I’ve always been someone that’s struggled with self esteem. On the outside, I probably look like the bubbliest, most confident girl you’ve ever met. I’ve done stand up, I was a competitive dancer, I’m not afraid to belt out a Disney classic in front of an office full of colleagues (true story). But beneath the surface I’ve battled with anxiety, insecurity and this constant need to be loved.
It’s something I don’t think I ever really accepted. It’s the type of thing that (you hope) if you keep pushing it further and further away… it will cease to exist. But the longer you ignore something, the darker and more consuming it becomes.
And it did. And of course, any of you who know me will know this was mainly due to the demise of my relationship. I couldn’t see it at the time, but this once incredible relationship had taken a drastic turn for the worst to the point where my life was full of more hatred than love. That’s a position that you never want to find yourself in.
I just couldn’t understand why the love of my life, the guy I genuinely thought I was going to marry, could just stop loving me. Immediately you blame yourself, obviously. What was so wrong with me? I lost a ridiculous amount of weight (which I have only just realised), was in and out of the doctor’s surgery like a blue-arsed fly and started having anxiety attacks again. It didn’t help that around the same time a major member of my family decided to cut me entirely out of her life for no apparent reason. Yep, it’s safe to say my feelings towards myself were pretty negative by that point.
Luckily I am now in a position where I have never felt so happy and confident. I finally feel like me again. I am well and truly at peace with myself and so, so proud of who I am.
Why? Because I’ve learnt how to love myself and recognise that actually, I’m a pretty awesome person. Now I’m not claiming to be a self-help guru. What I can say is, Whitney wasn’t lying. The greatest love of all really IS learning to love yourself. So if you (like me) ever have troubles embracing this fact, here are my top five tips on how to become your own #1 fan. If this post can help just one person recognise how wonderful they really are, then i’d say it’s a job well done.
Surround yourself with positive energy and love.
Basically, cut the crap right out of your life. Life is far too short to have negative influences draining your happy glow. One truly loving, caring and committed person is enough to provide you with all the support you need. If you are holding on to a relationship (be that a partner, family member or friend) because you feel like you have to have it, despite them only being damaging to your life, then get rid! If you can surround yourself with love, joy and positivity, ultimately you are going to feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Embrace the chaos; you don’t have to have all the answers.
I’m 22 turning 23. Of course I don’t have all the answers. But does that make me any less of a person? Of course not. No matter how lost you are feeling, or how confused about where you want to take your life, that doesn’t mean you have failed. Finding true happiness is all about running full steam ahead and embracing the chaos. Answers show themselves in the most peculiar of places. Your time will come; make the most of the journey and know that you have the potential to do whatever you want to. You are the master of your own destiny; whenever that epiphany does arrive!
Say no to regrets.
I don’t believe in regrets; only lessons learnt. If you allowed yourself to be bogged down by things you should have done (or more often, things you shouldn’t have done), missed opportunities and foolish decisions, then you’d never get anywhere in life. Heck, if I gave in to regrets I would be a constant ball of emotions! It might sound airy fairy, but everything really does happen for a reason. Every decision we ever make and every path we go down teaches us something about ourselves. Regret is just a tool for self judgement and, in my eyes, can only be a bad thing. Learn, live and love.
Appreciate your talents and self worth.
Know that you are where you are because you have put yourself there. You haven’t landed yourself that killer job by accident; you haven’t been promoted by total coincidence. You pave your own path and you pave it well. Self deprecation is the mother of all evils. I’m not telling you to go out there and shout what an awesome person you are from the rooftops (whilst simultaneously trying to lift your over inflated head from the ground), cos let’s face it, no one likes that guy! Just recognise your talents (because you’re sure to have a ton of them) and never undervalue what a brilliant person you really are.
Never gain your happiness purely from someone else.
No matter how happy someone makes you, or how idyllic your shared world is, never purely gain your happiness from just one person. Have a network of incredible people and things that bring you joy. Involve yourself with new hobbies and experiences; put yourself out there and meet new people! Show yourself that any number of things can bring you pleasure and well-being. Because, ultimately, you will realise that you are the master of all these things. And not only do you gain enjoyment from them, but you give just as much enchantment back.