Self-love is something I, like many others, struggle with. I nit-pick constantly and focus heavily on the negative aspects. I criticse my appearance multiple times a day and tear myself down because I convince myself I’m not a good person. Finding anything positive to say about myself is a constant struggle. I’m not only my own worst critic, but I’m also the biggest bully I’ve ever had to face.
Finding something positive to say about myself shouldn’t be this difficult. I want to love myself more. I deserve to love myself more. However, as I’m still in the very early stages of my self-love journey, I still doubt that I’ll ever get to a place where I do love myself. At this point, I’d settle for simply being content.
No one is going to be able to help me on this journey. I have to put in the work myself and that means I have to put the effort in to speak positively about myself. I’m never going to be able to love myself, or to be content with myself, if I’m constantly tearing myself down. So I’ve decided to start with a list of five things that I like about myself. I think that’s a pretty decent starting point.
I’m going to be pretty straight with you: I adore my hair. Well, most days. It is long and it is thick which is both a blessing and a curse. On the days when it co-operates with me, I absolutely love it. It’s long and flowy and fun to play around with. I get complimented on my hair often. The bad hair days (and, believe me, there are a lot) make me want to rip my own hair out. Or, at the very least, chop it off for a dramatic cut that I’m too much of a coward to actually go through with. But, for the most part, I love it.
I often get called sensitive. More often than not, it’s used to tear me down. And I allowed people to do that because I saw it as a weakness to be as empathetic as I am. I feel not only my own emotions very strongly but I’m also attuned to the emotions of the people around me. This is a side effect of my social anxiety disorder, where one slight change in someone’s tone of voice or body language sends me into a spiral. Having social anxiety disorder also means, for me, that I’m more cautious about hurting other people. I always think about how I would feel in those situations if the roles were reversed. I used to hate being empathetic but I’m learning to embrace it and think it’s one of the best things about me.
My sense of humour
My boyfriend would disagree with me here but I actually think I have a wickedly fun sense of humour. I love telling bad jokes, dad jokes, kids jokes, and making puns out of everything. The worse the joke is in quality (i.e. a dad joke), the better and funnier I think they are. People will roll their eyes when I make one of these jokes but I always see their lips curl up into a small smile as they try to resist laughing. I get my sense of humour from my dad and we’re constantly bouncing jokes between each other. If you ever need a bad joke to impress a crowd, I’m your gal!
Six years ago, I could barely make eye contact with another person. I couldn’t speak to anyone I didn’t know without crying and leaving my house took strict planning so as to avoid a panic attack. So much has happened in my almost twenty-six years of life, from mental illnesses to physical illnesses and complex relationships. Each time I don’t think I’m strong enough to cope, I prove myself wrong each time. I am strong and I need to start remembering this when my brain tries to convince me otherwise.
Okay, confession: I don’t like my smile. I was once told I had an ugly smile by a member of my family when I was about sixteen and I’ve been self-conscious of it ever since. So while I don’t love my smile, I’ve slowly started to accept it is what it is. I’m working on smiling more because, well, why shouldn’t I? While I’m not comfortable with smiling with my teeth showing, 2020 has actually seen me learn to become okay with smiling with my mouth closed. I might even go so far as to say that I like smiling.
So there you have my list of five things I like about myself. I’m not ashamed to admit it took me a long time to write this list and I even had to ask my partner what he loves about me in the hopes of gaining some inspiration (to which he gave me the cop out answer of ‘I love all of you.’) Just having a list of five things I like about myself (because liking myself is all I can manage right now) is helping me on what I imagine is going to be a life-long journey to fully accepting and loving myself for exactly who I am.