I remember the first time I compared myself to someone.
I was sitting on the bench outside of my middle school, nerves and anticipation kicking in as I had just moved to a completely new city. I had no idea what to expect and felt myself not fitting in. I felt alone.
The first day of classes began, and I blindly followed the crowd, having no sense of identity or who I wanted to be. A group of girls was standing outside the classroom, hair perfectly curled, nails done, with the trendiest outfit on. My gaze immediately darted to the floor as I passed by them, but my nosy younger self just could not stop staring “Wow.” I thought. “If only.” Looking back, I realized that the importance of realizing my self-worth is more important than wishing I was someone else. I failed to realize that I had the potential to be who I wanted to be from within, but I was too focused on the outward appearance which clouded my mentality.
This all started way before I entered the nasty world of social media, where I began to compare myself to people who I didn’t even know. Over my high school journey, I began to realize the importance of self-acceptance and loving myself for who I am, instead of striving to be someone else. We’re often so focused on the first impression and how someone looks from the outside, we rarely give importance to what really matters.
I realized that it’s okay to not be liked by everyone, but most importantly you need to like yourself. Of course, it took time for me to develop the mindset of putting myself first and loving my imperfections, but over time, I’ve learned that this is the way in which I can try to be the happiest. It is an overstatement to say that comparison and intentionally putting myself down has completely stopped. But what I can say is that I realized that it’s okay to have these feelings, and to embrace them as well.
Now, I urge my friends and those I talk to about mental health to take care of themselves first, to realize that it’s okay to not feel your absolute best on certain days. What matters most, is that we are able to see ourselves in a positive light, without judgment or wishing that we are someone else.
Although self-love takes a long time to develop, what matters most is that we stop negative self-talk and that we are able to embrace ourselves every day. If there’s one thing that I could tell my eleven-year-old self in sixth-grade, I would tell her to just hang in there. I would tell her to remember what she is capable of doing and that her character and who she is on the inside matters more than what she thought people would see on the outside.