Once again, it’s been quite some time since I’ve last written. This time the gap has a little more to do with the topic I wanted to write about, and less about the amount of free time I’ve had to write.
This post has everything to do with the title of this blog. One of the most difficult obstacles I have come to tackle while on this path towards wellness is not so much an obstacle of fitness, medicines or food, but rather, coming to value myself for who I am, and loving myself.
Unfortunately, for a long time, it didn’t matter how many times I read iterations of the phrase, “love you for you,” it didn’t really stick. It took me … five or six YEARS to appreciate myself and love who I am. Well, that’s not all true. It’s taken me probably a good 15 years to do that (something about middle school that makes people turn on themselves), but it’s been five to six years that I have been aware of the fact that I was mean to myself, and have been trying to fix it.
It all started with an email I used to receive called The Daily Love. A long time ago, the blogger for that website said something along the lines of “you will attract into your life people who are like you.” At the time, I was pretty self-conscious and down on myself and couldn’t figure out why people, men in particular, that I had been meeting were so… unattractive. Not physically, but emotionally. I kinda put two and two together, and realized I needed to work on my self-esteem. Despite this epiphany, I was still not the most confident person you would meet. But it was definitely a start in the right direction.
Flash forward to reading Clear For Life. There’s a chapter in that book that I actually skipped the first time I read through the book. The page before the main text of the chapter says “Beware DRAGONS.” I skipped it the first time because I wasn’t ready to confront this part of dealing with acne. I came back to it later, and of course, it’s one of the most valuable chapters. In a very crude summary, it explains that those of us with adult acne, basically will always be running the risk of breakouts. Get over it. You need to be able to learn how to see past the acne and love yourself and your skin, warts (or acne) and all.
Eventually, thanks to reading that chapter, I came to a turning point – I could either continue to pity myself and complain and worry about every breakout, or I could accept the fact that I would have breakouts every once in awhile, and live my life. To everyone’s pleasure, I decided on the latter. I finally came to a point when my mindset had changed focus from “once I get rid of acne, I’ll be happy with what I look like,” to a “I’m beautiful no matter what.” Granted, I’m a human being. There are some days that are better than others. Some days I look at myself in the mirror and the mean thoughts come up. Thankfully, those days are fewer and fewer. For a long time, I didn’t believe in the mantra, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” But I read something along the way that explained that if you tell yourself something enough times, you believe it. So I wrote affirmations, and I still repeat them to myself daily. Typically, these affirmations include things like, “I am beautiful, inside and out.” “It only matters what I think of me.” “My body is fit, strong, and healthy.” and “I embrace life and find joy in all things.”
In addition to these affirmations, I just smiled more. (I will never be told I suffer from RBF.) My friends will tell you that my smiling too much gets me into “trouble” more often than not. But you know what, smiling just makes me feel happier. Trust me, it works. Changing my mindset, not just about how I look, but my attitude in general, has been the key. When you try it, you might start out feeling like you’re a used-car salesman, trying to sell yourself a clunker. It just takes trusting yourself, and believing yourself. Then you realize you aren’t a clunker, but a [insert your favorite make/model of car] (Porsche Boxter convertible, if you were wondering)
I know the Internet is flooded with this message – but I want to add my voice and say, love yourself for you. Not despite flaws, but because of them. Every last piece and part of you makes you who you are; love each and every piece and part.