I recently found a self-love challenge from Rebecca of The Glitter Diaries, and something she said in that post really resonated with me (well, many things did, but you know what I mean):
We often tell ourselves that we’ll be happy with who we are when we lose 20 pounds, have longer hair, clearer skin or nicer clothes. We put off loving ourselves because we think that who we are right now is not worthy of love but that is so, so seriously flawed!
When you start loving who you are right this minute, a whole new world of opportunity comes barreling in. You stop putting limitations on yourself and you start appreciating yourself for your uniqueness (like those cute freckles or scars!). You don’t have to wait until you get to a certain part of your life to value yourself, you can (and should!) start right now.
It was like a light bulb in my head. Why do we convince ourselves that we’ll be happier if we align ourselves with “beauty” standards promoted in the media, like being thinner or wearing designer clothes or having no pores or acne? If we decide we should do certain things that we think will make other people happy, what happens to ourselves? I think it makes it even harder to love ourselves for who we are right now, which, frankly, is hard enough these days.
When I was younger, I wanted really long hair and I wanted to be about six inches or so taller. While I would still like to be taller, and my hair is growing out nicely, I can’t walk that great in high heels, so it’s a life of flats (and step stools) for me, and I’m totally fine with that. Once I finally realized I couldn’t make myself me taller, I accepted it and moved on. So why can’t we do the same thing when it comes to other aspects of our body?
It’s so easy for me to say nice things like “Wow, her hair looks great like that!” or “Her makeup looks super cute today!” to other people, but when it comes to myself, I notice a bunch of flaws. My hair may look nice, but there are flyaways everywhere; my makeup may look pretty good, but my eyeliner may be smudged a bit or I may notice some patches of dry skin on my face that drive me crazy. Most of the time, the things I notice about myself are things no one else would probably ever see or care about. Some nights I complain about different things about myself out loud, and my boyfriend will say he didn’t notice the frizz ball that I claim my hair looks like or the smudged eyeliner or anything like that. He sees me as a person who he loves, and he looks past all my flaws (real or imaginary). So why is it so hard to do that for myself?
I’ve been working on a draft of this post for a few days now, and I’ve found it surprisingly hard to write about loving yourself. Why is that? As a beauty blogger who boasts that we should all love ourselves for who we are right now (and I do still firmly believe that), it’s another thing to put that into practice every day. Some days we just get down on ourselves. We’re frustrated with work, we’re tired of running around, we don’t take the time to really take care of ourselves, we slack off. And then it’s all too easy to call ourselves out on it: “You’re lazy. You don’t care about how you look, and even if you did, you still look like crap. Why even try? You’re ugly.” etc. Once the negative ball starts rolling, it can be (and is) really hard to stop.
But it must stop. And we need to stop being ashamed of ourselves.
The times when it’s so darn easy to make fun of or get down on ourselves are when we need to give ourselves self-love the most. We need to reassure ourselves. We are good people. We are going to be okay. We aren’t perfect, but no one is. We need to look ourselves in the mirror and not criticize every tiny flaw we see. Sure, maybe some eyeshadow has faded away or creased, or maybe our messy bun is looking a little messier than we’d like, but that doesn’t mean that we’re totally ugly or stupid.
It means we’re human.
It’s easy to say that one part of ourselves looks good but seven other parts look terrible, but really, we should be looking at it the other way around. Just because we have flaws doesn’t make us one giant flaw. For example, even though my hair looks pretty frizzy today and my blush is already fading, my eyeliner is on fleek for the first time in weeks (/months). When we spend so much time focusing on negativity, we forget to look for or we don’t even notice the positives. And that needs to change.
We are all beautiful.
We are all worthy of love.
We all need to love ourselves.
I used to think it sounded so cheesy to say you loved yourself, but lately I’ve been realizing how imperative that is. If we don’t love ourselves, I don’t think we can realize our true potentials and be able to move forward in life. Negativity will always hold us back. If you can’t tell, I’ve definitely been guilty of this myself (even today), but at some point it’s just time to break the cycle.
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s worth doing or following through, and I think that’s especially important when it comes to self-love. Like I said, when it’s so easy to put ourselves down is when we need to lift ourselves up the most.
I decided to stand up and take the self-love challenge, and I hope you do, too. Just thinking about self-love, and how much I’ve been lacking, has really taught me a lot, and I’m excited to grow and learn more about myself in the process.