My Journey to Self-love: How to Stop Competing and Start Loving yourself
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
Over the course of 28 years, I have heard the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy” more times than I care to count. What I’ve come to learn is hearing doesn’t always mean listening and it wasn’t until I internalized it that I really began to learn how to put it into practice on my journey to self-love.
The Plot for Self-Destruction
I was about 15 when I decided to hate myself. It wasn’t an all-out war initially, just a slow burn that eroded my self-esteem and turned my confidence to ash. From the time that girls are old enough to even hold a doll, we are launched into the world of impossible beauty standards and expectations. The issues only get worse as we begin our journey into womanhood. Bombarded by magazines, television, and all forms of popular culture telling us what is beautiful. Even pop culture felt clique-ish, you were either in or you weren’t. And I was not, at least I didn’t see myself that way.
From the minute I could stand, I was twirling around in a tutu. It wasn’t until the age of 15 that I realized my tutu didn’t fit like the other girls. Where they were making elegant long lines because they were tall and lanky, I felt like I was scribbling with a fat sharpie marker because I was short and stumpy. It probably didn’t help that leotards and tights are the least forgiving clothing items on the planet. And as I surveyed every ripple and lump in that thin nylon fabric, I began the plot for self-destruction.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
I began engaging in activities that were self-harming and convinced myself that the only way I could be beautiful is if I did, *insert self-hating behavior here*. The more I hated myself and continued these activities, the further I fell into a pit of despair. For the most part, the things I did went widely unnoticed by the larger audience. The mirror still told a story I couldn’t bear to read, and the anxiety and body consciousness remained.
There hasn’t been a defining moment in this self-love journey. No epiphanies, no medical emergencies, no interventions. Just a feeling of deep exhaustion and longing to be accepted. The need to be loved is an innately human one. I know we’ve all heard those cliche pithy remarks like, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” And as much as I’d like to sit here and tell you they aren’t true, sigh they are.
Start Loving Yourself Now!
I’m telling you this as a cautionary tale. Don’t wait to love yourself. Skip this whole self-loathing part, because frankly, it’s miserable and exhausting. Know that you are a boss babe who is capable of conquering the world and you are beautiful! And repeat it to yourself daily. I. Am. Beautiful. And if you are having a day where you’re feeling anything but fabulous, then here are a few ways I have learned to practice self-love.
- Dress up! Put on an outfit that makes you feel like the hottest, most beautiful, most fabulous lady on earth. Whether that is sneakers and yoga pants, a cocktail dress or a power suit, really doesn’t matter. If you think you look good, your mood will start to dramatically improve. And if you need some fashion inspiration, you can find it here!
- Take a Social Media Break. Log out, shut down and turn it off. I could definitely do better at this one. Remember that everything you see on social media is a carefully constructed illusion, a highlight reel of life’s best moments. If you find yourself thinking, her hair is prettier, her life is more luxurious, why can’t I be more like her then, it’s time to take a break from social media. You can’t start your own journey to self-love until you stop competing.
I’ve come a long way from that teenage girl to a woman who now dresses how she wants, takes no BS, and loves herself deeply and, it didn’t happen overnight. But choosing to wake up every day and say, “I’m a boss babe and I’m beautiful,” is the first step on your journey to self-love.