One of the biggest regrets of my high school career is not loving myself. I spent all of my time in high school believing that my self-worth was completely based on what others' perceptions were of me. I thought that I wasn't worth a single thing because other people didn't think of me as attractive. It seemed like everyone else was getting into relationships while I just wasn't. This not only affected my mental health, but it affected my physical health, as well. I started to gain weight and my depression started to make me break out constantly, and I was even starting to lose my hair.
I was wrong, though.
I look back at how I felt in high school and think, "Wow, I was being so ridiculous." The truth is, my worth was not based on what others thought of me, but rather how much I wanted to be worth.
One of the biggest problems I see in teenage girls is they can't look in the mirror and see how amazing they truly are. This is usually because a popular guy called them fat or because they aren't what society tells them they should be.
So, how can teenage girls feel like they're worth it when it seems the whole world, and themselves, are tearing them down?
For me, going to college made me realize that changing my mindset and taking care of myself is the answer. These are the steps that I took in order to learn how love myself, even when I was convinced no one else did.
1. I learned something new.
When I distracted myself and focused on learning a new task, in my case taking classes at college and watching makeup videos online, I didn't have time to look at myself and point out my flaws. I was a lot more concerned on educating myself on political science and psychology.
2. I met new people.
While it was people not liking me that brought me down before, the one thing that helped me the most was making new friends. When I was in high school, I had a very small group of friends that was constantly changing with differing schedules. The people that I went to high school with were also the same ones I had known from elementary school. There was no chance of being friends with certain people unless I had been since I was a kid. College introduced me to so many new people that helped me realize that there really isn't anything wrong with me. I just happen to not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay.
3. I took time for myself.
One major mistake I made in high school was I tried too hard to constantly do things with others. I only ever thought I could have fun if other people have fun with me. Quickly, though, I learned that having fun by myself is just as great. Taking time for myself and breaking away from others for a bit at a time made me appreciate myself a lot more.
4. I pushed myself harder.
I didn't have a job and didn't try in school before I got to college. I claimed that I was constantly applying to places, but I actually only had applied to three and didn't get calls back from any of them. School was also just too hard for me, and I took an AP class my senior year that was dragging me down. Everyone else was getting A's and had one or two jobs. It made me feel incompetent. I just ended up giving up before I could even complete things halfway. When I graduated, though, I knew I wanted to do better for myself and I wasn't going to give up this time. I picked up two jobs and I'm going to school full-time. Sure, it's hard and a lot of work and time, but I feel so much better about myself. I pushed myself and have reached multiple goals, which has opened the door for more goals.
5. I faked it until I made it.
Everyday, I still look at myself and see problems. My body image problems, anxiety, and depression are never going to go away. I'm always going to have those issues. Trying my best to change my negative thoughts into positive ones has made things better, though. Before, I didn't stop myself when I would look in the mirror and see myself as an ugly pig. I would continue harassing myself mentally to the point where I would either hurt myself or start violently crying to the point of becoming sick. I was awful to myself, and would constantly repeat hurtful things I heard or seen others say.
I can't say that I am completely 100 percent in love with every inch of me, because I'm not. I still see my flaws when I look in the mirror. I still think to myself, "This isn't right, I'm not worth it, and this is all going wrong in my life." The difference is, I don't let myself dwell on those thoughts anymore. I don't allow myself to dive into a pit of despair and desperation. I tell myself, "Hey, you might have a snaggletooth and acne, but they make you beautiful." It's usually a lie I tell myself. Faking my confidence, and telling myself that I look good no matter what, helped me build confidence.
People still to this day say I'm a different person than what I was my freshman year of high school. I'm happier, more confident, and I have motivation. In ways, I guess I am different. But, I'd like to say I'm the same exact person. I just learned to love myself just a little bit more.