1. I deserve love.
I often wonder why he loves me when there are plenty of other women who are prettier, more established, and more capable. I criticize myself for every single attribute I hate — even as he loves every piece of me. I spiral into feeling completely undeserving of love, but if I believe that everyone in this world deserves love, why am I the exception? I deserve love just as much as anyone else.
2. I am capable.
Years upon years of faulty perceptions have drilled into me that others are far more capable than I am, but my reality tells a different story. I’ve achieved more than I ever could have thought possible because I’m willing to work for my dreams — and because I have the talent to take me there. Even when the world tells me that I’m incapable, I have what it takes to succeed.
3. Food is not the enemy.
As someone who’s battled an eating disorder for several years, it’s still tempting to blame food for everything I could possibly hate about myself. But every therapist I’ve seen has reminded me that food is essential. It nourishes us. It connects us with family and friends. It can be comforting. As much as I sometimes want to fight against “recovery cliches,” deep down, I know that food is not the enemy. Why should I deprive myself of a delicious meal in favor of bland “diet food?”
4. My trauma is valid.
In constantly examining my own privilege, I feel immense guilt surrounding traumatic life events because mine don’t feel “big” enough to affect me. The memories that haunt and silence me often seem unconventional and therefore unworthy of my anxiety. But when I catch my heart racing during a panic attack or feel my entire body tense in response to a trigger, I’m forced to remember that I do live with trauma, and sometimes just surviving feels like the hardest thing to do. I may not live with PTSD, but my trauma is as valid as anyone else’s.
5. Prioritizing my own needs is okay.
I pride myself on being the “safe” friend — the one who will listen to anyone’s problems and help them through their struggles without judgment. Sometimes I feel so inclined to others that I completely neglect my own needs in order to help my friends meet theirs. With time and a significant amount of acceptance, I’ve learned that tuning out others and tuning into myself is perfectly okay sometimes. If I don’t help myself, I can’t help anyone else.
6. People who don’t respect me don’t belong in my life.
I spent years of my life clinging to the notion that everyone in my life belongs there forever — even if they stop respecting me in return. I placed my desire for connection over my need for respect time and time again, and it made me feel lonely, resentful, and sometimes even unsafe. In time, I began to let go of the people who didn’t treat me well, and even though it was tremendously painful, I feel far happier knowing that the people closest to me genuinely care about my wellbeing the same way I care about theirs. Letting go hurts, but it’s far better to prioritize mutual respect over one-sided relationships.
7. Life can be both hard and good.
When the crushing weight of life feels overwhelming, I often give up on finding anything positive about living. I’m constantly conflicted about life itself, wondering how it can be good when it’s full of tragedy and loss, questioning how I reconcile its beauty with its pain. I constantly need to remind myself that life is both hard and good, and for every moment that leaves me feeling wholeheartedly defeated, there are many more filled with serenity and joy. When I spend the hard moments reflecting on the possibility that tomorrow will be easier, I know that life is worth living.
8. I can live a fulfilling life.
I’ve spent far too much time trying to survive life that sometimes I forget to live it. I often catch myself worrying about whether or not I can truly find lasting love, happiness, and success. But even when my progress doesn’t feel significant or I think that I’m moving backwards in life, I remind myself that I feel far happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than I used to. I may not feel completely whole yet, but I have what it takes to build a fulfilling life.