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The Thing We Need To Do Before We Try To Love Ourselves

The Thing We Need To Do Before We Try To Love Ourselves

This is a concept I’m still trying to get a grasp on.

You see, we can talk about the things we want, the things we need, the things we deserve and aspire to be and to have. We can talk that talk, but how do we walk the walk?

I’ll admit it, I’m a perfectionist. I do want that fabulous lifestyle that everyone would “like” on Facebook and in real life. I want people to think I’m beautiful and secure in myself. I want someone to want to be with me. I want nice things. These are the things I would love to have in life. But in this process of writing what is seemingly a grocery list for my life, I’m forgetting the one thing that will forever stop me in my tracks from getting anything I could ever want.

Whenever I’m upset, whenever anyone is upset, what do we do? We tell them why they need to love themselves/take care of themselves/appreciate themselves. Yes, we should still put ourselves first, and always. But before we do that, we need to do something much more important. It’s the bare minimum that we barely remember to do.

We can talk the talk about the things we want, the things we need, the things we deserve and aspire to be and to have. But in order to walk that walk, we need to acknowledge what’s already been given to us and what we already have. We need to first accept ourselves.

In reference to what sounded like a grocery list for my life, let’s break it down:

I want people to think I’m beautiful and secure.

Well, in order to do that I need to look in the mirror and accept why I would think anything less of myself. Sure, I don’t look like a Victoria Secret model because of my curveless/13-year-old-boy-looking body—but hey, at least I can say I like the way I look when I smile.

I want someone to want to be with me.

Well, let’s remember why I don’t have that. That guy who randomly texts me at 1:28 a.m. asking “where r u”? Enough said. He doesn’t need to know where I am in my life, or ever, or especially at 1:28 a.m. And why can’t I accept that no one better than that has come along, because at least I’m accepting standards for myself.

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I want nice things.

Well, maybe I need to stop spending money that I don’t even have in the first place. Like that gorgeous orange maxi dress with the cut-out slits that I just spent my grocery money on… yeah sure it looks like I deserve to be strutting the red carpet when I wear it, but if I want that Anthropologie dream house with Victoria Beckham’s closet, I should probably first make sure that I have enough money to eat, drink, and be a merry human being.

Do you get where I’m going with this?

It’s easy to want what we don’t have, especially when it’s practically instinctual because we were raised to be that way. I mean, we live in a modern world where keeping up with the Joneses is more relevant than ever, except it’s been replaced with “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Of course we want to be beautiful, and of course we want to be secure, of course we want someone to want us, and of course we want nice things. Who wouldn’t want a life with all of the above? But by arriving at the conclusion that in order to achieve all the above, we must love what we have in the moment is the thing that isn’t so easy, and in fact, it’s the thing that’s not going to get us there.

I say this because I realize now that the reason why it has been so hard for me to be happy with who I am and where I am in my life is because what I thought it would take for me to be happy only emphasizes why I’m such a perfectionist. I want a sort of perfection in my life that I need to accept doesn’t exist, at least not in the way I have been imagining it. It is possible to feel beautiful and secure, to be wanted by someone else, to have nice things. It only seems out of reach if I ignore why I don’t have that right now. I need to accept why I don’t have that right now.

The thing we need to do before we try to love ourselves is accept ourselves. Accept everything we have and everything that’s around us. We may not be happy with where we are right now, but we can never grow to love and appreciate what we have and where we are if we can’t even take the first step in accepting it in the first place. It’s time to stop telling ourselves to love ourselves when we haven’t even acknowledged and come to terms with what’s right in front of us.

Ella

Ella lives in New York City and eats a Chipotle sofrita bowl once a week. When she was four, she wanted to be Posh Spice when she grew up. (And for the record, she hasn't ruled out that option just yet)
Ella
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