Do you remember your childhood? I definitely remember mine. I was full of smiles and joy, and I never felt flawed or inadequate. I had magical moments of just being who I really was; I was never worried about societal expectations from me. But as I started to grow older, some of those magical moments started to slowly fade away. I started to compare myself to others and noticed my flaws, which lead me to becoming insecure about certain aspects of myself. All of us at some point have struggled with wavering self-esteem, which can leave us feeling little self-love. But, I’m here to remind you how important it is to feel that self-love, because this will give you the ability to live your life to the fullest. The journey to self-love is one that must start from the inside, so we can truly embrace being our unique selves.
Every day we are bombarded with images from magazines or social media of people who are thin, beautiful, and always look happy. When we search on YouTube for makeup tips, many of the top results are how-to's on looking like a certain celebrity. This can lead us to feel inadequate in some way—sometimes even leading us to want to drastically change our appearance. Perhaps you’ve been there or know someone who has— whether it be through weight loss or plastic surgery.
I know I definitely have. My biggest struggle was always with the scale. I’m naturally curvy in the hips, and in high school I placed myself on restriction diets or strict regimented exercise routines. But, no matter how much weight I lost, I still didn’t feel happy. The numbers kept shrinking from the scale, yet I didn’t feel this sense of bliss I thought I would have. That’s because we have to find happiness and self-love from within ourselves. Our appearance really starts from the inside, and that’s where the journey to self-love has to begin.
My background is in psychology, and part of the reason I studied it is because I am intrigued by how powerful our mind is. Understanding our minds is crucial for developing self-love. Our mind can be our best friend—or our foe— depending on how we treat it. For example, I tend to be a highly emotional person that can see-saw from one spectrum of emotion to another in the snap of a finger—if you are a Scorpio you probably feel my pain on this one! I used to berate myself for being so emotional, especially when I found myself swimming in a sea of negative emotions.
But, what I didn’t realize is that in those negative emotions, I found room for improvement in my life and ways that I could make my life more positive. I stopped being angry at myself for when I was in a negative space, and learned to accept it for who I was. When I stopped trying to fight who I was, my life became infinitely easier. I was able to just know who I was and accept myself for exactly that. I felt the love for who I was as a person, and didn’t feel the need to change or be anyone else.
To develop a healthy relationship with the mind and start to develop our self-love, we must really get to know our inner workings. The first step is that you have to accept yourself truly—flaws and all. This part of the journey to self-acceptance isn’t always easy, but it is a necessary step. Many times in our life, when we find a flaw in ourselves, we use it to compare ourselves to others. We feel inadequate when we do this, and it leaves us in a very negative mental head space. When I find myself in these mental loops of comparing myself to others, I try to catch myself thinking and remind myself that everyone has some sort of flaw. There is not one person who is perfect—we are all born with our strengths and our weaknesses. I try to remember this truth, and I encourage you to do the same.
When we start to recognize that we can offer the world, we feel empowered and our self-love starts to shine through. When we truly accept ourselves from the inside, we are able to accept ourselves from the outside as well. We realize we aren’t perfect—we all have our flaws, quirks, and inadequacies—but that is ok. Each of us is blessed with different talents and gifts that we can offer to the world. We all have something special inside of us, and we should not focus on comparing ourselves to another person, but rather be happy that they can showcase their special talent or gift, just as we can.
Truly loving ourselves takes courage and strength because we must be open to the fact that we aren’t perfect. We must accept that aspect of ourselves in order to just be who we really are. As the cold winter approaches, there is something you must remember. No two snowflakes are alike, and neither are two people. You are a special and unique person, who has so much to offer the world. Be you, smile at the beauty in others, and remember to spread the love.
Spreading the love is something I am very passionate about. My background is in Psychology, with an emphasis on the fields of relationship counseling and positive psychology. I spend my time building relationships with others, with the goal of inspiring people to live their lives fully from their hearts and fulfilling their dreams. I have a personal blog which you can read here (http://absoulutelyanna.com/about-me/), where I write about the following: love, following your heart, balanced living, and travel. I’m from the United States, but love being an expat! Currently, I am based out of Bonn, Germany.