Four years ago, I graduated high school. I was beyond ready for college, I had a deep knowing that my life was going to change for the better and that I would become the person I was meant to be. I was unhappy within my own body, home (sometimes), and I thought moving away to college would the catalyst that would change my life for good. Four years ago, I was unhappy in my own skin. And instead of fixing it, I poured a little more self-loathing into my wounds so that they would expand.
Today, I am happier with my body more than I have been ever before. Even though, I am at my highest weight. I am in love with the way that it is able to carry me through workouts that I push myself through. I feel more confident in the clothes I wear, the way I act, and the things I do more than before. But it was a process.
Self-Love is Everything You Already Are
Self-love wasn’t something I thought about too much until it became a huge movement within social media platforms. My version of self-love four years ago was saying that I liked my body but would change this, that, or the other. It was never true. I didn’t really pay attention to my mental health, though it wasn’t a problem then, or my physical health, working out hard for a few days out of spite then stopping. I always imagined my life being better thinner than I currently was.
And although I’ve reached my highest weight, self-love comes a little easier to me now. I’m more patient with myself if I am not doing what I expect out of myself. I am more willing to allow myself to take a break when I feel like I’m hitting a wall. It’s accepting who I am now and making a change not out of spite of who I am or to prove others wrong, but because in the long run, it is better for me.
Self-Love is Patient
Self-love waits usually at the foot of your bed, waiting until you ask for its comfort to jump in between the sheets with you to cuddle. It also knows that reaching for it takes a lot of hard work, so it’s patient with you as your heart continues to grow and expand.
Reaching the point where I am today took years of finding ways to be comfortable in my own skin. I used to feel so gross wearing pretty much anything when I was in high school. I found little things that I’m sure no one noticed into big things that I would focus my attention on. In college, I made a separate effort to dress like I wanted to without thinking about what other people thought. It was probably the most freeing thing because I noticed that I looked damn good. *insert hair flip emoji* Now I have good and bad days. But my bad days are no longer about making me feel bad but about being okay with whatever I am feeling.
Self-Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
Like I’ve mentioned, in my fours years of college, I’ve gained a bit of weight. And I didn’t think much about it or that it was a large amount because I spent most of my life feeling like a balloon. Until I saw my old prom photos. I could barely recognize the person I was and was entirely shocked because I looked nothing of how I look now. But I felt that way back then. I was so insecure in my skin that I would rather be all covered up than exposed. I almost felt like I failed myself.
It’s okay to have some regrets, but it isn’t okay to make yourself feel bad for the things that you didn’t do then. Here and now, we have no control over what did and did not happen. And that has to be okay in order for us to grow and develop. Personally, I don’t know how to forgive myself. It’s an ongoing project. But I do know that I am working on it.
Loving yourself is so hard in a world that doesn’t encourage it. Things happen for a reason and although it may not be the thing you want to hear, it’s true. Had I not gone through my college years the way I have, I may not be here, ready to face the challenge of becoming healthy. It’s okay to make mistakes because it is part of life. The more we beat ourselves up for it, the less we live in the moment we have now.