A friend once told me, “You love me, even when I don’t love myself. I love you, even when you don’t love yourself. So that has to mean that there’s something remarkable to love about each of us that the other sees, even when we ourselves are too blinded by our perception to acknowledge our own great qualities.”
In middle school, everyone I’ve met has had issues with loving themselves. We all cannot seem to grasp the fact that there is something about each of us to love. That our flaws do not define who we are. Up until recently, my greatest enemy was the person I saw in the mirror: myself, this feeling that I wasn’t good enough to accomplish my goals, and my weight being the most visible reminder of that. Whenever I looked in the mirror, my reflection would confirm, “You’re not good enough. Want proof? Get on a scale, and be careful not to crush it to bits.” All of the times I was ranked “the ugliest” in truth and dare games, the time where a woman called me out on the train for squishing her, who then proceeded to call me “elephant girl” before she exited the train, and so much more, each time was like a scar. Far after the pain was gone, its impact still remained intact in my perception of myself, much like the way a scar stays behind on your skin after the intensity of the accident has dissipated.
To love yourself, you must do what you love, without the fear that your flaws will interfere with what you want to do. When my math teacher, who was also my school’s volleyball coach, asked me if I wanted to join volleyball this year, I thought the mere idea of that was absurd. How could I, “elephant girl,” join volleyball? Then I did. Now, volleyball has not only let me release my anger through hitting a ball harder and harder each practice, not only has it let me spend my time doing something I now love to do, but it’s also shown me that it’s not worth limiting myself to what I think I’m capable of.
If you don’t love yourself because you think you won’t be able to accomplish your goals, don’t limit yourself to the expectation of failure. Do not let your flaws (and the factors of yourself that you consider to be flaws) determine your self-worth. You all have the qualities you need to succeed, no matter what success means to you. And in the end, the goal shouldn’t just be the honor roll. The goal shouldn’t just be the diploma, or just the award. It should be to get the best out of everything you do, and in order to do that, you have to see the best in yourself.
“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence,” and “Confidence is the ability to feel beautiful without needing someone to tell you.”
I am so grateful for having realized all that there is to love about myself, but I am even more grateful, for the chance to help you realize that about yourself. I believe, that our imperfections are not us. I believe that they only become us if we let them. So love yourself, embrace yourself, and you’ll become the better version of yourself you never knew existed.