In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned the importance of self. When talking to people I preach about the importance of self-love. And now I’m talking more about the importance of self-love.
I can remember my elementary, middle, and early high school days quite vividly. I pretty much hated myself. When I say I self-loathed to the max — I really mean I was self-loathing to the max.
I could never find my sense of self then. It was me, my twin sister, and my sister who was just 16 months younger than me. Growing up we always went to the same school, no one ever referred to us individually; we were always the girls or triplets, and people always compared us to one another. I never received the compliments that my sisters received and I really took it to heart. I looked at myself, then I would look at them, and then I’d wish I had my sisters’ long hair and pointy nose or their lengthy height. Physically, I found myself completely different from them and I despised it.
Although I did hate how I looked physically, I more so blame the lack of individuality for my self-loathing. In some sense, I felt as though my beauty and existence lied within them. I’d say my name and then say who my sister was. A lot of the time that was the only way people knew me — if I said who my sisters were. I didn’t receive compliments individually. When I was being complimented it was an “oh, and you too!” or a “you guysare so beautiful.” Maybe there were times where I did receive individual compliments but they’re blind to me now.
My self-loathing led me to make so many reckless decisions and mistakes growing up. My actions said the most important thing, “this girl does not love herself.” I allowed myself to be mistreated, I acted out, I doubted myself in every way possible and I put myself in danger at times. While all of this did happen, I don’t regret it; I don’t wish my life went some other way. This self-hate has taught me and constantly reminds me why it is so important for me to love myself.
I can’t lie, I do imagine how much could have been avoided if I didn’t go through this stage of my life. My self-hate was the greatest hindrance of my self-growth, I could’ve accomplished so much more if I didn’t go through this but it’s another life lesson.
It wasn’t until I graduated high school and went off to college that I truly began gaining that sense of self, through many trials and tribulations might I add. From drinking to smoking; being incredibly social to becoming a self-proclaimed loner; A+ student to C- student; wanting to party 24/7 to wanting to study 24/7. I hopped from one thing to another constantly. One thing that kept me grounded during this was spirituality. I focused a lot on that and I’m pretty certain my spiritual beliefs are what got me through these trials and tribulations (seeing as they weren’t always the prettiest sights). With time I gained my sense of self. I had clearly established my friends, my long-term goals, my real interests. I gained a level of self-confidence I never thought I would have; I became a lot kinder to myself.
The keyword here is self. While I might have crossed paths with a lot of people on this journey of self-discovery it was really all me. My year away in college was a year dedicated to myself, all about me. I didn’t get into any relationships at this time; I’ll admit I fooled around to keep myself entertained but I knew relationships would take too much away from my time. I formed limited friendships but made sure I had a sufficient amount of me time. My experimenting didn’t make my family at home all that happy. I can’t even count the number of times I was called selfish during this time but I knew it was time that I needed.
Without this, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article or any piece that just anyone can read. I wouldn’t go above and beyond in academics the way I do; I would still be holding onto toxic relationships; I would still be seeking compliments for validation, and more importantly I would have no idea of my worth. I can’t give a complete play by play of my self-discovery journal but I will suggest that, if you haven’t yet, to take a walk down that path. Self-love, self-confidence, knowledge of your worth will open doors for you and your future.