The Process Of Loving Yourself

The Process Of Loving Yourself

I began to love myself slowly.

Imagine being in the sixth-grade and already feeling chronically insecure about yourself. Constantly feeling like you are never good enough, like you are always being judged.

Unfortunately, this was me. There are many reasons that cause this. Life is hard, other students are mean, the media is distorted. Even with all of these things, however, only a handful of the people who experience them have severe insecurities about themselves. Why is this?

Mental illness is one of the biggest causes of self-esteem issues. I equate anxiety to thinking everything is wrong, even when things are perfectly fine. You constantly feel like you are not good enough and fear that everyone will reject you.

Although there is not a "cure" for mental illnesses, you can work toward a more positive mindset and learn to love who you are.

I grew up constantly trying to change myself. "If only I could be more like all the other students." I did not know the concept of self-love by any stretch of the imagination. I desperately wanted to be a different person who didn't have to deal with what I was feeling when in reality, I should have been celebrating my uniqueness. In our society, there's this belief that different equals wrong. It is ingrained in our heads to correct every little flaw we have, when, in fact, the very opposite is the truth. Our flaws are what make us special.

I don't know the exact moment that it happened, but I began to love myself slowly. I am still astounded when I look back at how I used to feel. The greatest improvements happened within the past few years. Perhaps it had something to do with seeing how far I've come in life and my achievements. My great support system of my best friends also helped exponentially. But I think the main thing was finally being in an environment where I feel comfortable being myself, where I know I won't constantly be judged.

Even with all of those things, I still took a long time to realize that I am enough the way I am. See, it is very difficult to change the way you've thought about yourself for your entire life.

I still have my hard days sometimes, but at the end of the day, I can look back and say I now love who I am.

I am no longer that middle school girl that tried to be like "everyone else." It's crazy to me that someone can feel this at such a young age. If I could, I would make sure no other person would ever have to feel that way again.

Loving yourself is a life-long process. I have come so far and can now say I love the person I have always been inside. I've learned how to celebrate my differences. I am also extremely blessed to be in an environment of people who also celebrates people's unique qualities.

Cover Image Credit: Marina Maynard

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Bailey Posted A Racist Tweet, But That Does NOT Mean She Deserves To Be Fat Shamed

As a certified racist, does she deserve to be fat shamed?

This morning, I was scrolling though my phone, rotating between Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Snapchat again, ignoring everyone's snaps but going through all the Snapchat subscription stories before stumbling on a Daily Mail article that piqued my interest. The article was one about a teen, Bailey, who was bullied for her figure, as seen on the snap below and the text exchange between Bailey and her mother, in which she begged for a change of clothes because people were making fun of her and taking pictures.

Like all viral things, quickly after her text pictures and harassing snaps surfaced, people internet stalked her social media. But, after some digging, it was found that Bailey had tweeted some racist remark.

Now, some are saying that because Bailey was clearly racist, she is undeserving of empathy and deserves to be fat-shamed. But does she? All humans, no matter how we try, are prejudiced in one way or another. If you can honestly tell me that you treat everyone with an equal amount of respect after a brief first impression, regardless of the state of their physical hygiene or the words that come out of their mouth, either you're a liar, or you're actually God. Yes, she tweeted some racist stuff. But does that mean that all hate she receives in all aspects of her life are justified?

On the other hand, Bailey was racist. And what comes around goes around. There was one user on Twitter who pointed out that as a racist, Bailey was a bully herself. And, quite honestly, everyone loves the downfall of the bully. The moment the bullies' victims stop cowering from fear and discover that they, too, have claws is the moment when the onlookers turn the tables and start jeering the bully instead. This is the moment the bully completely and utterly breaks, feeling the pain of their victims for the first time, and for the victims, the bully's demise is satisfying to watch.

While we'd all like to believe that the ideal is somewhere in between, in a happy medium where her racism is penalized but she also gets sympathy for being fat shamed, the reality is that the ideal is to be entirely empathetic. Help her through her tough time, with no backlash.

