I know that I should love myself. That I should look in the mirror and like — or at least accept — what I see inside my reflection. I know that I should keep my standards high because I deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. I know that I should ignore the nasty words in the back of my mind because they are wrong, because I am more valuable than I will ever realize.
I know that I should be doing these things, feeling these things, but it’s so damn hard.
It is hard for me to replace self-criticism with self-love. It is hard for me to lose someone and say it’s their loss. It is hard for me to think of myself as someone worth having around, as someone who deserves real happiness.
I am not used to accepting compliments. To liking the way that I look in pictures. To smiling with my teeth showing. To viewing myself as beautiful or even as average.
I am used to blending into the background. To hoping that nobody notices me. To selling myself short. To thinking the worst.
I am used to hating myself, to wishing that my face looked different, that my voice sounded different, that my entire personality was different.
I am struggling to love myself because I have secretly hated myself for so long. I have told self-deprecating jokes about how I am going to die alone. I have harmed myself emotionally and physically. I have created a long list of flaws about myself that I cannot stop thinking about.
I have grown used to assuming that I am not attractive enough when another person leaves me. Assuming that I am not fun enough when another friendship fades away. Assuming that there is something deeply wrong with me, that I am always doing something wrong, always chasing people away.
In my mind, everything is my fault. I am the one to blame for all of the bad things that have happened in my life, because I am a complete and utter fuck-up.
I know that this toxic mindset needs to change. I need to learn to love myself the way that my family and my friends love me. And I am going to put in the effort to make that happen, even if it feels like an impossible feat right now. Even if it feels like I am completely unlovable.
From now on, I am going to look in the mirror and focus on my good qualities while ignoring the bad. I am going to upload pictures with my friends, even if I hate the way I look in them. I am going to stop counting right swipes and likes. I am going to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones so my mind is a calmer place to be.
I am going to stop thinking so poorly of myself. I am going to give myself a break. I am going to slowly learn to love myself.