In today’s world of what feels like impossibly high standards, I find myself struggling with the single most important principle I preach to others: Self-Love. While it sounds good in theory, it is definitely easier said than done.
Loving others is as natural as breathing and not something you give thought to. We love our children, our family, our pets, a good beer at the end of a long day, a blanket we’ve had since childhood, our bed. Why is it then that we have such a hard time loving the skin we’re in? Over time, if left unchecked, we become our own worst enemy…our very own bully.
I am a single mom raising two pre-teen girls. I stand on my soapbox daily and lecture them on how beautiful they are inside and out, how smart they are, that their strengths far outweigh any weakness they may have. I NEED them to realize for themselves how amazing they are, because the world today won’t do it for them. However, once I step off the soapbox, I’m the last to practice what I preach.
I am overweight and have been my entire life. Not the cute, fashion-forward ‘thick and curvy’ type that seems to be so popular nowadays. I’m more the size that makes me not want to look in a mirror as I pass by. I also was born with psoriasis which, to those that are unaware, is a non-contagious autoimmune disorder that effects the skin. So, in all honesty, on my best days I feel like I closely resemble a bloated fish. My weight and skin are two of my biggest hangups and should take a backseat to all the positive feedback I give myself. However, my giving nature, my level of intelligence, my wit (well, I think I’m hilarious anyway), my need to help anybody and anything regardless of reason or station in life…should all be enough to at least counterbalance my negative self-talk. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Giving yourself the same break, the same chance, the same set of eyes you give others is a skill one has to work to develop daily. As much as I beat into my children’s brains how awesome they are before sending them out into a judgmental world, I need to do the same for me. Practice what you preach. Continuing to focus on a couple key negative points about yourself is wasted time better spent on nurturing your strengths, your positives. Have you ever noticed that, while a compliment feels good for the moment, an insult from the right person at the wrong time can sting for years? In a world Hell-bent on comparing you to the next, you have to be your own voice of reason. Stop avoiding mirrors, stop hiding the skin you’re in, and stop believing you’re anything less than the work you’ve put in day in and day out. Get your heart right and your head straight and the rest is all just perception. You’re beautiful just being you.