Something that I think every person (and yes, I do mean every person because I think guys struggle with this too at times) has a difficult time with is “loving yourself.” Throughout the course of our lives we hear this expression from our moms, our aunts, on television, in magazines, in books, and elsewhere. But what does this really mean? Sure we can look in the mirror, and say, “good enough,” and move on, but that’s not loving ourselves, is it? In a world that is constantly changing trends, where everyone is supposed to be 5’ 9,” 100 pounds, and gorgeous, it makes loving ourselves pretty difficult if we don’t fit this image. I’ve been on this earth for 18 (almost 19) blissful years, and I’ve only ever felt really confident in the last nine or ten months. For most of my life I wasn’t sure who I was, or who I even wanted to be. I knew I liked to read, and I knew I liked to write, but as far as I knew I was one of the few people around me who thought either of those activities were fun.
Personally, I think middle school and high school are the hardest times to figure out what loving yourself is all about. During those years, people are so segregated into predetermined categories (jocks, preps, popular, weird, nerd, etc.), yet no one at these ages are really 100% sure that they even want to be in their supposed category or if they even actually fit in it. As a society, people feel pressured to fit into the most accepted group because, in reality, the end goal for most people (especially during these six or seven years) is acceptance from their peers.
The thing is, though, that people have varying interests, and sometimes people’s interests don’t fit neatly into one little category that someone else made the criteria for. What does this mean? It means that we don’t have to be in a category because we don’t need the label “jock” or “nerd” or “popular” when instead we can just be “us,” or more specifically, “me” and “you.” Every person is built in a way unique unto himself or herself, and therefore, we should be more accepting of our differences instead of constantly attempting to be clones of “what’s hot.” It’s crazy because we’re all such beautiful creatures, and yet we all want to change something about ourselves, whether it’s our weight, height, nose, hair color, skin tone, etc. I’m not sure why we have this overwhelming need to change who we are, or at least who we look like we are, but I think it’s something that is ingrained in us from day one. I think more people, myself included, need to realize that everyone has something to offer the world, and we just need to figure out what that thing is, and embrace it. But first, we need to be completely happy with who we are, and where we are going. If you don’t like yourself, maybe you should figure out why, and do something about it! Don’t like your stomach? Do some sit-ups before you shower everyday. Don’t like your hair? Dye it. I’m not saying change yourself if you don’t need changing, but I also don’t believe in “embracing” what you really don’t like about yourself if it’s something you could change. What I’m saying is to get a little perspective on whatever it is you don’t like, and find an angle where you are at peace with it.
We are all unique, and it’s time we start loving the flaws that make us individuals. There is no such thing as perfect despite the fact that Photoshop may make us think otherwise. Besides, we can spend our entire lives getting “perfect” on the outside, and realize that in the end, our inside is what we really dislike about ourselves.
It’s difficult to love ourselves every single day because we all make mistakes and do things we are not proud of, but making mistakes is part of the human process, and it’s these mistakes that can help mold us into the person we are both meant to be and want to be. I think the most important part of the whole “loving yourself” thing is that you have faith in yourself, and that you accept and embrace your differences, because it’s your differences that you’ll be remembered for, not your commonalities. Personally, I would rather be remembered as “Callie the reader, writer, blogger, friend, fashionista, daughter, sister, and jokester” than “Callie the nerd” or “Callie the prep.” I’m not sure what category I would fall in, but I must admit that I’m desperately scared to find out because I’ve spent my life trying to avoid a set category, and I would be highly disappointed with whatever category I was dubbed. So remember this if you remember anything: differences are stronger than similarities, and “if you are lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.” “Be you and be okay with it.” “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” (Wise words from the wonderful world of Pinterest.)