I’ve had a love-hate relationship with myself for many years. I remember the exact moment when I became conscious of my appearance and wanted to “look good” for others and for myself. It is always good to try to look your best in order to feel your best or to project the best possible image of yourself; however, it becomes a problem when you start obsessing about it. When looking good becomes your number one priority over feeling good, then I think it is time to re-evaluate your life and your goals.
I’ve struggled with an eating disorder, obsessively going to the gym, staring in the mirror for extended periods of time and pointing out every flaw I saw, and I would take pictures to compare myself day to day on physical progress or changes. Looking back at old photos of myself when I was at my lowest weight, I shiver. Back then I thought I was “fat” and needed to maintain the lowest body fat percentage I could. I desperately sought those six-pack abs meanwhile my stomach was sinking into my 5’8 frame. That period of time in my life I was outwardly showing how I felt inside–like I was withering away into the nothingness of my depression. Friends and family were concerned but I shrugged them off. When I finally came to terms with my body and that weighing that low was not a manageable nor healthy for my body, I was able to escape that destructive period. When this was over I had to find a new obsession because if it wasn’t one thing it was another. I loved to pick apart myself at the seams because no one knew my insecurities better than myself. When one part of my appearance became tolerable, I found a new flaw to obsess over. I looked at my outer appearance to try to heal an internal problem I had, so obviously there was a continuous circle of hating myself followed by bouts of narcissism.
I’m not perfect and to this day I still have bouts of extreme self-loathing where I obsess over every little mark on myself. I just need to learn to embrace my entire being, flaws included, so that one day I won’t look at certain things as “flaws” rather than just who I am. I need to continue to try to love myself wholly and fully and overcome my negative thoughts. Once you love yourself, you don’t seek the acceptance of others. Once you are ok with being you and being with yourself, you won’t seek company that is sub-par. You think you are free, but you don’t know freedom until you know unconditional self-love. Find security in your insecurities so that when you think about yourself, you feel completely comfortable being in your own skin. Own yourself by owning your mind. Create a mental environment where when you find yourself trying to put yourself down, you instead raise yourself up. Shut out the negativity by being present. Move forward in your thoughts. Get so far forward that you can’t even remember those negative thoughts. Treat yourself as you would your loved ones. Don’t be your own bully, be your own best friend, the one who sticks up for you on the playground. Falling victim to your thoughts could eventually lead you down the road to depression, if you aren’t there already.
Be mentally strong by not letting the narrator in your head point out every single thing that is wrong or could go wrong. Love yourself. Take this journey with me and feel free to share yours in comments/emails/messages.
Be boldly you.