Learning to love myself

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I’m doing it. After all the unkindness, doubt and harshness, I’m taking that first courageous step.

It’s a journey 19 years in the making. I’ve had my ups and downs, and laws almighty, I’ve had my doldrums of, “What in the heck am I going to do next year?” I’ve stayed up all night driving myself to the brink of insanity and back, and cried so hard I couldn’t breathe properly. Time and time again I’ve looked in the mirror, taken a deep breath in and walked away frustrated and unsatisfied. I’ve had all those moments and more, but recently I’ve had something else.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that, with every bad day there is an even better good day waiting. I’ve become thankful and appreciative of my trials. Though I would rather not go through the pain I felt again, I’ve realized I wouldn’t trade my hardships for anything. In addition to appreciating the rainbow, I’ve come to love the rain.

My trials are as important as my victories—and likewise, so are my faults. All the little things that drive me insane—my weight, my voice, my inability to get to the point, my over-whelming shyness—they’re a part of me. Some I can improve, but some I’ll be stuck with for all eternity. Regardless of whether I can change them or not, I’ve gradually began to see myself in a different perspective.

Granted, it’s slow progress. As with many things in life, I have instances of incredible improvement that blows my mind, and I have times I take about five trillion steps back and reduce myself to less than dirt. It’s something I have to actively work for every day, and oh, is it hard. There are days I have to fight that voice in the back of my mind with all my might, and there are days she nearly wins.

That angry, harsh whisper has her power. She convinces me that I’m too disgusting for my own good, but as of late, her influence has been waning. With every passing day, every instant of joy or pain I experience, it dies a little.

I’m silencing her—my own harshness with a realization that’s taken me far too long to reach. Indeed, I’ve never been what other’s think I should be. I’m not skinny, I talk a lot, I don’t get to the point, I get so excited about video games and shows that I don’t know how to talk about anything else, and for goodness sake, I tell the dumbest puns. I’ve been told many times that I’m either not enough or too much, and I’ve often believed them.

I’ve been reminded day in and day out of all the faults I possess. Of the bad and worse, the unpleasant and irritating. I’ve learned from others of just how annoying I can be—and I’ve realized they don’t matter.

And they don’t just not matter to me because it sounds cool to say that. They don’t matter because I’ve realized I am who I am. I’m complicated, goofy, I love to chat and make others laugh and I rock my outfits no matter what anyone says. I don’t fit in with what is cool or popular, and I most certainly don’t fit in with what society deems right. And you know what? That makes me awesome.

My good and bad make me who I am. They make me unique. They make me happy, and they remind me of who I am: a daughter of God who’s got great things in store.

A daughter of God who is working to be who her Heavenly Father wants her to be, who can share her talents with the world and be a friend to all who need one, and who can, through her weaknesses, continue to grow and learn.

Am I perfect? Far from it. Am I broken? Absolutely not. I’m human, and I’m full of mistakes and lessons to be learned. I have days where I’m strong. I have days where I’m weak. And I have days I heed the advice of a wise man known as Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

I have up and down days, good and bad days, days where everything goes right and days where everything is flipped upside-down. I have all of those and everything in-between and using them to be the best me I can be. I’m using them and learning to love myself.

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