I would like to take a moment to address something that I have struggled with for years. It’s an issue that pains me to see in so many of my students and young friends. I wish so much that I could go back and spend my teenage and young adult years with the knowledge and maturity that I possess now. I am not saying that I never suffer from low self-esteem, but I have certainly discovered a profound self- love that has been hidden under a mountain of years and years of self-hatred.
Growing up I never felt as though I was enough. I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, cool enough, athletic enough, rich enough… you get the picture. I often felt like I was the only one thought this way. I loved all of my friends and saw through all of their flaws. I just couldn’t seem to get past my own.
I’m not sure what happened in my adult years that made me finally realize that I am, in fact, enough. I am by no means perfect and often notice areas for improvement in myself, but somehow those thoughts turned into, “I am not perfect, but I am a great person. A person who deserves love, respect, and great things.” I used to feel that I had to prove myself in order to gain love and acceptance. I now know that not everyone will love me and not everyone will respect me, but you know what? Those people DO NOT MATTER!! I have more than enough people in my life to love me and make my life whole and meaningful.
A small thing happened this week that made me really think about writing this post. I have always been hung up on the fact that my arm hair is way too dark. Silly thing to stress about, I know. For some reason, it has really stuck with me for a long time. I think it all started when a very creepy man pointed it out to me while I was in college and made an inappropriate inquiry about other areas. Suddenly my arm hair stood out as something that was ugly and dirty. I have hated it for years. I have tried waxing, shaving, bleaching, you name it. It always comes back, sometimes even darker. Now that it is winter and I have sworn off tanning beds, this “problem” stands out even more for me. I do my absolute best to hide it, even from my boyfriend who knows all of my imperfections, both inside and out. He has always seen through them (as I have seen through his), but I still don’t want him to notice it. For some reason, the other night I pointed out my insecurity to him when he was looking at something on my arm. He laughed at me and told me that he had NEVER NOTICED and thought that I looked just fine. I revealed my “traumatic” experience from the past and how I have always been so paranoid about it. In on simple conversation, my insecurities vanished.
It is then that I realized that although I have come to love myself for who I am, I still need to learn to let go of the things that I get hung up on. I mean, seriously, ARM HAIR?! That is what has made me feel insecure for so long. Something that made me feel so unpleasant wasn’t even noticed by the one man who I want to look good for. (Although I do not need his approval, who doesn’t want their man to be attracted to them?)
This whole incident made me realize that I need to continue forgiving myself for my flaws and seeing myself through the eyes of those who love me for exactly who I am. I am not saying that you will never hear me whine about something that doesn’t make me feel good, I am just saying that I AM ENOUGH- and so are YOU!