Self-love seems like such a big-headed title, but hear me out; its important.
Self-love isn't news or anything, I think every human knows they should have it. But why is it so difficult to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin and be content with the sort of human being you are? I'm not a good example of someone who's confident, I put on an air most of the time, and fake it quite well. But that's not the self-love I want to achieve.
It hasn't always been like this - I mean, I always thought I was a pretty well adjusted individual; I always knew what I wanted, as since a young age I was nothing but a born leader. My parents never fail to point out just how easily I could make friends as a child, and how much power I held over my friends; not a bad sort of power, but I was a popular member of my friendship group, someone others looked up to, you could say. As I grew older, my friendship group became significantly smaller, but I had a few amazing friends (some which I still keep in touch to this day).
|One of my favourite pieces of inspirational artwork ever; I have this on my wall, and it always reminds me to take everyday as it comes and make it into something wonderful. Courtesy of @MikeMedaglia on Twitter.|
However, the older I got, the more self conscious I became over nearly everything. Granted, schoolwork was never an issue, I never got anything but top grades; my parents definitely could never complain over that, but I started noticing the bad things about myself more than ever before. And it wasn't just a constructive self-criticism, I mean, it quickly morphed into self-hate. Teenage angst, definitely, but it was much deeper than that. I have never particularly cared what anyone said about me (it should come as no surprise that I was bullied at school when I moved here; imagine this: a new girl in the class, cannot speak the language and communicate with anyone, quiet, shy and on the chubby side. Yeah, it didn't bode well. Mind you, I have never held it against my bullies - children aren't malicious, they simply channel what they think is right from their parents. In a way, you fear what you don't know or understand - no wonder the world is a mess right now, I mean look at these world leaders. But yeah, blame the parents, not the kids.)
I have to admit though, from my various social medias I come across as terribly vain and narcissistic, and I suppose to an extent I am. I have become so self conscious of my body over the years, that I have projected it into a false sense of self love. That isn't to say that I don't love parts of myself. I think I have a few redeeming qualities (very few, mind 😜), but self love is an important part of growing up, and for any young adult to feel like they aren't good enough being who they are, is impedimentary to development as a human being. Kind of like instead of being able to take a lift to 394th floor, you have to take the stairs. You'll probably get there in the end, but you will be worn out and, in a way, damaged by all the steps and stairs you had to take.
Yeah, you can tell I am a scientist and not a writer. Cannot even write a proper metaphor.
Over the past year, since I started university, I would say, I think I have grown incredibly as a person. Not only have I become more mature because of being placed in a different environment away from being coddled by parents, I have also been built up by my friends; both new and old. It's true what my dear friend once told me, friends are indeed the family we choose, and I cannot emphasise enough, just how amazing my choices have been. I have started to love myself more, both my virtues and my vices. I know I can be terribly annoying at times, be it via being overbearing or slightly too OCD over things, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depends how you look at it) that is just the way I am.
Rupaul came with words of wisdom last year when I started watching the Drag Race, "if you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?". It seems like such an obvious thing, something that a child would tell you or anyone who went to a Catholic school (been there, done that. I mean, Jesus did say 'love your neighbour as yourself', so I guess Jesus is the original Rupaul. Does that make Rupaul, 'Jesus 2.0'?).
My friends too, have taught me to accept that I am not invincible and that I will mess up and fail. You know, it seems so ridiculous to have this as my biggest fear, but since my early teens, failure was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I guess part of that ideology stems from my upbringing, as I never wanted (or want) to let my parents down, and I want to make their sacrifices worth it, but this year, this month in fact, I have realised that I am only a human being. I will from time to time fuck up, and I will lose track of where I am going, but I will get there.
You have to use the rock bottom you hit as the foundation of your success. So that is how I will treat my recent failures. Life is a learning curve, and the greatest lesson that can be gleaned from it, is to accept that at the end of the day, when you strip yourself of all your accomplishments and failures, you are only just a human. It is human nature to be flawed, but that is what makes us so beautiful. And kind of shitty. But mainly beautiful - don't believe my cliche? Let me explain.
Since the moment you are born, you are placed in a rat race; already at the tender age of a few weeks or months, people ask the questions that many young adults wouldn't be able to answer: 'I wonder who they will be when they grow up', 'do you think they will go to the best university', 'they will become X/Y/Z'.
Not only are they asking questions that many of my friends wouldn't be able to answer now, they are also putting extreme amounts of pressure right from the start. I suppose this ideology was born from the competitive reality we live in, but a childhood should remain just that. A childhood. I am very lucky in this; my parents were never pushy with what they wanted me to do, but they put just enough pressure on me not to give up, and achieve my full potential. I have always been a fighter, and I have fought for my dreams with tooth and nail. And look at me now; I am exactly where I wanted to be 5 years ago. Hard work pays off.
Albeit all this pressure, so many humans still flourish to their full potential. Look at all the writers, artists, teachers, doctors, policemen, drivers; they aren't perfect by any means, but they made their life into something wonderful, despite the competition and oftentimes, against the odds.
So, I have a little challenge for each of you. It seems a little bit childish, but I find it terribly useful at times, when I feel that I don't deserve the life I have. Try to list at least one positive thing about yourself whenever you feel that you are nothing but a pile of useless atoms. Remember, we are children of the stars, you will never just be a pile of useless atoms, okay? Millions of years ago, parts of you were probably a wondrous planet, and other parts of you were unforgettable constellations. And other parts were just rocks. But rocks are cool, ask any geologist. You will never 'just' be.
I am still not comfortable with myself most of the time. I have spotty skin with large pores, too much fat around my stomach, my thighs meet, I have cellulite, I have a double chin, I failed an exam, I have thin hair, I am bossy, I am annoying, sarcastic, snarky.
But you know what? I am also very forgiving. I have nice eyebrows and a nice eye colour. I am smart, I am ambitious. I am kind and helpful and there is nothing I wouldn't do for my friends. I may not have the body I want, or be as intelligent as I would hope I was, but I deserve to be happy. Just the way I am. So I will continue to try and get over my own inhibitions and things I hate about myself, because I know I can do it. If I encounter setbacks, well, Rome wasn't built in a day.