HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY LOVES! If you celebrate it, yay! And if you don’t, much love all the same. I hope you are looking forward to a relaxing weekend loving on yourself and loving on your circle. Love every day that’s not V-day too though, right? Right.
I was super excited to talk about my journey to loving myself more (appropriate v-day post), but I thought it would make sense to start at the beginning. For me that was recognizing I didn’t quite love myself as wholly as I could and should (inappropriate v-day post).
I’m referring to when I realized I was deeply insecure and had a fractured relationship with myself—which in turn affects the relationships you have with others and how you negotiate your place in the world. We all have some insecurities we struggle with but I was fully in a place of not knowing myself and not wanting to.
I decided at some point that I didn’t want to spend another day not appreciating who I am. But facing that insecurity is very hard, and while I still have challenges with it even today I am in a much better place now than I was years ago.
So even though it’s the day to talk about big love, roses, chocolate, candy, sprinkles, teddy bears, and snuggles, I’m going to talk about how I realized I was insecure. Because a HUGE part of loving yourself is recognizing where you fail at it and correcting that. This post will have an uplifting follow up post—I promise—but hang with me here for the hard part first.
How I realized I was insecure:
Of all the phrases and idioms my siblings and I heard from my mom over the years I think the one we all probably distinctly remember her saying quite often is “inferiority complex.” I chuckle when I hear it now but I would say I probably grappled with this on some level in my early 20’s. I was so unaware of my strengths because I was so focused on everyone else’s. I became so asocial that I was called a “hermit” and a “mute” by a couple girls in college. The consistent feeling of being lesser kept me from wanting to be around people. I simply felt like I didn’t measure up to anyone else and I didn’t “deserve” their company.
I COULD NOT BE GENIUELY HAPPY FOR ANYONE ELSE
So I didn’t have the courage to troll anyone online (if you want to deem that courage—which it really isn’t), but I definitely trolled in my head. I would scroll through a person’s Instagram page just to be a HATER. I wouldn’t like any pictures (like a real creep), but I would stalk just to criticize their hair, clothes, and lifestyle. And when I ran out of people online to hate on I would do it to the people I had personal relationships with. Friends, family, etc.
I didn’t support anyone around me (I even thought my “likes” were too charitable on Instagram—I was definitely one of those people who “pretended” I didn’t see you and your bae on the gram on your fabulous trip to Ibiza over the weekend). And when the people around me won in spite of my lack of support and encouragement I would be really upset and take it very personally, instead of expressing any pride or happiness for their wins. I would find some way to diminish their achievement—secretly wishing I had a pinch of it myself. I was deeply envious and jealous of everyone. An undercover hater—the worse kind.
Have you ever met one of those people who complained about the very air they breathed? Yeah, that was me. Ingratitude was my middle name. I couldn’t find one thing I was thankful for in my life. Not even myself. This is a good time to watch Snoop Dogg’s speech at his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony btw. He thanks himself for a good part of the speech and its one of the best things on the internet. Gratitude and self confidence on level expert.
CRITICAL OF MYSELF
If there is anything on this list I would say I’m still struggling with, its this. I am very hard on myself. Everything about me is a short falling; something that is just inches away from being a bit better—just a little off from perfection. If someone asked me what I loved about myself my go to answer would be: “I have nice fingernails.” Not kidding. And you know where this came from? In high school my friends and I played a little game about what we all wish we had of each other, and everybody wished they had my fingernails. Mmmhhmmmm. Yup. And, in my fingernails’ defense, they are nice. I have well shaped, pink nail beds like a girl who eats her carrots. But seriously, fingernails? I don’t know how I got myself all the way down to just fingernails fam, but it definitely started with that game. It was like someone told me that’s all I had going for me and I just internalized that insult.
NOT TAKING CARE OF MYSELF
So guess what happens when you think your fingernails are your best asset? Literally nothing matters to you. If your self-esteem is down to your fingernails you will not nurture yourself. We pour into the things we care about and love right? I wasn’t pouring into myself. I simply didn’t take care of myself because I didn’t value me. I didn’t exercise, take care of my skin, drink water, wear spf, wear clothes that actually fit, pay attention to my appearance…none of it was a priority.
ALLOWING PEOPLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME
I’ve allowed people to push me around because I think I deserved it or because I was so scared of losing the bit of attention they give me. I’ve been manipulated and talked down to and have accepted it without standing up for myself.
Early in my 20’s I didn’t know what I WASN’T pretending to do. I was faking it all sis. As much as I could. But there is no pretense worse than the ruse you keep up with yourself. I never confronted my feelings of insecurity or challenged myself to deal with my real emotions.
REFUSING TO FACE MYSELF AND MY FLAWS
As a woman do you remember the first time someone told you to look at your vagina by squatting over a mirror? No one? Okay. Well, when Aunty Tyra told us to get to squatting a few years ago the thought alone was frightening. I wasn’t even willing to face my body in the mirror let alone face the most intimate part of me. I believe that its super important to not be afraid of becoming very intimate with yourself (let your mind roam with what I’m referring to here). No one should know your body BETTER than you do. No one should be better in touch with your needs than you. But that deeply appreciative intimacy with myself was missing from my life. I avoided my body and all I didn’t like about it so much it was like it belonged to someone else.
There is no better way to identify your insecurities than to take note of how much you compare yourself to other people. I know we are socialized to “keep up with the Joneses” but I was running a rat race with everyone else in my head. Everything had to be measured up to what others had achieved. How exhausting!
INDULGING A DAILY TOXIC MENTALITY
At some point dealing with the insecurities I mentioned above birthed a really toxic mindset. I wasn’t taking care of myself, I didn’t speak positively to myself, and I was letting other people treat me like garbage. And I felt miserable about it but I didn’t know how to get myself away from this behavior, so I only sunk further and further into a self-loathing loop of “woe is me” and “if only” complains.
When I realized I couldn’t get the love and appreciation I needed from myself I sought it from just about everywhere and everyone else. People’s opinion suddenly mattered A LOT to me. I needed everyone to like me (because I didn’t like me). And if someone else liked me then maybe I wasn’t so bad, right? But that footing you stand on is paper thin. Because when someone doesn’t like you or has something negative to say (this will happen) your whole existence seems meaningless all of a sudden.
Things and people cannot validate you. Realizing that is when I felt I had sunk to rock bottom. I understood I couldn’t even get past the wall of self-doubt I had created for myself without a little ego boost from someone else or from having some cute bag that everyone else wanted.
The good thing they say about hitting rock bottom though is that there is no way to go but up. And we all have varying degrees of what’s the bottom for us. When you’re there you’ll know it. It’s a journey to pull yourself out of that valley, but if I’ve done it so you can too.
The other good thing about recognizing you’re insecure is being able to do the work to change those toxic habits and start loving the you that you are. And that journey is a beautiful, worth while experience. So hitting bottom is okay—the way up is going to be some of the best epiphanies of your life.
Now although this was mostly depressing, I promise you confronting your insecurities is super important. Don’t waste another day feeling inferior. Start the work now! Drop a comment below if you’ve dealt with some tough insecurities. We’re all in this together.
All my love!