A few months ago, for the first time in a very, very long time, I looked at myself in the mirror for more than a couple of minutes. I used to cry every time I saw my reflection, so I figured that it would be best for me if I just stopped looking. Every time I looked at my body, all I saw were my flaws. All I saw were the stretch marks I despised, the scars I longed to cover, the features I could never change.
Honestly, I probably never would have thought to try to learn how to love myself again, if it hadn’t been for my mom. One day, she asked me a very simple question, and yet this question managed to haunt me for months: “What is one thing you like about yourself?” I stayed up night after night, waiting for an answer to magically reveal itself. I realized that I could list a million things about myself that I disliked, things I so desperately wanted to change, but I couldn’t name a single thing about myself that I appreciated. I was really disappointed in myself. Was there not even a single thing that was lovable about me?
I thought about this question for five months straight before I found an answer. I was looking at my hands during class one day, and I realized that I liked the way my left wrist looked when I tilted it a certain way. When I got home that day, I rushed to my room and started a new page in my diary, titled “Things I Like About Myself”, and immediately added my discovery to my list. I was proud of my teeny, tiny list, and to my surprise, it grew faster than I ever could have imagined. Day after day, I found myself returning to my list and adding new traits and characteristics of mine that I took pride in; I started to love my eyes, my bravery, my stomach, my curiosity, my compassion, my wrists (both of them!!).
It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I’ll admit, sometimes it is a very, very difficult thing to do to look at yourself and see a person who deserves love- specifically, your own love. If you are someone who is struggling with your insecurities, I want you to know that you are not alone. But as much as I can tell you that you are beautiful (which you definitely are, you cutie!!!), I can’t force you to believe it. That’s up to you. That’s your choice, but I’m here telling you that you deserve to be loved by someone as amazing as yourself. You are beautiful; this I promise you.
One day, I hope to love every part of me. And every day, I work very hard to bring myself closer to that goal. Every day, I make an active choice to look in the mirror and see someone I love in its reflection.
I challenge you to do the same. Look in the mirror and don’t look away.