A Valentine’s Note on Insecurities and Self-Love
In a world of critique, comparison, and carefully filtered highlight reels it can seem like an impossible task to feel content in your own skin.
To my younger self that bought foundation to cover up the freckles on her cheeks, let the boy convince her that she would never be enough, and begged the figure in the mirror to shrink just a little more; look how far you have come.
To my not so distant self that has experienced feelings of intense doubt, inadequacy, and unworthiness; you are exactly where you need to be right now.
On this day of love I wanted to address the importance of self acceptance despite insecurities. Because hello, spoiler alert, everyone feels insecure! No one escapes the gauntlet of negative self talk. Not instagram models, not olympic athletes, not millionaires billionaires or trillionaires, even Beyonce has her moments. Well, I guess no one can absolutely confirm that last one, but it is a working theory of mine that even the most successful people feel insecure sometimes.
Sitting down to write about insecurities got me thinking about how other people feel about this topic. Earlier this week, I put an instagram question on my story prompting “one of my biggest insecurities is...”
To all 40 of you responders, THANK YOU. I am so appreciative of your willingness to be vulnerable and open about the things that make you feel insecure. To everyone out there, the responders, the not responders, the people just trying their best to keep their head above water and fake it until they make it, this post is for you.
Because while it’s true this holiday is for giving love to others, we can’t pour love from an empty cup. First order of business is to love ourselves.
The more instagram submissions I read the more blown away I was. People I hardly knew, acquaintances I perceived as flawless, close friends I rarely spoke about insecurities with, all had something to say. And while I hardly mean to invalidate the insecure feelings every one of us has, at some point I couldn’t help thinking this is ridiculous! Why are we all so dang hard on ourselves?
We are flawed. It’s true. Yet despite our flaws and shortcomings, we are also all incredible, unique, and important.
To get bogged down by the small things we dislike about ourselves is a disgrace to the gifts we have been given. You are flawed, that I will not deny. But I promise that you are more than your flaws. You are more than your insecurities. You are exactly who you should be. You are exactly where you should be.
The two overarching themes of insecurities I noticed from the instagram submissions were appearance based insecurities and personality/perception based insecurities. During this month of love and long after it is over, my hope is that you and I both can work towards accepting these insecurities and loving ourselves despite them. Listed below are specific actions I have taken or plan to take to counteract my insecurities and negative self talk.
1. Stop excessively looking in the mirror
Many of you will read this and know exactly what I am talking about. If it is 9 a.m. and you have already checked your face and/or body in the mirror 10 times and counting, you have to stop. Youtuber Natacha Oceane talked about this in a recent video of hers and I have tried to implement it ever since. Your appearance is such a small percent of who you are as a person, there is no need to obsess over it and constantly critique yourself in a mirror. Next time you pass by a mirror, simply keep walking.
2. Instagram reset
Comparison is the thief of joy, the beauty of others doesn’t detract from your own. During times when it is hard to remember this, take a break.
An instagram reset is something I have done a few times since the summer. I find when I delete the app for a week, I return much happier and less self conscious. Taking a break from social media can be incredibly beneficial in working towards not comparing ourselves to others.
If you follow accounts on instagram that make you feel insecure every time you see their posts it's okay to unfollow them or hide their posts from your feed 🙂 surround yourself with content that makes you feel good, not inadequate.
3. Don’t treat health and fitness as a form of punishment
Your body is a tool, a vessel, a keeper of your thoughts. It is not your defining feature and it does not serve only aesthetic purposes. Treat it kindly.
Move your body to reap the benefits of improved mood, enhanced energy, cardiac health, etc. Do not workout to punish yourself. Eat healthy foods because they fuel you and make you feel good, not because you think you need to lose weight or ate "too much" yesterday.
4. Reroute negative self talk
Pay attention to the dialogue you use when talking about yourself. When you catch yourself tearing yourself apart, consciously say NO! I am not going to talk to myself this way. As much as you do not want to, say two nice things you like about yourself for every negative comment you make.
5. Present yourself in a way that you feel confident
This is highly subjective to each individual. If you feel your best with a fresh face, don't wear makeup. If you are most confident when your hair is curled, curl your hair! If you look really good in that one sweater just keep wearing it my friend.
Take the time to take care of yourself and present yourself in a way that makes you feel confident.
6. Accept compliments
This is another suggestion from Natasha Oceane (in case you haven’t noticed I love her). Girls especially, accept the compliments and love others give to you! You are worthy and they are being truthful.
Do not deflect, do not deny, simply say thank you.
Personality and Perception
1. Affirmations and Gratitude
The words we speak have the power to alter our perception of ourselves. Positive affirmations is something I talked about in a previous post linked here. I also have a Pinterest board filled with affirmations linked here.
In the morning when you wake up, "say something encouraging to yourself. Say multiple affirmations one time, say one affirmation a bunch of times, scream it, whisper it, write it down, share it on your insta story, just do it!”
Before you go to bed, express gratitude for the things you have. Say them in your head or write them down. The point is to focus on the abundance of things you do have not the things you don't.
2. You are Good Enough
Remind yourself that you have been uniquely created and you shouldn’t try to be anyone else. You are exactly where you need to be, you are on no other timeline but your own.
Accept that not everybody will like you. After all, a jack of all trades is a master of none. If you try to please everyone you will be missing out on genuine connections that could be made from simply being yourself. You will not always agree with everyone. Some people will dislike you no matter who you are. That is okay.
Be the truest version of yourself and you will attract the people into your life that are meant to be there.
3. Face your fears
Pick something you are most afraid of. Something you think you will never be able to do or accomplish.
Next step: just go do it. The feeling of accomplishment does wonders for self confidence.
4. Create a positive environment
Spend time with friends that lift you up. Intentionally speak kindly to yourself.
5. Fake it till you make it
At the end of the day everyone is insecure and nobody knows what they are doing. Pretend you are confident and one day you actually will be. Until then, keep taking steps towards appreciating and loving yourself.