As I play rewind inside my mind, I can never remember a time in which I truly loved myself. My childhood’s thin, fragile skin barely protected me from the words they hurled at at me or their piercingly judgemental dagger eyes. The avalanche of stones bullies hurled at me buried me in negativity and self-doubt. By the time I blossomed into adulthood, the damage had been done, and I feared my soul was forever gone, my self-esteem permanently shattered. I’m not loving myself.
Yet, here I am, slowly rising from the dark rubble, like the sunrise from the east with each new day. As each rock rolls away, uncovering another small part of me, I find ways to embrace every piece of my being with unconditional love and forgiving kindness. Though it has taken incredible strength and unmatched patience, I am finally learning to accept all that I am.
With each breath I take and each move I make, this is me finally loving myself.
This is me finally loving myself enough to indulge.
I’m finally allowing myself the simple pleasures in life, like ice cream or sleeping in, without the overwhelming guilt that used to eat away at me. There’s no more denying myself all that I desire or punishing myself for partaking. Feeding the soul is a beautiful, human thing, and I’m no less deserving than any other.
As I love myself, I let go of the guilt and shame of my youth. I release the voices in my head that shout at me to restrict, to deny, to punish myself. I practice moderation; balancing my desires with my needs. I allow myself simple pleasures, while simultaneously staying aware of the needs of those around me. Cause no harm, but take no shit. Embrace your hopes and cravings while also showing your friends and family all the love in your heart.
This is me finally loving myself enough to celebrate and rejoice.
I’m finally allowing myself to smile and embrace all the goodness that rains upon me each day. There’s no need to deprive myself of happiness, nor is there any need to dwell on the past’s darkness. Celebrating my successes, big or small, is acceptable, and it doesn’t make me egotistical or any less lovely.
As I love myself, I let go of the cloud that has long hung over my head. I liberate myself from the belief that I only deserve to suffer. I begin to skip down my life’s path, celebrating each tiny victory along the way. I allow myself to smell the roses, to win the prizes, to climb upward. Don’t brag, but embrace the winning streaks as they come. See all the good that unfolds each and every day; the wonderful blessings that rain down from the sky.
This is me finally loving myself enough to see the beauty that radiates within me.
I’m finally allowing myself to look in the mirror and see someone who is worthy; someone who is pure. I will no longer insult my appearance or refuse compliments. Even my physical flaws are beautiful, and I’m no less stunning than any other woman in this world.
As I love myself, I finally step into the sun and see all of myself. I stand in front of the mirror, allowing my eyes to gaze upon myself without judgement for the first time in my life. I search for what my loved ones see each and every day, wanting to view my beauty with my own twinkling eyes. Look deep, but don’t search for flaws. Embrace the beautiful uniqueness that makes me who I am.
For the first time in my life, the sunshine radiates on my pale, soft skin. The storm inside fades away, and the path ahead radiates fondness and respect for all that I am, inside and out. I rise from the ashes of self-loathing into the dawn; dancing within the comfort of self-love.
This is me finally loving myself. This is me allowing myself to simply be.
Previously Published on Thought Catalog