To My Friend Who Doesn't Know Her Self-Worth

To My Friend Who Doesn't Know Her Self-Worth

If only you could see yourself through my eyes.
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Every single day you look in the mirror, tearing yourself apart. You think you aren't skinny enough. You think you aren't outgoing enough. You think you aren't fun enough. You think you aren't enough at all.

It's not an easy thing to watch, in fact, it actually pains me to see you view yourself in such a light. It pains me because I have seen you in every single light, not just the lights hanging above your mirror. I have seen you at your worst, and I have seen you at your best. I have seen you in enough of these lights to know that in any of them, whether it be direct sunlight, a slight shadow, a dim flame, or complete darkness, you are beautiful from every angle. When I look at you, I see the most magnificent, glowing light of them all.

Yes, you are beautiful. But I'm not just talking about your outer appearance. You are absolutely stunning on the inside, and you shine your own light from within. There will be people throughout life that make you question whether you truly have your own radiance; forget those people, for you can extinguish their hate with your kindness and love. Please know that these people are not the ones who matter, it's the people who can see your light even on the stormiest of your days that will matter until the end of time. When I look at you, I see true, pure beauty, a beauty that cannot be found by looking in a mirror, but by looking within.

You have your struggles, challenges, and hurdles, and you have plenty of them. I know sometimes you wonder if you can even bare to face another day; if you are even able to mutter up enough strength to carry yourself through another hour. You see yourself as weak, not resilient, a let down. Let me tell you, you are one of the strongest, most influential, inspiring people I have ever met. Not everyone can make it through the continuous hard times that you have faced, it's true. It takes a special kind of someone to endure the worst of times to get to the best of times. When I look at you, I see a warrior; a human being that knows she is more than the obstacles thrown in her path. When I look at you, I feel pride. I am proud to know and love a true fighter, combating everything that gets in her way.

You never believe that you are enough. But, it's never that you don't believe you aren't enough for yourself, you don't even think about yourself, it's that you don't believe you are enough for anyone else. You always tell me you feel as though you can't be there for people, that you are constantly letting people down. To me, you are the most selfless person on the face of this beautiful planet. You are so giving, so caring, so willing to drop everything to help someone in need. You are more than enough to everyone. You are more than enough to everyone, except the one person who really matters, yourself. When I look at you, I feel happiness. I can't help but smile and feel grateful to know someone like you.

It's time you start to realize that this life is about you first, above all else. Once you can start to see yourself through my eyes, you'll see that you are beautiful, you are strong, you are enough, and most importantly, you are totally, completely, and unconditionally loved. When I look at you, I see a girl who will love herself in that way too.

"You've only ever seen yourself in two ways, looking in the mirror and in pictures. You've never seen you the way I have. When you're laughing and your face is lit up from happiness, when you're reading your favorite book, when you blush and bite your lip after hearing a compliment, when you are slowly drifting off into your dreams. So when you say you are not beautiful, when you say you hate yourself, your justification does not count, because you've only seen yourself in two ways, I've seen you in hundreds."


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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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What Rescuing a Dog Taught Me About My Future

She was a real pain to begin with, but I wouldn't give her up for the world now.

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My first dog came from a breeder to us when he was just a puppy. I was in third grade so we were both young together. I remember stepping off of the bus and seeing him curled up in my mom's arms. His breed, a Cavalier King Charles, is a highly sought after dog for their small size and beautiful markings. However, dog breeding can lead to medical complications down the line. Heart murmurs are very frequent as cavaliers get older. When he turned 9 years old, they were already detecting the beginning of a heart murmur in him. But my second dog didn't come to us in quite the same way.

Willow was about a year old. She was rescued from an abusive home where she had to fight for her food from many other dogs. This made her guard resources and distrustful of us. My mom and I begged the rest of our family for the ability to adopt her, and they finally agreed. Being not potty trained, we had to teach her with a lot of positive encouragement when she went pee in the right place (not our carpet). It took her a while to realize that we weren't going to take her food away and she gradually became less resource guarding. She started to trust my other dog more and play with him. A lot of the time, they even snuggle together now.

At the time, I was in my junior year of high school and still thinking about the idea of becoming a veterinarian. She helped me decide to go for it, and now I'm in college and getting ready to apply for veterinary school. Willow has become part of our family, and her funny and unique personality fit right in with us.

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