As a kid, I grew up having serious self-esteem issues surrounding my personal appearance. I had extremely greasy hair, severe acne, and was made fun of on a daily basis throughout elementary school. I reached my current height of 5’4 at age 11 and was the tallest girl in my class up until 8th grade. My hormones were all over the place and I was considered weird, unattractive, and awkward for the longest time. My feminine curves didn't fully blossom until the very end of my junior year of high school, but it wasn’t until college, where I began to actively work on myself, trying to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own skin.
I was never one of the ‘cool kids’ or hung out with the popular crowd. I believe this helped me find my own voice in a sea of people who dressed, looked, and acted the same 24/7. It took years for me to grow into myself and accept me for who I was (and am.) It involved a lot of healing and self-compassion, and it's still a work in progress. Back in school, it was all a big popularity contest, not too different from how things are now but I’ve learned to cope with it differently and to give importance to what truly matters.
As such, I wish to share what I’ve learned along the way, hoping it will resonate with you and potentially help you feel more comfortable in the skin you’re in because you are good enough, absolutely beautiful, unique, and completely worth it.
How I Learned to Accept Myself
Self-acceptance is a hard-earned ordeal. I believe I achieved this when I finally stopped looking for things to criticize about myself and began to accept and acknowledge my strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and talents for what they are. When you think about it, the longest relationship you'll ever have is with yourself, so why be so harsh, demanding, and self-critical? It's imperative to recognize how harmful this can be to your morale and overall persona. Being our own worst enemy is not the answer.
When things don’t go as planned or we fail to meet our high
standardsexpectations, our response should be a balanced one. Yes, pushing to deliver your best is a superb quality but life doesn’t always go our way and the best we can do is learn from it. Instead of berating yourself with thoughts of defeat, think for a minute—what would you have told a friend going through a similar situation? Remember, we should always treat ourselves with compassion.
From another angle, the constant flow of media bombards and continuously shoves this idea of the "perfect life" we should be leading. Ugh. Screw that. Choose to understand the world and its realities then go about your life, creating your own set of standards to follow. Don’t let anything or anyone dictate how you’re supposed to be, act, speak, or feel. Celebrate your accomplishments and continue to set the bar high for yourself, taking your personal circumstances into consideration. Life is not a race.
Stop being a people pleaser. The only approval you should seek of is your own. Those who love you and truly wish you well will be there to support you no matter what. Let’s be real, yo.
Practice gratefulness. At times we get so caught up in what is and what isn’t, we end up losing perspective of the bigger picture and fail to see what we have going on for ourselves. Don’t let it get there. Be grateful for what you have, your forthcomings and shortcomings. Everything you’ve experienced till this day has made you who you are and everything you are enduring right now is shaping you up for a better tomorrow.
Dear friend, you hold the key to your happiness. Being comfortable in your own skin is the most liberating feeling I’ve experienced, but again, it's still a work in process. Regardless of, I have gotten better at it and I no longer carry the same burdens I did at a younger age. This has lead me to live a fuller and more meaningful life, built and shaped by authenticity, leaving space for amazing opportunities, moments, and relationships to come in. I welcome you to try this.