Today is the first day of summer and guess what is on my mind? It is not the fortune of having incredibly beautiful weather or the sweet freshness of snacking on Michigan cherries or even the enjoyment of partaking in a wine festival with lovely people surrounding me. No, my mind is too consumed with myself. My mind is noticing the slight peeling on my legs from last weekend’s sunburn and focusing on how I’ll never be that sun-kissed tan girls desire. It is cringing at my size compared to the women walking by and analyzing every inch of my body with skepticism. It’s criticizing every movement I make, every step I take, and every thought I have. No, my first day of summer has not been one of relaxation and excitement… but I do not plan for any other day of the year to be like this.
In the past, I was really terrible to myself and relentlessly compared myself to others. No matter how many times I read or heard about how food or lovable I was, I didn’t believe it. Then I met people who helped me to see the person I truly was and I began to love myself. That was a changing point in my life.
Now I’ve dipped a toe into the waves of depression and I hate the coldness of its bitter lapping. Even though all those who helped turn me around are no longer in my life (at least not in a capacity more than weekly texts), it is time for me to love myself again.
Gone are the days when I meticulously look for evidence that I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, and that I’m not living up to my full potential. I can’t hate myself into a version of myself I can love. A happy life does not work with this kind of thinking. So next time I begin to feel there is something wrong with me — that I’m not in the type of relationship others of my age are, that I don’t have a certain amount of money in my savings account, that my social circle is ridiculously small, or that I don’t look or act a certain way in the presence of other — I’m going to remember these few key facts as to why I am more than good enough to love.
- My mind is the best liar in the business.
I’m considering getting the quote “Don’t believe everything you think.” tattooed on my forearm so every time I look down I’m reminded of this powerful consideration. I mean, seriously, take those five words to heart; thoughts are just thoughts. It is unhealthy and physically draining to give so much power to the negative ones!
When my mind begins to wander and wonder at possibilities that have no grounds (or are the exact opposite of what I have been told) I am going to reply, “No.” No to the lies and the late-night worries. Instead I’ll focus on what I do know for sure and the positivity in my life.
- There is more right with me than there is wrong.
I tend to magnify my perceived flaws and cast them on my entire self without even considering all the things I do like about myself. My biggest distress is with my appearance. My skin is too pale, my teeth are too small, my arms are not lean enough, etc. So when I look in the mirror and see a lot of disgust, I’m going to change my outlook and name five things I enjoy about myself.
- Focus on progress rather than perfection.
This goes along with number 2 in regards to playing heavily upon my appearance and lack of self esteem. However, I have made huge strives of progress. No one is going to be perfect and it is ridiculous that I continually stress myself out aiming to be so! I mean, I exercise every day, eat healthy with still enjoying my life, and I have lost 60 pounds in two years. Stop downgrading your success, Ash!
Outside of looks, I am quite the perfectionist in all aspects of my life. One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the need to get everything exactly right. I strive for perfection and success, and when I fall short I feel less than worthless. So instead of berating myself for messing up and stumbling backwards, I am going to give myself a pat on the back for making an attempt and coming as far as I have. Not everyone is willing to continuously put themselves out in the world to try to succeed, and it is amazing that I keep doing so regardless of how many times I fail.
- The people I compare myself to compare themselves to others also.
A friend once told me this, and it never really hit home with me until right now. (As I sit at compare myself to every person walking by, have you…) Everyone compares themselves to other people, especially now with social media allowing such ridiculous claims or wealth and health and high-end living to be circulated throughout the globe. It’s smart to remember that the people who seem to have it all actually do not though.
- Sometimes being annoyingly simple is best.
I love being a complex person. I like thinking about others rather than just myself all the time, I like having a busy schedule and partaking in life on a daily basis, I like throwing myself out into the world and learning new concepts and ideals.
However, sometimes being annoyingly simply is okay. I won’t be successful if I keep telling myself I’m a failure, I won’t reach a higher potential by believing I’m not living to my full capacity, and I won’t become more worthy or lovable by saying I’m not. Just be simple, Ashley, and believe in the positives.
The only way to achieve self-love is to love me for me, regardless of who I am, what I look like, where I stand, and even if I know I want to change.
I am a great friend, a passionate worker, a trusting girlfriend, a caring volunteer, and a hard-working individual who goes for what she wants. I am a good person. And being good is enough for me to love.