When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you ever really look at yourself? Are you proud of the person you’ve become or do you see a work in progress? Do you see years of mistakes and bad choices or have you forgiven yourself for not being perfect? No one is perfect, you know. Do you see silky smooth skin or years of hard-earned laugh and frown lines? Oh, the stories those fabulous lines could tell. Psst…. you’re beautiful, you know. Not all of us are beautiful compared to the current impossible, Photoshopped, injected, nipped/tucked beauty standards but we all are in our own way. Do you believe that? Do you know that you’re beautiful? Can you tell yourself that?
When you look in the mirror, do you hear any negative tapes begin to play in your head? You aren’t pretty enough. Your nose is too big. Your eyes are too small. Your forehead is too wide. Your chin is pointy. You could stand to lose a few pounds. Your hair is the wrong color. Whose voice is that? Is it yours? Is it a parent’s/ex’s/bully’s/frenemy’s/ or a combination of all of the above? Who first told you that you weren’t good enough? Or pretty enough? Or thin enough? Or enough? Who the hell were they to tell you that? Why did you believe them? Why did you let their voice become that voice in your head telling you that now? Why didn’t you just chalk up their opinion to being invalid and forget it?
In order to ever feel love, real love, it has to start with you loving yourself. You can have friends, family, or a loved one that treats you like you are precious and special. But, if you don’t believe that you are precious and special, you will never really believe anything they say. You will constantly seek attention, adoration, and validation from other people but it will never be enough. You’ll want more, more, more but it will never give you what you seek. No one else can make you happy if you aren’t happy. Their words will feel good for a moment and then they will ring hollow. It will be like filling a bottomless pit. Until you learn to love yourself, you will never feel worthy of love, therefore, your heart will be a black hole. Loved ones may try to fill it but their compliments, love, adoration and affection will fall right through. The key to filling that hole is learning to love yourself. You must believe that you are precious. You are beautiful. You are worthy. Stop playing those negative tapes in your head from those who did not have your best interests’ in mind. You will eventually realize that you don’t need validation from others. While it’s nice to hear compliments, you can have faith in yourself so you don’t put so much stake in what others think of you. It doesn’t mean being cocky or thinking that you’re better than anyone else. It means really knowing that you have value. You deserve to feel loved and that starts with you.
This can be especially hard to do if you’re in a relationship that isn’t healthy. If someone is constantly making you feel inferior, it’s definitely hard to work on your self-esteem. When someone takes every opportunity to point out your flaws, call you names, or tear you down when you’re feeling good about yourself, it can be pretty devastating. But, you have the power when it comes to how you allow people to treat you. If you have those in your life who are mean to you, why are you allowing them to be there? What is their motivation when they tear you down? Are they doing it to control you? Are they doing it to make themselves feel superior? It doesn’t really matter. You deserve to be treated with kindness. You teach others how to treat you. Teach them to treat you with love and respect.
Are you a kind person? Don’t you deserve to be treated the same way? Would you say the things you say to yourself to anyone else? Treat yourself as you would someone you love. This isn’t an easy place to start. But I promise, if you don’t quite love yourself yet- it will be worth it.
Start by refusing to allow the negative thoughts in your head. Forgive yourself for past mistakes. If you have regrets, apologize to others if necessary. Stop destructive behaviors. Start by accepting that you are a good person, worthy of love, and that you are going to make peace with yourself. Find something positive to tell yourself every day. Do nice things for yourself. Make a list of your good qualities. When others compliment you, don’t dismiss it- simply smile and say, “Thank you.” Once you do these things and realize that you are worthy, you’ll be able to feel love from others so much deeper and richer than ever before. You must start here. If you’re waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’ll be waiting forever. It starts with you. It was always you.