Self-esteem has always been an area I’ve struggled with. And from the outside, that might be hard to believe. I’m always the loudest girl at the party, the first person to make her voice heard in a group. My old boss back in the UK called me “the best networker she had ever met” and I’ve never had a problem with making a total fool of myself.
I’m confident, sure. But that confidence? Turns out it’s a pretty good mask to hide those inner insecurities.
Because we all have them, don’t we? It’s ingrained into us, particularly as women, to scrutinise our every step. We place our choices under a magnifying glass… the same magnifying glass that glares over the curves and bumps of our bodies.
We bring ourselves down. Constantly. We are never good enough, never quite “right”.
In many ways travelling has made me more secure in myself. I know myself. I am proud of the person I am, the way I see the world and the life I am leading.
And yet… there are other ways. Ways that bring that little shadow of self-doubt creeping back over your shoulder, whispering its toxicity into your ear.
I kept letting the voice in. Kept looking into the mirror at my changing shape, my out of control hair and unmade face. Hating myself for my bank balance that has been sinking into nothingness. Judging the fact that I will be returning home to nothing… no job, no plan, not even a room to call my own.
I would feel pathetic. Wasteful, even. And then would come the anger over my spending these precious final months of travelling filled with such negativity.
It was a vicious cycle. One with no logic attached whatsoever.
But why? Why was I looking at myself with such a critical eye? Why was I becoming my own worst enemy?
I read a quote recently. It was a simple one. But oh how it was powerful.
“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”
―C. Joybell. C
It rung loud and it rung true.
Because no one else was pulling me down. In fact, those beautiful souls I find myself surrounded by? They are my light, the platform lifting me higher. Their words and love run through my veins, bursting out of my chest and bringing me more happiness than I ever knew possible.
It was all on me. I wasn’t accepting myself fully. I wasn’t loving myself.
It can be a high hurdle to jump. I know that. But I’m ready to try.
So here’s what I want to say, what I want to plead. Look in the mirror and love the person who stares back. Love their smile, the way their eyes light up when they think about something they’re passionate about. Notice the way others act when they are in their presence, the energy they bring to a room. And don’t be hard on yourself if you want to eat that extra slice of cake (I mean, come on, it’s damn delicious!). If you miss a day, a week or even a month’s training… that’s okay. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do yet, where you want your life to take you. Believe me: you’ll know eventually. Just as certain as night turns into day and day turns in night, your path will become clear at the right time. Who cares that you don’t live in an Instagram-worthy penthouse in the city. Because you know what? A home doesn’t have to be a place. It’s a state of mind. It’s wherever your heart feels rested. And you don’t need a city view, indoor jacuzzi and countless empty rooms to achieve that. If you love something, PURSUE IT! Don’t worry about the outcome. Just do it because it sets your soul alight. Write that book. Join that cooking class. Start that painting. Take that yoga class. Whatever brings you joy, grab it with both hands.
And I can tell you… inner happiness? It’s the key to self-love. The answer you’ve been looking for.
And it might not be easy… it might be damn hard. But to anyone out there who sees their darkness before their light: be kinder to yourself. Love the person you are, scars and all.
Embrace your humanness.