I have never been someone who is self confident. sure, I know what my talents are, and I know what makes me special, but I've always struggled with self esteem. I think a large portion of that is that I really struggle with comparing myself to others.
it's partially a physical thing - I'm overweight. I once lost 100 lbs... and then I gained it all back. now I'm trying to get my health back in order, but there was always this huge part of me that wanted to hide behind everyone else to cover up my size.
it's also partially a fear of abandonment - I'm really afraid of being left behind. so I would always feel the need to have friends, boyfriends and family members validate the relationship by telling me how important I was to them... all day, every day. this is a surefire way to drive people crazy, in my experience.
in April-ish of last year, I ended a long-term relationship. it was an insanely difficult decision because I loved this person with all my heart, but I realized that I needed to love me more. I realized that relying on someone else for your self worth is completely unhealthy, and also unsustainable. I was finishing my university degree and starting my job, and I knew that this was the perfect time to hit refresh on my life. I thought about it for weeks before I did it (which is why I say April-ish), and then I took the plunge.
I spiraled into a very unhealthy place: I had no relationship, no religion, and no self-love. it was dark. I drank and partied a lot and I was incredibly defensive all the time. I was also incredibly sad, and I cried myself to sleep many nights in a row. my anxiety was completely out of control, and my entire life was just pretend.
one night, I called one of my then coworkers (who is the most fabulous person in the entire world) and I was bawling my eyes out. she paused her game of thrones marathon and listened to me tell her how lonely I was and how I didn't know how to get through my anxiety, and how I felt like my entire life was a falling-apart lie (dark stuff, I know). she told me to be patient with myself, and to treat myself like I would treat my friends. she told me that I would get through this time and that I wouldn't feel like this forever, and that she was there for me no matter what.
that conversation was a huge turning point for me, and although it didn't happen overnight, things got better. I started giving myself the space to feel sad and not trying to pretend the feelings weren't there. I also started taking the time to understand myself and understand why I was amazing.
through the fall and early winter, I was starting to experiment with loving myself. I started to grow and slowly but surely, the sadness began to fall away. I had friends everywhere telling me how important I was to them... without me having to ask for the validation!
I met another girl at work, and the first thing I noticed about her was how incredibly confident she was. she walked around knowing exactly how important, beautiful and fun she was. at first, she terrified me. but we became friends. one day I asked her how she was so confident - she told me that she was not always that confident, and had worked very hard to get there. she told me to look in the mirror every day and tell myself how fucking amazing, beautiful and important I was.
it sounded ridiculous, but I did it. except, I didn't do it only when I looked in the mirror. I did it whenever I felt myself feeling self conscious. whenever I felt myself feeling out of place. whenever I felt like I wasn't good enough for someone else. and sometimes, I would tell other people, too. and guess what? it worked.
I am amazing, and I love myself. I am so proud of the person I am, I am so proud of how I look + I am so proud of all of my accomplishments. loving myself first has allowed me to end my unhealthy obsession with comparing myself to others. loving myself first has allowed me to love other people better and to have more healthy relationships. I feel so good. I love me.