I’ve had a heated battle against myself going on for a long time. I’ve spent many days of my life hating myself, and if we’re being honest, I still have days like that. I feel like I’m not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny and flirty enough. My anxiety sometimes makes me feel like I’m crazy, and I get trapped inside my own head. I’ve spent day after day comparing myself to everyone I saw online or someone in my family or even my friends. Everyone around me seems to be living some perfect amazing life with perfect bikini bodies and perfectly timed boomerangs on their Instagram stories.
Maybe if I change my hair, I’ll love myself. Maybe if I just lose three more pounds, I’ll love myself. Maybe if I go out more, I’ll love myself. These are the kinds of thoughts that go on in my head during my low self-esteem days. And it’s not easy to hear.
For a long time, I thought I needed a guy to love me to love myself. I thought that if I could just find a cute boy to like me, then I would finally be able to love myself. WRONG. Depending on that only made me hate myself more. Every time there would be a blip of a relationship on my radar, I became hopeful that this time I was going to learn that I was good enough. I never felt that way. All of the “relationships” ended. I got ghosted numerous times and was led on more than I thought possible. And the only thing that all the failed relationships had in common was me, so I felt even worse about myself. (Stay tuned for another post about my thoughts on dating and relationships.) But let me tell you one thing: if you’re waiting on a boy to make you happy and make you love yourself, you’re going to be waiting forever.
Once I gave up on letting boys determine my happiness and liking myself, I thought that if I had approval of everyone, then I would finally be happy and love myself. If I could get the approval of everyone in my family and get all my friends and their friends and my “friends” to really love me and appreciate me and approve of me, then I would be able to love myself. That was a whole other downward spiral. It took me a really long time to realize that waiting for approval from other people was never going to make me happy, and it definitely wasn’t going to make me love myself.
About two years ago, I took a good, hard look at my life and what I wanted to make better. I had planned on finding a long list of things to make better just so I could feel comfortable with myself. Instead, I realized that just because my life and my hair and my body doesn’t look like everyone I’ve been comparing it to doesn’t mean that what I’m doing isn’t just fine.
I may not have a fancy job that sends me jet-setting around the world. I may not have my own house decorated in beautiful marbles and golds (someday). I may not have a big shiny ring on my finger with a perfect husband to go with it yet. I may not have the perfect bikini body. But do you want to know a secret? THAT’S OKAY!
When I decided to really look at myself, I saw all the positive, wonderful things that I’ve been missing for so long. I have a wonderful, supportive family and amazing friends. I don’t have abs, but I enjoy French fries and queso without any guilt (fun fact: French fries are my love language). I may not have my own house yet, but I have enough Christmas decorations to fully decorate it when I do (sorry, future husband…I’m extra when it comes to Christmas). I finally—FINALLY—realized that waiting to get affirmation about myself from someone else—whether that was a boy or my family or just a friend—was never going to make me happy.
Because of this, I’ve also started to see things that made me feel different or insecure about myself as good things. I’m a nerd. I love reading and writing and the Avengers. I love Disney more than any little kid I’ve ever met. I’d rather spend a night in with a good movie and a blanket than go out and party. My body is nowhere near perfect for a lot of different reasons. But those things make me special. They make me different. And I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite things about my favorite people are the things that make them different. Even my anxiety. Sometimes it makes me feel crazy, but it makes me that much stronger with every day that I fight it.
So, all those things that make you feel less, or not enough, or not worthy? They make you YOU, and you ARE enough, and you ARE worthy. I promise you. Nerd out over Iron Man (team Cap forever, though), say no to that party you’ve been dreading and stay home all night, and love all of those little quirks that make you different. That guy who led you on for months, told you he wasn’t ready for a relationship, and had a girlfriend a couple weeks later? He doesn’t get to tell you how to feel about yourself. That friend of yours that called you selfish for not doing something you weren’t comfortable with is a liar. Live your life however you want to and stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Because once you see yourself for the amazing person everyone else already knows you are, your life becomes so much easier and so much fuller. Just love yourself and be happy with who you are because you’re freaking incredible.