The last time I wrote a personal blog post the feedback I received was so overwhelming, it's the most proud I have ever felt of my work. Not because my mum told me it was great (which she did, thanks Ma) but because I realised I had tackled an issue that so many of you had been trying to deal with, or it was something that loads of you didn't realise you had been looking for until you read it and found that you needed to apply some of my tips to your own lives and situations.
So I am sitting down again today to discuss something that I have struggled with for so many years and some of the ways I have learned to love myself, 'warts and all' as the common saying goes. This post isn't about me now thinking that I'm the bees knees and absolute perfection - trust me I absolutely do not think that. It's about accepting certain things that I have tried to hide or alter and how I have learned that I am me and that is OK.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
This sounds like such an obvious one but you would be surprised how often we do this without even realising. In todays social media obsessed world, there seems to be some sort of warped competition as to who has the most exciting or interesting life. Everyday I scroll on Instagram to find photos of people on idyllic beaches, or at the cool hang out spots or wearing the most amazing clothes - and I am constantly saying to myself 'why aren't I there' or 'I could never look as cool as that'. STOP RIGHT THERE! You are you and they are them. I found myself comparing my life to others so much that I lost my identity and who I wanted to be because I was so interested in doing what other people were doing and how I could make my life like theirs. First of all, one photos does not show someones life. It is so important to remember that. One photo (most probably a highly edited photo) shows one snapshot of someones life that may well have been carefully thought out and planned and then edited to the nth degree and not actually realistic to what that persons life is like in reality.
TRY NEW THINGS
If you are one of those people who has always known who and what they want to be, then you are incredibly lucky. Most of us will go through that 'trying to figure myself out' phase and that is totally OK. I have experimented with my style, hobbies, foods and interests all throughout my life and have finally discovered the person I feel I am most comfortable being. However, without trying those other things I would never have been able to 'find myself'. Motivate yourself to try out new things and you might be pleasantly surprised. There is no right or wrong way to be the person that you want to be - you just need to have the patience to work it out so that you can go through life being happy, confident and feel free.
ACCEPT YOUR IMPERFECTIONS
This is probably the hardest part in learning to love yourself. We all have flaws, things that we don't particularly love about ourselves and would like to alter if we could. For me it was my hair, I have never dealt with my curly hair too well. Yes it looks pretty in pictures but as I told you in the first step of this process, a photo is just one shot. Actually living and dealing with my curly hair in day to day life is a nightmare. So I decide to straighten it out. Not permanently, just as an alternative to having to wear it curly and feeling a little frustrated with it. I can accept that I won't ever have the type of hair that I look at on other girls and lust over, but that's OK. Because I have learned to deal with it and found ways around it that enable me to be happy an confident in myself whilst still having curly hair (which really is quite a pain - you fellow curly haired girls will understand me!)
DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF
I wish I could be a little person on your shoulder to scream this in your ear when you're having those days where you literally tear yourself apart for not being exactly who or what you want to be. I have spent so long in the past almost being angry at myself for not having myself figured out yet, but there isn't a time limit on finding out who you want to be. You MUST have motivation, yes. But you don't have to have everything figured out just because you're an adult or a young adult in society. I know some people in the 30's and 40's that still have times when they are learning about themselves - and that is totally acceptable. As long as you are on some sort of journey to find it then that is what matters. Stop beating yourself up about things and just let whatever happens happen. If you allow this to happen you will in turn love yourself and enjoy the process of living and growing up so much more.