Life is an endless comparison of one’s self to other people.
Take me for instance, an eighteen-year-old girl who faster spends money on clothes and makeup than on groceries. While I claim not to be vain in person, my concern with appearance speaks otherwise. In fact, one of my greatest weaknesses is comparing myself to other people. I see a girl with a cute small nose and suddenly, my nose is too big. I see someone with blue eyes and wish that I could replace my brown ones. I watch someone excel at whatever talent they possess and I berate myself for not having taken something up at a younger age, for not having tried harder. The cold truth is, I’ve never been entirely fond of myself. Though on occasion I can exude a fair amount of confidence, there have been stretches growing up in which I was extremely insecure. Various factors played their part including jealousy, criticism, insecurity, validation and quite likely, my own mental health.
I looked at the girls around me, ones I saw everyday, ones I passed on the street, even ones I saw in magazines and on TV and I picked myself apart. Wishing I looked a certain way, wondering what it felt like to get so much attention from guys, hating myself for not being more confident. I only started to realize recently however, that there’s nothing I can do about the way I look. I’m not about to magically become a different person just because I’ve put so much energy into wishing I could right? Right. This, I’ve thought to myself, is a rather troubling fact…to which there’s really only two solutions.
1) Recreate a version of yourself and love that version.
2) Learn to love yourself as you are now.
Of course I considered the former first.
The concept of solution 1 is that a person can create their own appearance, meaning that confidence can be made of one’s own will. Basically if I always wished I had blonde hair (and I did) then I could fix that by dying my hair blonde (which I did). The same rule would apply to other cosmetic changes such as buying certain types of makeup, wearing different clothes, contouring your face, wearing coloured eye contacts and even plastic surgery. The obvious problem with this solution is money, because as glamourous as it sounds, there are very few of us who can actually afford expensive makeup, much less a nose job. I mean really, if plastic surgery was free everybody would be taking advantage of it, even the people we were modelling our cosmetic changes after in the first place.
So then there’s the latter.
I’ll admit wrapping your head around the concept of solution 2 is much more difficult. It is however the route that I’ve decided to take and while I struggle with it everyday, I think it’s the best way to go. For me, the first step to genuinely liking myself better was to stop hating myself for who I was in the past. My logic is that if you can accept that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be in this moment in your life, then you have no other choice but to forgive every decision you’ve ever made, both good and bad, because those are the decisions that got you to where you are. To put it plainly, we are who we are and there’s nothing we as humans can do about that besides love ourselves. Though it’s obviously not that easy, you can at least be assured that you are better off loving yourself than hating yourself, since hating, really doesn’t get you anywhere.
I personally found that I was becoming more successful when I was able to make impulsive decisions for myself without regretting them. For me this was cutting my hair after years of wishing it could be longer, getting a tattoo on my ankle and buying a pair of boots I’m not entirely in love with but decidedly, must have bought for a reason.
As my own worst enemy, I’ve been battling with myself for years and the only way I can win now is if I do away with self hatred altogether and learn to love who I am.