I have a question for you guys. What is the first step to loving yourself just the way you are? My answer: Stop trying to be perfect! Because nobody’s perfect. I mean, we can’t even agree on what’s perfect, right? Beauty varies for different eras, culture and people, so we can’t even have a perfect definition of what is perfect. However, there will be days when this is hard to believe. Especially if you are in your teen years. I had a hard time loving myself as well. I used to be chubby – and there were days, well, a lot of days that I would secretly glare at that aunt or my mom’s friend who would pinch my cheek for like a million times – and you can just imagine how low my self-image was. But in those trying times, amidst my pinch-me-again-and-I-will-#@%^^ , I chose to believe in my absolute brilliance and beauty and stopped saying these 4 things to myself.
1. I STOPPED SAYING “I AM SO UGLY!”
This probably happened to me a million times. I come out of the school bathroom cubicle, all sweaty and “ngarag” (Filipino slang for haggard) , I take a look at the mirror and realize that I am beside a classmate who is the absolute embodiment of everything I am not – flawless skin with no trace of sweat on her nose (if there is any part of my body where sweat flows, it is my nose! I am an absolute freak of nature), hair in place, and radiant face. I feel so low I would run out and decide that maybe I don’t have to wash my hands this once so I won’t endure a couple more seconds with my classmate’s resplendent perfection. Well, what did I finally decide to do instead of enduring this scene for the millionth time? I washed my hands, and as I washed my hands, I got rid of my I-am-so-ugly feeling. You see, and this finally dawned on me after my mom made me believe I am beautiful, if you don’t start seeing yourself as beautiful and as worthy of even a glance at the mirror’s reflection, then no one will, either. Find a way to make yourself feel beautiful. Don’t victimize yourself. So what did I do? I brought a comb, some powder and cheek blush the next time I went back to the bathroom as I mumbled, I am pretty, I am pretty…
2. I STOPPED SAYING “IF I WAS A BIT MORE LIKE…”
Okay, so I am not the girl who is “ligawin.” (My mom secretly wishes I get into a serious relationship only when I turn 30. This is her fault hehe) Practically all my friends have a boyfriend except me. Around this time, everyone’s looking more attractive than me. Those boys I never noticed have suddenly become boyfriend material and those girls I never really thought would be popular with boys are having dates. And I think, well, if I was more like this girl, (who has legs a mile long), or that other girl (she is so smart), then maybe someone else will like me back. Well, what did I do instead of wishing I am somebody else for the millionth time? I realized I was wasting my time figuring out how to get a boy to like me. I mean, I don’t even know what I like in a boy and I am not sure what would matter to me. Maybe my mom was right although thirty is waaaay tooo ancient. So to stop stressing on who I should be, I decided to put my priorities first (and having a boyfriend is not first priority). I discovered myself.
3. I STOPPED SAYING “I FEEL LEFT OUT!”
I had friends who seemed to have everything, clothes and shoes from high-end brands. My mom says I get those brands from the ukay-ukay (thrift shop). I felt resentful at my mom, because I just had to get those pink Uggs like the boots my friend Karen was wearing, and there was no way I was gonna use something that somebody already wore. Well, what did I do to make myself UN-LEFT OUT for the millionth time? When you look good, you feel good, right? But looking good does not always mean having to sport branded clothes. Although I still have to love ukay, I found out that you can look a million bucks from the bargain clothes at the surplus shop at the mall.
4. I STOPPED SAYING ‘SHE IS SOOO PERFECT.”
If there is anything I found out about the girls I thought were perfect, it’s this: they are almost always the first to admit that they are not. Well, what did I do instead of gaping at these perfect girls for the millionth time? I tried to think of why I find them perfect. Realizing what made them perfect in my mind made me aware of my insecurities. That was when I found out that loving yourself is about finding what’s beautiful in you and accepting that you are perfectly imperfect!