Accepting ourselves is never easy. Loving everything about us is a journey that requires patience and a lot of energy. We spend so much time being conscious about the things we don’t like that we end up undervaluing what we should appreciate. We realize only when others acknowledge it, but we struggle to acknowledge it ourselves.
No doubt – self-love is a tortuous path. But it’s so necessary. How are we going to be able to love someone else when we are the first to dislike ourselves? To consume our bodies until they look perfect? To drain our brain thinking of ways to get better? What if we are already better? Better than we were yesterday? Or last month? Life is all about small steps. We should learn how to celebrate them.
I have always struggled to accept myself. Don’t worry, I still do. I often wonder what other people think of me. Some days I look in the mirror and I’d like to vanish. Or be someone else. Maybe skinnier. Smaller nose. Straighter hair. Better skin. You name it. I always demanded too much from myself, and my body. I beat myself up when I make mistakes and force my body into clothes I am not made for. And I used to do much worse than this.
I used to buy larger jumpers to hide my curves. I used to train every day because I wanted to lose a certain amount of weight each month. I used to always turn my face to one side when taking pictures because I know my left side is better than my right one. I used to wear t-shirts at the beach because I was ashamed of the way I looked. I used to have so many habits that were simply designed to mask who I am. Let’s be honest – I still have some habits I wish I could get rid of. But we all know it’s not easy.
However, there is something I learn on the way. To care a little less. To live life with softness. Without overthinking too much. To prioritize what’s important and worry less about the small details. Because if they are small, they are fixable. Caring a little less has helped me focus on the stuff that matters. Mental health, first and foremost. I learned how to reward myself for the daily successes, for as trivial as they might be. Baking a cake. Knitting a scarf. Running one mile.
Don’t get me wrong – I still buy large jumpers. But not because I am trying to hide away, just because I genuinely like them. I take a picture both ways because that’s the face I have, no matter which side I show. I wear biking at the beach because it’s way too warm and I can’t stand having to bear the heat. I train daily, not because I impose myself on beauty standards, but because it’s a way to switch off from the frenzy of life.
How did I change my habits? I actually didn’t. I changed the way I look at them. Because now I know what deserves more importance. I wasn’t gaining anything from trying to be perfect all the time. I was only repressing my identity. I don’t care about being trendy, or sexy. I just want to feel comfortable in my skin, with who I am.
Loving myself is a difficult word to add to my vocabulary still to this day. But accepting and appreciating how I am growing is not. My insecurities are not a burden anymore. They are the motivation that keeps me going. That gives me the direction I needed. To live a healthier life. And a much, much happier one.