Bullies bully to dominate and to feel powerful. If we tell her that she's undeserving of any good in life because she tweeted some racist stuff, she will feel stifled and insignificant and awful. Maybe she'll also want to make someone else to feel as awful as she did for some random physical characteristic she has. Maybe, we might dehumanize her to the point where we feel that she's undeserving of anything, and she might forget the preciousness of life. Either one of the outcomes is unpleasant and disturbing and will not promote healthy tendencies within a person.

Instead, we should make her feel supported. We all have bad traits about ourselves, but they shouldn't define us. Maybe, through this experience, she'll realize how it feels to be prejudiced against based off physical characteristics. After all, it is our lowest points, our most desperate points in life, that provide us with another perspective to use while evaluating the world and everyone in it.

Cover Image Credit: Twitter / Bailey

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Justifying Fear Next Year Is Not An Option For Me

How renouncing my fear of vulnerability in 2019 returns the power to me.


At first, when I entertain the question "where do I want to be?" my response is invariably Paris. Paris in the cold. Paris in the blistering, un-air-conditioned, sweaty, sticky heat. Paris on a gray day. Paris on a delicately warm and breezy sun-danced day. Paris in all its devastating, riotous, glory. No lover of Paris can know of the mayhem occurring right now and not experience absolute heartbreak for her fierce beauty. I miss her. Even so, if I gave this response to the question posed, I would be missing the reality and soul of it. Yes, I want to be in Paris, but that is not the intent of the question. The question begs for more.

Truthfully, I am a driven individual and I thrive on each and every success. I feed off of them. So what happens when I have a season like the one of late, the one of this past semester, when I seem to be stumbling at every corner? The choice of floundering and allowing failure to break me is never, has never been, and will never be an option for me. Failure happens, sure. Fine. I have fallen short in so many ways in my life and I'm slowly but surely learning to accept the naturality of it. It is okay to not want to fail, and I would hope that I would crave more than failure. What isn't okay by me, however, is being afraid of it, and if I'm being sincere with myself, this entire semester I have been going about utterly terrified.

If you are being honest with yourself, you probably do, too.

Taking a holistic picture of who I am, I am at my core a person who loves to love. Nothing brings me more joy than knowing that my life is bringing joy to another. Farther out, though, I am frightened by the tone of vulnerability. Being vulnerable is supposed to mean you are weak, right? By definition, vulnerability means "capable or susceptible of being wounded or hurt; open to moral attack, temptation, criticism, etc." In what world would anybody want to be open to attack? What is so enticing about that? For quite some time now, I have admired the work of Dr. Brené Brown. She has studied concepts of shame and vulnerability extensively and her findings have greatly impacted the way I carry on with life. According to her, the "inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limit(s) the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few." She claims the opposite of the lies my subconscious sends my way. She claims that being vulnerable actually makes me the strongest of all.

What Dr. Brené Brown claims is true, as is the dictionary definition. Vulnerability does indeed make me an open target for failure and rejection, and at the same time, it also makes me an open gate for belonging and trust. This means, that if I want to love other people, I, too, need to learn to accept and be open to others. For me, fear can showcase itself in statements like "no worries!" when something actually did bother me, or in behaviors such as having multiple partners not because I'm seeking attention or am incapable of connecting deeply with my these individuals, but because entering into a single relationship means that rejection could happen and would hurt that much more if I were only with one person. In all this, I do trust my partners, value them for who they are, and am able to be my genuine self with them.

As these past months have unfolded, fear has been revealed to me not only in this fear of rejection, but also in a fear of losing control to the point it is now glaringly obvious to me just how much I go out of my way to make sure I maintain my hand over my life. I have been aware of the strength of my fear of failure for some time now, but with recent manifestations of it appearing in my life, it is now impossible to merely pick away at it bit by bit. I have to attack it full force. Faith is helping me to do so, but it is a work in progress for sure.

So then, where do I want to be? The answer is I don't know where exactly. What I do know now, though, is that I want to defy my fears by being the most vulnerable person I know in 2019. And that? That's gutsy as hell.

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