Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Loving Yourself

You know the drill. Press play and read. 

Today I'm 23 years, 3 months, and 5 days old. I don't know how many minutes or days that is but I've learned one thing during that time. 

Life is hard. 
Like, really hard. 

And lately I've had a really crappy time dealing with how hard life is. How hard it is to have a job that is far less than what I dreamed. How hard it is to fight for a relationship and for a person I care about with all my heart. How hard it is to drift further and further from friends who used to be an integral part of my life. How hard it is to keep my head up amid all the challenges and changes. 

I've been battling some pretty intense feelings of inadequacy and self doubt lately. Sometimes I feel like a failure. Sometimes I feel unloveable. Sometimes I feel worthless. Sometimes I feel like my life is never, ever going to look up.

But this week I had a few experiences that helped remind me what's important in life.

It all started on Wednesday when I stumbled upon Dove's Love Your Curls campaign. As a natural curly haired girl, I curiously watched Dove's video, which said that only 4 in 10 girls like their curly hair. 

I used to be one of those 4 in 10 girls. I grew up hating my curly/wavy/untamable hair. It was frizzy and messy and different and all I knew was that it didn't look anything like other girls' hair. I longed for silky smooth, stick straight hair. The kind you see in movies and in magazines and pretty much everywhere. So I straightened my hair every. single. day. 
Then one day I got fed up with the 2-hour daily beauty routine. I stopped straightening my hair. And it was terrifying. What would people think of the real me? 

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I sat in a house in Heber, situated among about 60 other young people. I held a blank plaster mask of my face and was instructed by our guest speaker (a psychiatrist) to write all the things I show to the world on the outside of the mask. Then, to write all the things I hide from people on the inside. 

I was surprised how easily the words came to me. Within 20 minutes the outside and inside of my mask were covered. 

As I sat there reading the words I wrote, I felt a sudden wave of embarrassment. What if someone saw what I wrote? What if they made fun of what I thought of myself? What if they didn't agree? What if everyone around me thought I was stupid? I shielded my mask from the other people milling about. I couldn't let them see the real me. I couldn't let them in. I couldn't risk rejection.

Then it dawned on me. 

It doesn't matter if other people agree with me. It doesn't matter what other people think of me. It doesn't matter if other people accept or reject me. All that matters is that I agree with myself. What I think of myself. That I accept and love myself. 

I think there's this epidemic among millennials where we place so much of our self worth in other people's hands. We let our Twitter followers and Klout scores determine our happiness. We rely on our friends to validate how great we are.  We wait for the perfect job and the perfect relationship to make us truly happy.

Which is the stupidest thing ever. 
Just like I got fed up straightening my hair every single day in high school, this weekend I got fed up worrying about other people's expectations. Just like I got tired of hiding my real hair, I've grown weary of fretting over how much other people love me. 

So I've decided to start loving myself. 
I've decided to start loving my crazy, curly, wavy, untamable hair.
My muscular thighs and big butt that took thousands of squats and hundreds of hours on the tennis court to build.
 My brown eyes that most of the time wish they were hazel.
My need to relax and recharge completely alone.
My love for serving other people and helping others even when they resist.
My fondness for cheesy soap operas like One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights.
My strange obsession with finding the perfect song to go with every blog post.
My meager social media following.
My drive to advance myself in my career and build a successful future. 
My love for good company and conversation.
My tendency to over-plan and over-analyze. 
My insatiable desire to travel the world. 
My obsession with cowboy boots and leggings.
My inability to not worry about the future. 
My desire to be blissfully, eternally happy. 
You, too, should jump for joy
Life is scary. It's hard and painful and I can't blame anyone for wanting to hide under a rock for the rest of forever. But we can all make it a heck of a lot less scary by loving ourselves. By accepting who we are and letting the world see us as we really are. 

I'll be the first to admit that letting people see who we really are is terrifying. After all, what if they don't like the real me? But the truth is, it doesn't matter if anyone likes the real you. All that matters is that you like the real you. I think if we could all love and accept the real us, the world would be a happier place. A more content place. So what are we waiting for? 

Let's all go be happy. 
Dat hair doe. 

1 comment: