The first step was a bowl of ramen and a marathon of Netflix. Then came the disposal of old diaries full of loveless entries and broken hearts. I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I know I’ve just embarked on a journey that will last me a lifetime — one of loving myself.
Self-love has never been easy for me, even as a young girl. The pressure to be the ideal daughter or friend has slowly been weighing me down these past 15 years, and I finally collapsed.
Maybe I didn’t crumble to dust at once. Maybe I’ve been splintering apart for a while now. I always plagued myself with the idea that if I didn’t make others happy or wasn’t perfect enough, then I was a failure. My childhood years were not as full of turmoil as they are today, but growing older than 10 was the worst mistake of my life. Too often I found myself wallowing in self-hatred, yet never doing enough to change myself. I thought 2014 would be good to me, a year to find my joyful side again, but all dreams go to waste if you sit back and wait.
I promised that this year, however, would be different. I told myself that 2015 would be the year I find my inner-child again and bring her back to life. The girl who laughed freely and smiled all the time lost herself in high school, replaced by a sad, overly-sensitive mess of a person. Self-love, I am convinced, is the only way to find her again.
Saying and doing, of course, are two completely different things. Not even a month into the New Year, I still find myself endlessly scrutinizing my flaws, both internal and external.
I’ve always thought my sensitivity toward the world was a curse, something to be scoffed at, because who would want to befriend a girl who cries for no apparent reason? Yet, with each tear I’ve shed this year, I’ve also found myself doing something I’ve rarely done before — telling myself that it’s okay. Comforting myself, even. Maybe people will think this strange, but I find that talking to myself works wonders when I’m sad and alone. I like to imagine that there’s a four-year-old me by my side, telling me all the things I need to hear, telling me how she needs someone strong and independent to count on. It’s a soothing thought, believing that you’re the hero of a young child. It makes you feel stronger and more confident in ways you’d never expect.
Quite honestly, that little girl is the sole reason why I can get through hard days.
She opens the doorway to self-love. My desire to protect her innocence means that I have to protect my own. Showering myself in compliments, I learned, is not vain — it’s healthy. Calling myself a queen is not egotistic either, but a true sign that I am beginning to love and see worth in myself.
I want to fall in love with myself, quite honestly. I want to adore my own laugh and all of my quirks, rather than simply accepting them, because I am not going to simply tolerate myself. I am going to look in the mirror one day and smile, finally seeing the beauty in my existence.
I’m quickly realizing that I am the only person I will ever fully have in this life, and it will be one lousy existence if I spend all of it hating myself. I can’t keep finding shelter in other people, because they are not an antidote for my self-hatred. It is me who will be hugging myself at 2 a.m. when destructive thoughts come knocking. It is me who will run hands through my hair when I feel like I’m falling apart — no one else. I can’t expect happiness to magically find me, so I’ve got to create it for myself, and that begins with loving who I am.
I know I’ll have bad days, and maybe I’ll end up spending more time hiding under a desk than singing in the rain, but I am trying. I want to prance around with self-love and happiness, radiate positivity to all those around me. Heaven knows this life is tough, but I plan to dance through it.