. Close your laptops, put down your phones, and walk to the closest bathroom, or vanity, or wherever else you can see your reflection the most clearly. Pretend like you're the only person in the world for a little while.

Are you there? Good.

Now I want you to look at yourself, very closely.

Start with your eyes. How beautiful they look underneath the light; you can see all their colors, just like a painting! Something that unique belongs in an art museum, don't you think?

Those eyes of yours have seen so many wonderful things. Think of all the sunsets they've allowed you to witness, all the times your best friends have grinned from ear-to-ear and all the books you've read.

Now, look at your lips. Think of all the lovely people they may have kissed, all the Thanksgiving dinners they've touched and all the funny faces they've helped you express.

Think all of the times they've opened to exude laughter and joy, to express awe and other associated feelings words cannot express.

Now it's time to examine your arms. Shrug your shoulders and admire the way they fall so gently at your sides, like water flowing from the mouth of a river. Think of all the wonderful things they've helped you to reach, of all the trees they've helped you climb and monkey bars they've helped you swing through. Think of all the people they've hugged, and all the dogs they've helped you pet.

Finally, move to your legs. Think of all the races they've helped you win, all the hurdles they've helped you jump through and all the lengths they've helped you swim.

Think of all the pristine places they've carried you to, and reflect upon all the places you'll soon be heading to.

Can't you see now that you're a masterpiece, dripping with color and beauty, emotion and experience, from every fiber of your being?

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