I have never been the type to be fully comfortable in my own skin. There has always been a laundry list of things that I would love to change about my appearance tucked away in the back of my mind. Whenever I’m having a rough day I can recite the things I dislike about myself as readily as if I were being asked to recite the alphabet. My almost non-existent shoulders, my lazy eye, my nose, my not-so-white teeth, my round face, my thick and often unmanageable hair….
The list goes on and on.
I have also never been the type to like to admit that I have insecurities. But then I guess no one is. I hide my insecurities under a smile and makeup, hoping that if I do it just right it will somehow imitate the confidence I seem to have lost so long ago. It’s gone on this way for a few years now, and it could probably go on for a few years longer. But what way is that to live? Who wants to live in fear of mirrors and transparency their entire life? I make money telling young adults that they cannot live this way, yet I have made it a habit myself. I have become a hypocrite, and coming to that realization was so incredibly hard to swallow.
I have been my greatest enemy, constantly letting the whispers and expectations of society fill my ears until they get to my head and the lies dance around in my mind. I let myself lose control over my self image, and in doing so I let the idea of confidence fade away until it was nothing but a nice yet unattainable concept.
It was time to go to war with myself.
When I look in the mirror and feel the urge to look away, I stare myself down instead. I dare myself to think a negative thought so that I can shut it down and replace it with the truth I have been denying myself: that I am enough. When I am afraid to look someone in the eye for the fear that they might see right through me, I instead silently dare them to look away first and make sure that I flash them a smile (after all, I’ve always had a brilliant smile).
It isn’t easy to reverse the negative, false image of myself that my mind has so generously created for me. But it’s something I have to do, and something I will continue to strive to do every day of my life. I owe it to myself. If I choose to wear lipstick, it is for myself. If I decide to wear no makeup and wear clothes that are dangerously on the border of not matching, I will smile because I know I’m doing it for me. Maybe it’s selfish, and that’s okay. Because if I can’t be happy with who I am, if I can’t look in the mirror and like what I see, then I’m doing something wrong.
If we as individuals cannot learn to be kind to ourselves and appreciate the things that make us unique, if we are unable to fall in love with ourselves all over again every day, then how could we ever ask or expect that of anyone else? Or even more importantly, how can we give that kind of love and acceptance to someone else if we deny ourselves it?
Treat others the way you would want to be treated, but also remember to treat yourself the way you would want others to treat you.