For the longest time growing up, I wondered when I would finally look in the mirror and think to myself, “You’re the coolest person ever.”
But high school came and went and that moment never happened. I always stood in front of the mirror constantly pointing out what I hated about myself, what I thought was ugly, and compared myself to people around me.
When I got to college, I was thrown into a completely new environment. I left my home state and didn’t know anyone at my new school. I was both scared and excited at this new opportunity to reinvent myself and I thought about who I could be in this new version of myself.
I always wanted to be that cool yet outgoing girl who everyone was friends with. She wasn’t afraid of anyone or any situation and she handled everything with ease. That’s who I wanted to be.
Turns out, it’s not that easy to just write down a few desired characteristics and wake up the next day as a different person.
I walked into my first few classes still just as terrified as usual, riddled with social anxiety, and convinced everyone was judging me for something. But lo and behold, students in my classes were chatty, wanted to make friends, and wanted to get to know me.
I no longer held the label of being “the quiet girl” in high school. Nobody knew who I was! They didn’t have any preconceived idea of my personality or character.
It was a freeing experience. I knew deep down that I wasn’t as quiet as people in high school made me feel. I was constantly compared to my more outgoing and personable twin sister and I never realized how much I lived in her shadow until I got to college.
I took this opportunity not to become someone else, but to finally be myself, the girl who was hiding in my shell for the longest time. It was so exciting exploring my personality and sharing common interests and passions with other students. I was able to meet interesting people from all over the world, who were actually interested in me! Suddenly I felt like such a cool person and it made me wonder why I hadn’t fallen in love with myself before this moment.
Liking yourself doesn’t necessarily come from forcing yourself to “fall in love with your flaws” as so many people preach. It takes time, life experience, and connection with others to realize how you can positively impact those around you.
I’m so much more than my skin condition that makes my skin red and itchy. I’m more than my stretch marks or my cellulite. I’m more than the “quiet girl” in high school.
I can make people laugh, I can make someone feel heard. I can be a shoulder to cry on and I can be someone’s best friend. I began to fall in love with the way I impacted those around me and that is the most beautiful thing anyone can offer. If we’re selfish in this world, we won’t go anywhere.
I began to fall in love with the way I impacted those around me.
Once I realized the beauty of connecting with friends and significant others, I understood that people love you for how you make them feel. They don’t care about your flaws that you obsess about. I suddenly felt so happy and fulfilled with this, that I slowly started to stop caring about what I thought were my “flaws.”
Everything about me, even what I didn’t like, makes me uniquely me. Be proud of that. Be proud that you’re not like everybody else. Enjoy the uniqueness that you bring to the world and let it show through the kindness that you spread to others. Learn new skills, take trips, and experience new things. Become the interesting person that you would want to be friends with. Once you do that, you’ll start realizing just how amazing you really are. It’s a process and it takes time, don’t get me wrong, but you have to allow yourself to explore new parts of your personality. Be patient with yourself and never be self-destructive or degrading in your thoughts. You won’t ever find the quick fix to become self-confident, but you have the power within yourself to start that journey.
- Don’t force yourself to “love your flaws”, it takes time
- Connect with significant others and friends to share your insecurities (the more you embrace them, the less you feel like you have to hide)
- Spread kindness, love, and laughter
- Continuously work on self-improvement in your skills and relationships – be the best you can be!
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”