I am well aware that battling against your insecurities is a daily struggle where some days are better than others. And that some days can be really, really bad. I know that sometimes it feels like you can’t catch a break. Our society is so twisted and consuming that we’ve internalized or uniqueness for something to be ashamed of. I’m here to tell you that if you truly believe that you can be a better version of yourself, there is nothing wrong with changing your lifestyle to achieve that. However, it’s important to understand the reason why you want to improve. It has to be for yourself and for you physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I’ve comprised a list of things that I (struggle) to remind myself of each day and I want to share it with you in hopes that you may reach some peace with yourself.
Although it’s a struggle, I think I really, truly have begun to love myself.
1. Do not shy away from mirrors or photographs. It is easy to glance quickly and immediately see the worst. It is not easy to force yourself to really look at you. Those imperfections that you are afraid to embrace make you beautiful. Cliché, believe me I’m fucking aware, but there is definitely some truth in it. The longer you look, the more of yourself you’ll see. You are more than those few things that you hate or even love about yourself. You are so much more. If you don’t take the time to see it, how will you ever see it in others? That being said, if you see it in others, you are doing yourself a disservice for refusing to see it in you. Finally, do not let someone shame you for drinking yourself in. There is nothing wrong with looking at yourself and loving yourself.
2. Accept the fact that everyone is beautiful in their own way and under no circumstances deserve to be treated cruelly by someone else. This of course includes yourself. Do not tear someone else apart to feel whole. It does not work that way. Do not find something wrong with every person, because that will perpetuate into feelings about yourself. Comparison in constructive ways can be a good thing. Comparison to pick someone completely apart into identifiers or to fit them into a mold is destructive to yourself and just ugly and so superficial to do to someone else. Hate to break it to you, but in these instances you are being a shitty human being. I’m saying this because even though this act of comparison is worse on your own psyche than the person you’re analyzing, sometimes it helps to put it in another perspective. BE A DECENT HUMAN and you’ll be surprised at how this simple act will combat insecurities. Don’t get me wrong—I still find myself doing this on a daily basis, but it’s getting less frequent and it can become that way for you too. A super fantastic way that I’ve proven this to myself is probably something you’ve heard before: find beauty in others, compliment others, learn about others, and in this way you will begin to see that this same thing you are doing to others can be done to yourself. Each individual has so much to offer this world so why wouldn’t you take the time to see it and embrace it?
A little anecdote:
Last year, I was struggling big time with perfection. I constantly found something wrong with others. I had convinced myself that if I held myself to a higher standard I had to hold my friends and loved ones to that standard. I remember thinking: “How can I love someone who does something so wrong or thinks in a way I don’t agree with or acts in ways that I don’t agree with?” I had a friend that would react so viscerally to things, very loud, and to me sometimes rude. It got to the point where I felt like her personality clashed with mine (I’m a low-key, anxious, introvert).
Through time and growth, I learned that all people behave in different ways that stem from their past experiences and I am doing a disservice to their entire being by summing them up by those few things I do not like. Furthermore, those things I did not like ended up being things that I wish I had about myself: being outspoken and rash, making a fool of myself and not caring who saw, and loving so raw-ly that it hurt (in a good way). These were all things I denied myself because I thought I was “better” than letting go of my inhibitions.
3. Take care of yourself. This is so important! I cannot stress it enough.
First, you need to physically take care of yourself by what you put in it. Eat foods that will help your body feel good— by this I mean eat things that you provide your body nutrients that make you feel like a badass who can take on the world. Take vitamins and limit foods that bring you down and make you feel eh one your body processes it. The things we eat are metabolized into our functioning cells. Why wouldn’t you give your body the proper battle armor for combatting whatever the heck this world will throw at it?
Second , exercise. This doesn’t have to be full on exercise regiment that you must follow strictly, but it should be something you do for your own betterment and well-being, that get you sweating out those nasty toxins, and get you pumping those endorphins and pushing your cells to work, work, werk. There are so many baby-step ways you can physically do to be healthy and who knows someday you may develop a schedule for exercising eventually which is even better because then you are in groove of taking care of your body.
Here are some small steps that I’ve personally taken:
Walk or bike to a place instead of driving one day. Sometimes I do this just to prove I am capable of using these two powerful legs of mine (I don’t want to take them for granted!). Hike in a place you’ve never been before. This is so fantastic in many ways, because you are discovering a beautiful place, you can get lost in nature and take a break from normal busy-bee life, and you have a set goal to finish whether that is the number of miles, the end of the hike, or the top of that hill. Goal setting is one of my favorite things ever, because once you achieve it you can positively reinforce your awesomeness with a reward. Take a class you’ve never done before. There’s so many things out there that could end up being so fun or life-changing for you: zumba, yoga, pilates, boxing, weightlifting, a style of dance, and the list goes on. There are so many more options and they only get more weird (in the best way possible) and unique.
Third, work on your mental health. I think this is the most important thing you need to actively take care of. As soon as you begin feeling stressed or overworked or are trying to recover from something that really rattled you, it is okay to give yourself a break. Sometimes you need time to work through your shit and sometimes this can be really difficult to face, but you absolutely must. Thinking negative thoughts? Don’t try to pretend that you aren’t. Face them head on. Talk with people you love and trust. Admit when you’re wrong, admit when you’re scared, and admit when you are lost. You don’t have to pretend to be the person that is above needing love and self-care. If you ever get to the point of really feeling off or like your body is not like itself or you’re thinking negative and self-harming thoughts: seek professional help. It does not make you a weak person. It does not make you “crazy.” We as humans are constantly dealing with tough shit, yes, some more than others, but we also all react to things differently, so you never have to apologize for the way you react or needing help to deal with the things you go through.
Let’s start feeling good, yeah?
(note: just a reminder that these are open letters and although sometimes I write them in a general form that can apply to anyone, they usually stem from an actual, physical human in my life, and that is why the title is directed toward a girl. If you were a guy that took something away from this letter, I’m glad and I hope you didn’t feel excluded by the title.)