Hi, I’m Sara and I struggle with self love.
It may not seem like it on the outside. I dare say that many of us actually struggle with some form of self love but we know how to hide it well. I’ve struggled with it for as long as I can remember—not feeling good enough, not feeling like I matter enough, not feeling like I’m enough. Maybe that’s because we live in a world full of comparisons. We compare ourselves to the popular girls or the smart girls or the rich girls. We compare ourselves to those who seem successful or talented, not realizing that we carry our own talents and our own importance.
In the past few years I’ve come to realize how important self love is—at least the practice of it. I don’t know if we ever become perfect at loving ourselves, but we can practice and learn to love ourselves a little better every day.
That’s why I feel so compelled to write and talk about self love, why I like to think of myself as a self-love warrior. As I’ve learned to love myself more, I’ve wanted to share that love with others. I want to help others—you—know how incredibly amazing you are, because I see it. I see your talent, your kindness, your sacrifices, your bravery—things that you may have a hard time seeing in yourself.
This month, I’m focusing on “Love Your Everything,” because even though that can seem a little daunting to take it all in at once and love everything about ourselves, it’s a great introduction to what I want to instill in your mind and my heart. Eventually, we’ll get to a place where we love ourselves a little more, where we see our flaws as good things, to help us grow. Where we see our talents and potential and recognize our divine worth.
All it takes is practice. A little every day. Practice self love so you can come to love your everything.
Here are some stories and thoughts to help inspire you:
Not Good Enough
In high school I tried out for a 1-act play that was meant for a regional competition. When the results of the tryouts came back, I received the role of assistant director, not a roll in the play, just someone to help the director.
The director, my drama teacher, later told me the reason I got the assistant director role was because I was too short to participate in the play. (I’m currently 5’3″; at the time I couldn’t have been much shorter.) This hurt my feelings and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for anything. I wasn’t suited to act, just to be an assistant to the director. I wanted to cry and hide when he said that, especially because he compared me to Danny Devito, and all I could think of was the Penguin in Batman Returns—not pretty.
Even though the director’s words hurt, I embraced the roll of assistant director. It turns out I loved the role. I got to pick music and lighting for the play, which made it a spectacular show. I found I like the idea of directing and even directed a one-scene play later for another competition, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
Love Your Everything—Even Looks?
It’s taken me a long time to think that I’m pretty. I wouldn’t let myself think it for a long time. A few reasons:
In Junior High, I stood in line to get my lunch. The boy behind me called my attention. When I looked at him, he said, “You’re ugly.”
When on a proselyting mission for my church, I showed a picture to another member of my church. The picture was of me with my two younger sisters. The lady I showed the picture to studied it and then said to me, “Your sisters are prettier than you.” n
I didn’t date much in high school—I was maybe asked out once, all other times I asked the guy out. And after high school, same story: very little dating. I was sure it was because I was unattractive. n
I have crooked teeth and an underbite. The teeth are a little better now, not perfect, but better, because of trying one of those mail-in teeth straightening kits. (I don’t recommend it if you have very crooked teeth and bite issues.) Because of this, I was afraid to smile much and felt ugly.
I told myself a lot of stories about why I wasn’t pretty or attractive. In truth, those were obscure comments or thoughts that had nothing to do with how pretty I was. The boy in Junior High was a jerk, not just to me. The woman on my mission didn’t mean I wasn’t pretty. And there were, I’m sure, other factors that contributed to my lack of dates, which doesn’t matter anyway because the perfect guy came along and the rest is history.
Why do I now believe I’m pretty? Honestly, it’s taken practice. I wanted/want to believe I’m pretty. I starting finding things I like about myself. I like my long neck. I like my big, blue eyes. I like my small ears. I like the shape of my head.
Instead of trying to find fault and things I didn’t like about myself, I worked to find things I do like about myself. And eventually that list grew.
Another thing I think that has contributed to love for my looks: I embrace my beauty by styling myself in a way that makes me feel good about myself.
Practice Self Love: Love Something about Yourself
Over the years I’ve had other experiences that have made me feel “not enough.” I’ve experienced mean comments or actions by others that made me feel not pretty enough or not smart enough or not strong enough or not good enough. I let those comments and actions become my story.
But here’s the thing, even when I have felt “not enough,” I have still loved certain aspects of myself. I’ve always loved writing and have kept up with it off and on for years. I love that I like to try new things. I love that I like to read. I love that I am an older sister. I love that I like to play board games. I love that I like the outdoors and camping and the ocean.
Part of loving your everything is practice. It’s like I said above about not feeling pretty. I’ve come to see my unique beauty because I’ve practiced telling myself a different story. And it wasn’t all at once. It was little by little—appreciating something about myself, then another, then another.
Things you can start to appreciate about yourself:
The way you talk to others-—kind, with a listening ear
Your love of animals
The way you drive
Your ability to cheer others up
Your sense of humor
Your love for sports
The way you smile
Your talent for editing photos
Your attention to detail
Your love for making cakes
Your love for your spouse and/or your kids
Your ability to fix things
I can go on and on. Point is, find something to love about yourself. Practice loving that thing about you by telling yourself how amazing you are at it. Change your story. And then add another. This is how you come to love your everything.
You are beautiful. You are strong. You can be and do anything. You are a divine being and are full of infinite divine worth. I see it. I know it. Now it’s your turn to recognize it in yourself.