Over the past year, I’ve been reading self-help books and personal growth blogs with the intent of becoming a stronger, more confident, self-validating, self-fulfilling person. I’ve made tremendous progress toward this goal, but self-improvement is a ongoing process–we never stop growing. So I’m going to share some of the wisdom I’ve collected on my journey for the next 30 days, wisdom to help you empower you on your own voyage. Learn, grow, and enjoy!
Thirty Days of Personal Growth, Day 1:
Learn to Love Yourself
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
I hated myself when I was younger. I felt I was too thick, too dark, and too nerdy. Few people told me I was beautiful, so I ingrained in my mind that I was unworthy of the love I so desperately wanted to receive from boys. Feeling like a throwaway, I compared myself to every girl in my class and spent many hours buried in Seventeen and YM magazines, wishing I’d become the pretty girls I saw in the acne medication ads. But it was a pointless exercise. When I woke up in the morning, I’d still be pudgy, dorky me. I despised that.
It wasn’t until I opened myself up to self-help that I realized that in not loving myself, I was hurting myself. Was I not deserving of love, of appreciation? What made others more lovable than I was? Intense therapy revealed the severity of my self-bashing, and, upon realizing that I was just as lovable and valuable as anyone else, I made the commitment to love me. Just as I love my family simply because they’re here and they’re mine, I decided to love me just because I’m me. No matter how much weight I lose or gain, how much money is in my bank account, or how much makeup is on my face, I deserve my own love first.
You’re so much more than your face, your hair, your body, your finances, your education, and your relationship status. Even if you don’t like everything about yourself, you’re better off learning to love the complex you unconditionally. Imagine yourself as a baby: Would you determine that that little girl or boy was not lovable, not worthy of milk and a warm place to sleep? If you’re sane, no. You should love yourself the same way today. You were valuable then and you’re valuable now.
Appreciate what you have, what your body does for you–and remember that loving yourself means disciplining yourself in a healthy way, too, just as you would discipline the child you want to see grow into a healthy, happy, secure human being. Love yourself as if you’re your own family member–you are.