I finished 2018 in a relatively dark place. I didn’t have a job after college, and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted one in my field. While my friends planned to take cities, states and even countries away, I was sure that I would return home. I had self-loathing since middle school then: my skin was not clean enough, my teeth were not white enough, and my waist was not small enough. I was tired, self-conscious, and constantly comparing myself to others.
When it was time to make my New Year’s resolution, I knew that I would be happy only when I learned to accept and love myself, as I was trying to change things I didn’t like Were. Therefore, for the first few months of 2019, I committed to practice self-care every single day. It seemed a wise first step: making time for myself, even if it was here and there for only a few minutes. I started coloring my nails, doing hair and face masks, or pulling for five minutes. Sometimes I would just lay in bed and scrape my cat. And although I knew it was going to be a long, arduous journey, I tried to stop myself from focusing so much on the opinions of myself and others of my choice.
Once I did, I realized that I had a lot of anxiety that centered around making other people happy. When I started hearing that instead of trying to guess what others might need from me or think about me, it was amazing how things started to change. Yes, some of my relationships fell short, but others strengthened, including myself. I wanted to make my life look like payment in other ways, making choices based on it. I landed after that first job, which eliminated a significant source of stress upon graduation. About halfway through the year, I felt that I was strong enough to start addressing my body with confidence.
I knew for a long time that I was feeling more lethargy and discomfort in my skin only because of the food I was eating and lack of exercise. I decided that part of loving myself was treating my body well, so I discovered a workout program that I enjoy and started eating foods that make my body feel good and energetic. Let’s make. This became my most important form of care. I primed myself for at least 30 minutes a day, and when my body changed only slightly, I felt isolated from the inside. Suddenly I was fitter, more energetic, and less stressed.
In the process, I tried my best to let go of that self-loathing. Actually it is not difficult to see myself in the mirror and immediately start isolating myself, but I forced myself to do exactly that. On an almost daily basis, I just decided that I was enough, and then I moved on.
With the year ending, I am still working to overcome my insecurities and hear my own voice above everyone else. It takes time and is an option that I have to make over and over again, but I have come a long way since I first set myself to take care of myself for a few minutes every day. My resolve for 2020 is to continue on this path of self-acceptance – and never look back.