The Process Of Loving Yourself

The Process Of Loving Yourself

I began to love myself slowly.
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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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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Poetry On Odyssey: Self Love

"happiness isn't always easy, especially being happy about yourself."

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self love. not something i was ever very good at.

hell i'm still learning how to be good at it.

it's hard when you are constantly surrounded by people and things telling you your worth. it sucks.

i am always told that i need to stop being so hard on myself but it's not easy to be easy on myself when all i see is my life spiraling out all around me.

love is defined as something that makes you happy and something one can appreciate forever and ever.

i however see myself every single god damn day and feel the opposite.

my face, my skin, my hair, my body, my life.

they all make me unhappy and then i wonder if i'll ever know what self love really is.

it's so hard to dig yourself out of a mile deep hole you have been digging for yourself for the past 21 years of your life.

i am pale and average and i have cellulite and my stomach isn't flat and i don't have a nice ass and i don't eat well and i am behind in many things in life and that is when my mind continues to race over and over until i panic and can't stop it. I can't breathe and everything goes wrong and i feel like i am going to die.

self love is bullshit and it is not easy and it is oceans away from me as i lay trapped on an island of self doubt and regret and hatred for who i am and what my life is and i don't know what to do to change it.

i fear that as i grow older the self loathing will grow more and more and the self love will become an empty shell sitting, collecting dust on a shelf with all of my hopes and dreams until i die.

i beat myself up internally and i am my own worst enemy and i honestly wish that wasn't the case but this is just what i am used to. abuse. from myself. from my past. from the future ahead. it's what i'm used to and i wish that wasn't the case but it is.

i push myself to the edge and can never fully seem to jump, i get scared and wish i could just do it. just be completely and utterly happy with myself and who i am. to be the best, to be perfect and to hope for a day when i can be a guiding light for others.

self love is so much more than just appreciating and accepting who you are and what you look like.

it's not simple, or easy, or smooth. it's hard, it's difficult and it's jagged.

my own self expectations seem to be out of reach and not attainable and i keep going backwards.

my life is not the straight and narrow but rather a full on rollercoaster that i so much enjoyed as a child. now i ride them and become sick, much like when i think of my self love. it sickens me. it saddens me. it makes me dizzy.

and if anyone tells you that they completely and utterly love themselves unconditionally then they are a fucking liar.

Cover Image Credit:

Instagram // Broken Isn't Bad

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