In an ideal world, loving yourself would mean feeling beautiful when you step out of the shower without any make-up on. It would mean thinking every picture taken of you is worthy of being posted across all your social media platforms. It would mean smiling in the mirror every morning, twirling around, and considering yourself hot stuff without even having to try.
Unfortunately, that is not real life. In reality, loving yourself is messy. It is flawed. It is a work in progress.
Sometimes, loving yourself means choosing one of the fifty selfies you took that morning and uploading it onto Instagram instead of deciding they all look horrible and deleting them from embarrassment.
Sometimes, loving yourself means complimenting other women on how cute their outfit looks and asking them what kind of shampoo they use for their hair so you can buy the same brand instead of seething with jealousy about how they look prettier than you and you are never going to feel beautiful as long as women like that exist.
Sometimes, loving yourself means noticing the pimples sprouting on your chin and dabbing concealer onto them instead of sitting in front of the mirror for an hour thinking about how disgusting you look and how you don’t want to leave the house looking that way.
Sometimes, loving yourself means accepting the compliments you are given (even if you do not fully believe them) instead of shaking your head and making excuses about how you feel like a mess and didn’t have time to shower and spent way too much money on your dress anyway.
Sometimes, loving yourself means faking confidence and looking other people in the eyes as they are speaking instead of fidgeting with your jewelry and looking down at the ground because you are too embarrassed about your own existence.
Sometimes, loving yourself means accepting invitations out instead of convincing yourself you would make a fool of yourself if you went and they probably only invited you to be nice and will secretly be relieved when you don’t show up.
Sometimes, loving yourself means looking in the mirror and shrugging because you look completely fine instead of tearing yourself apart over every single flaw that you believe you have.
Sometimes, loving yourself means walking into the dressing room with a crop top or the pair of shorts you have been eying from the store window and seeing what they look like on you instead of assuming you wouldn’t be able to pull them off with your body type.
Sometimes, loving yourself means occasionally letting yourself eat your favorite flavor of ice cream or homemade cheesecake instead of freaking out over the possibility of gaining more weight.
Sometimes, loving yourself means keeping the lights on so your person can see you naked instead of making out in complete darkness because you are worried they are going to see you the way you see yourself.
Sometimes, loving yourself means slowly hating yourself less. It means taking tiny little steps toward the realization that you are more than enough.