The Small Victories in Self-Love

I’ve been trying to figure out where to even begin with this for over a day. I just can’t seem to find the right words. Ironic, considering my own personal journey with self-love. It hasn’t been easy and it’s nowhere near over but I’ve noticed hints of progress, in the smallest parts of my life.

For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with self-confidence, I’m not really sure where it stems from, it’s kind of always been there. Creeping up on me, unsuspectingly. I notice it in the photographs where I appear slouched over and in social situations, among a group of people I know and love, I seem to shrink into myself, unintentionally. I’m an ambivert, an extroverted introvert, so my desire for a limited amount of attention, but attention nonetheless, may play a role here.

My self-conscious habits weave their way into my everyday life making me hyper-aware of myself and the people around me. I criticize everything even down to the minor details: my outfit, the way my makeup turned out, the way others interact with me, even the way I messily string my words together. Nothing I do or say goes unnoticed...by me. I am, however, incredibly good at faking it. I’m friendly by nature and wanting to befriend almost everyone around me aids in my ability to cover up my own insecurities. If I vibe with you through a flow of genuine conversation, my shell peels itself back a bit and any hint of discomfort begins to fade, slightly. It becomes less obvious to the naked eye, although still present.

Looking back, over the last few years I don’t know what it was that made me recognize these habits but I will say DOY played a big part. I was welcomed into a community of uplifting, encouraging, dream chasers and it was inspiring to even be considered a part of it at all. Cydney’s empowering message of self-care and self-love on the journey towards your dreams really struck a chord with me. I became actively involved in #selfworthwednesday, striving to get the message of the love you owe to yourself to anyone that would listen, especially those struggling with the image they constructed of themselves. The girls and the community gave me an outlet where I felt less alone and I wanted to be that kind of light for others who needed it. Knowing you’re not alone in your struggles is one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

I began speaking outwardly not only on Wednesdays but on days I felt particularly down and on days I noticed friends of mine needed words of encouragement. I like to call them positivity rants and in the process of trying to help heal other people, I began to heal little by little myself. I do have moments where I feel a little less intimidated by the world around me, and I bask in those moments. Growing up I was never a fan of parties. I’m still not, but the difference between 13-year-old me and 24-year-old me is that I feel so much freedom in running onto the dance floor when my favorite song comes on. I dance with abandon and without shame because everyone looks silly and no one is working with choreography. It’s such a small improvement but it’s one I’m immensely proud of and a small victory is a victory regardless.

Self-love is a process, and everyone’s journey is different. I am still striving towards a happier relationship with myself, it’s an everyday practice that requires intention.  You have to recognize the negative and learn to combat it. Some days you beat it and others you don't’. It’s not about bad days vs. good days, though. It’s about the fact that you are still here and you are still working on you.

 

If I'm not sitting in front of my laptop typing out the next great American novel then you'll probably find me curled up in bed devouring a book. I grew up in a ballet studio finding it best to express myself through the graceful movement. I'm currently trying to live up to Taylor Swift's ideal image of what 22 should look like while encouraging others to follow their dreams.  A successful night for me is fulled with good food, laughter, conversations about everything and nothing, and did I mention food? I'm at my happiest singing along to my favorite songs with artists that inspire me, opening my heart up on stage and having meaningful conversations with good friends.