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I'm Starting to Find My Self-Love and I Want You to As Well

"When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me."

By Liz ShannonPublished 7 years ago 4 min read

Self love is something I've struggled with my whole life. I’m loud and opinionated, but the real problem lies in my weight. I’ve never been a skinny person, not since I gained over 100 lbs in the third grade when I hit puberty (a loaded sentence, I know). My perfect mother raised me saying things like “Are you sure you really want to eat tonight?” to her 8 year old daughter about to eat her dinner and whispering to me behind closed bedroom doors: “You know, there are places where you can get help Elizabeth, to fix your… problem.” Now, I’m not going to just sit here and blame my mother and complain about her and rehash every awful thing that ever happened to me and talk about how awful it was, but I won’t say she didn’t have a part in it either. My mother damaged me, the kids at school damaged me, and I suppose that I did, in fact, damage myself as well somewhere along the way. Most of this is the aftermath of myself.

After being told every day that I was annoying or I was too loud or I was too fat, that’s when my self love truly became a problem, because it didn’t exist. I found myself taking all the things that were said to me to heart; I walked hunched over, trying to make myself as small as possible (if you don’t want to be seen, maybe you won’t be), I didn’t wear anything that wasn’t baggy and long sleeved and black. I thought that if anyone ever had the misfortune of noticing how fat and ugly I was, I would be ridiculed, I would have tomatoes thrown at me, I would have to die. I would cry at night, wishing for my pot belly to go away, for smaller thighs, to be shorter… the list went on and on. This became the theme of my life.

I didn’t realize until very recently that this was when my depression began. There I was, 8 years old, depressed, and hating myself; I was a pretty pathetic picture.

As you could probably imagine, this mindset followed me throughout my childhood, growing and changing with me as I finished elementary school, entered middle school with meaner kids and a harsher mom (what’s a tween without a mother to complain about), and high school. Suddenly, everyone was wearing leggings with everything. It was a trend I wanted to follow, but didn’t know how to adapt it to the strict clothing guidelines I had given myself. So I threw it out the window. I found myself walking through the doors of my high school, hands shaking and breaking out in a cold sweat, wearing leggings and a Panic! at the Disco t-shirt. And no one noticed. No one made fun of me, no one threw any tomatoes, no one told me to die; I didn’t even get a second glance. That was the turning point for me; I might not be as entirely awful as I had thought my whole life.

Why am I writing this, you may be asking yourself. Why is this girl sharing this for the world to read, does she want sympathy? Is this a call for help?

I don’t want your sympathy, and no, I don’t need help. Or maybe I do. I don’t know. But I’m sharing my story as inspiration; I hope that someone will read this and find their reason to work towards self-love, I’m hoping that someone will find their own story in mine, I want to be an outstretched hand.

I want you to try and find it, your self-love. It’s freeing and empowering and makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. I can’t tell you that you’re going to have as “eureka!” of a moment as I did, but I can give you some tips that might help you:

  1. When you wake up in the morning, say “I love myself.” Do it again when you go to bed. Do it as frequently as you can.
  2. Every time you catch yourself in critique, counteract every negative statement with a different compliment.
  3. Hug yourself.

I’m slowly finding my own self love. It appears at odd times: when I’m walking through the grocery and I catch a reflection of myself in a cooler, or when I’m heading to class and I remember the cute outfit I’m wearing and I walk just that little bit taller. It doesn’t come to you all at once, you don’t wake up one morning and can suddenly see how beautiful you are; it’s a slow painful process. Last week, I bought my first shirt that wasn’t two sizes too big; this week I hid in baggy sweatshirts. Self-love doesn’t always stay once it comes. It comes and goes like the tide. I wish I could tell you there was some day that the tide would come in and stay in, but I don’t know. I still have more bad days than good days, but I’m learning that that’s okay too. Self-love is important, please take the time out of your life to find it, hone it, and embrace it. It’s an empowering thing, and it’ll change your life.

self care

About the Creator

Liz Shannon

Student. Fangirl. Aspiring screenwriter.

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    Liz ShannonWritten by Liz Shannon

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