Who do you love and appreciate most in your life? Family, friends, celebrities, and your personal role models probably come to mind first… but what about yourself? Do you truly love yourself for who you are, and not how you want others to see you? This has a little to do with humility, and a lot to do with what constitutes true and honest values towards personal identity.
You’ve heard it all before, about loving yourself and not letting others change your perceptions of yourself. Easier said than done. We are all capable of putting up a façade of complacency and coolness in regards to how we view ourselves, but let’s not play around. What others think of us matters, and this affects how we feel about ourselves.
Learning to love yourself takes time and effort and is probably still ongoing for us all. The process is different for everyone, although it usually involves discovering and embracing what you enjoy most. That was certainly the case for me, and it’s only been a recent occurrence in my life.
I was (and still am) a quiet individual, so I didn’t get as involved in school as I would’ve liked. My childhood was happy, but not very exciting—lots of video games, comic books, and creative expression. However, this lifestyle didn’t completely satisfy me. I saw my friends play sports and go on exciting vacations while I was stuck doing the same old stuff. What I loved to do just didn’t seem like it was enough, which made me doubt myself. Attempting to compensate through name-brand clothing and a cocky attitude didn’t help much either. I didn’t appreciate who I truly was, but who I thought that I wanted to be.
Although I don’t accept everything about myself completely, as there are always aspects of ourselves that we can improve, I do appreciate the strengths of my character. Through volunteer opportunities and roles of responsibility, I learned to exercise my creativity and my desire to make the world a little bit better. Although I enjoy quiet time, getting involved in the community taught me that I was more capable than I realized. This newfound confidence allowed me to explore more international experiences and challenge myself.
Learning to love yourself starts when you accept your weaknesses. I’m skinny, awkward, geeky, pretty weird… but I’m okay with those traits, because they define who I am right now. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to improve, but I recognize that I can embrace my quirks and still achieve success. I love myself—moderately, of course. I know that I’m unique and have important ideas and skills to offer.
That can be for you as well. If you recognize your own faults but still challenge yourself in spite of them, then you deserve to be proud of yourself. Get involved, embrace your passions, and you will be rewarded. Love others, and you will be loved… but learn to love yourself, too.