Once upon a time, I woke up one morning, looked at myself in the mirror, and told myself “you are perfect just the way you are”.
Sure, I’ve told myself that before. But a split second later, I’ll usually take a second look in the mirror and change my mind. Find something wrong, something I’d like to change, something that isn’t quite enough. My self-esteem is variable. Some days I’ll be on top of the world, cherishing every part of me. On others, it’s the opposite. It’s like holding a bottle upside down, with a cork in it. It seems to hold fine, but as soon as the cork comes out, there is no way to stop the negativity from coming out.
I look too young. My skin is horrible. I’m not smart enough. My grades are awful. I’m not athletic enough. I’m too short. I’m annoying. I’m too clingy. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not curvy enough. I’m unlovable. Why do I say stupid stuff all the time? Why am I 21 and still haven’t had a boyfriend yet? Clearly I’m just not pretty enough, nice enough, funny enough. The list goes on.
I do this all the time. I convince myself that I’m not “enough”. And it’s a problem that I know I am not alone in – we all do it. We fight wars within ourselves, battling between the little guys on each shoulder, one rooting for you and the other saying you're not worth any more than the dirt under your shoe. Our society perpetually fuels the "not enough" fire by spewing out new expectations every day. You have to be this tall and this skinny and this smart in order to be considered attractive. You have to be involved in this many extracurriculars to be considered a successful student. You have to this and you have to that. It never ends, and neither does the negative self-introspection. So when is your chance to appreciate yourself and be content? To not feel worthless or pathetic?
It's now. The reality is, the rhetoric around qualifications for being "enough" will never end. The world won't suddenly wake up one day and say, "yeah actually, everyone is beautiful, intelligent, valuable, and worthy of love." It's human nature to compare, as ugly as that truth is. But equally as natural to us is compassion. Compassion not only for others, but for yourself. You're trying your best. You're getting up every morning (or afternoon), facing the day head on. Take the time to appreciate your capabilities, your quirks, and the efforts you're making. Be kind to yourself, and realize that we all have flaws. Those flaws are what make you individual and utterly amazing. The next time you look in the mirror and see something you don't like, remind yourself of the things you do like. Not necessarily the physical ones. You're good at drawing. You’re good with numbers. Your chocolate chip cookies are bomb.
It starts with the little things, and it starts with yourself. You are enough.