I had a revelation my 20's.
I have always been sure of who I am. I like who I am. I've always known my strengths & where I can be stronger. But I realized in my late 20's that I had self-esteem & body issues. I didn't compare myself to other people and wasn't jealous of what other people had - height, hair, shape, I was just straight hating on myself.
I didn't like my shoulders because they were too small and would never wear tank tops. I didn't like my feet and would never wear open toed shoes, sandals or flip flops. My knees and ankles...a little plump. Up to this point, nobody had said anything to me about any of that. I just didn't like them.
One day I was standing in my closet having a mental breakdown over my plump ankles when I realized that I was setting my daughter up for failure. She wasn't even 1 yet and I knew I was failing her because I could not get over those stupid ankles. I realized that I could not teach her to love herself if I didn't know how to love myself. And honestly, I didn't even have to love my ankles, shoulders, knees, feet and whatever else... I just needed to learn to accept them.
Thus started my journey to self acceptance, self love and self empowerment. I know that sounds all hippy, sunshine and unicorns. It wasn't. It was hard.
Everyday I would look myself in the eye (in the mirror. Anything else would be weird) and tell myself what I loved about me. I started with the things I truly liked - my personality, my eyes, my neck..After a while, I added in those things I didn't appreciate so much. There were plenty of times I felt like I was lying to myself but at some point, my mind shifted and I started to accept my body.
It was probably 6 months later when my nephew (who I love with all my heart) said to me, "Auntie! Why are your knees smiling at me? I see it's dimples!" Ok. Now...my knees weren't THAT bad. But I didn't cry. I didn't explode. I laughed. My feelings weren't hurt. I realized that my nephew, the neighbor, whoever, did not get to dictate my feelings to me. They did not put food on my table, clothes on my back, pay my bills, clean my house or take care of my kids. My knees, feet, shoulders did not, would not ever define who I am. Nobody can do that but me. I define who I am!
I know it is hard at times to look at ourselves and see our flaws as beautiful. But they are. They make us unique. I know it is hard sometimes to lock out the voices in your head that tell you you aren't enough - not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough. But you have to try because I am here to tell you that your self esteem is directly linked to the future you.
What you leave high school with is what you are taking into your adult life. What you are struggling with now, you will struggle with later if you don't deal with whatever it is. Lack of self esteem can leave you too paralyzed to chase your dreams because you're too busy telling yourself that you aren't good enough to can't reach your goals. Lack of self love can leave you bitter and angry because you're too busy watching & wanting what everyone else doing or has. Lack of self awareness can leave you curled up the fetal position somewhere because you can't see your potential.
Do NOT do that to yourself. Start your journey now. Learn to love yourself now. Learn to accept your flaws now so that your future can be can be everything you want it to be.
Know that in this crazy world I SEE you. You are important. You are loved. You are an original. And as my sister tells me - YOU ARE WORTHY!
Trust me on this.
your short wearing,
flip flop wearing,
tank top wearing photographer.