Self-esteem has always been an issue for me. Being a perfectionist, I have always found myself striving to be better and feeling like I was never good enough. I criticized myself incessantly. I magnified my flaws consistently. And, after awhile, your reflection becomes all of the things you’ve taught yourself to look for. For me, I was seeing my shortcomings in that mirror, day in and day out.
That kind of self-talk can really do significant damage after awhile. And when you add in changing dynamics with other people into the mix, it can be a life-long struggle. For most of us, it will always be something that challenges us.
But, over time, I started to confront my demons. I started to take into account the mistakes I’ve made and the flaws I felt were front and center, and then I finally let them go. I relinquished the control they were having over my thoughts. I started viewing my mistakes as opportunities instead of allowing them to fester and make me feel like I wasn’t enough.
I started allowing myself to look for the good within myself. I started forgiving myself as I have always tried to forgive others. I started giving myself the love that I had so desperately been searching for from others. I started to see my body as a worthy residence for my heart and soul instead of a prison.
I started to view myself as a whole and perfectly imperfect human. I was no longer blinded by the negative dialogue that constantly looped through my consciousness. I was no longer frozen in fear of letting people see who I was without a mask or my guard up. I was finally learning how to be brave and be vulnerable, in the most real and unfiltered way.
So, now, I can look in the mirror, and I see a different reflection. I see a whole person, not just my flaws or my imperfections. I see the potential within myself and a confidence that I have never had before. The kind of confidence that comes from embracing the wildly chaotic set of traits that make you human and beautiful and unique.
I’m finally learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m learning that I can be my worst enemy or my biggest ally. I’m finally learning that I don’t deserve the kind of treatment I was putting myself through because I am someone who is worthy of love and is capable of growing and adapting every single day.
I am learning to let my fears and my mistakes be catalysts into a better future. Because I can finally see how different my life looks when I stop standing in my own way. And, I hope that through seeing myself clearly for the first time that I can reflect that same freedom onto others.
Because I have finally learned what it means to accept yourself for the good and the bad. And, it is the most life-changing shift in perspective that any of us can experience.