how i learned to love myself

I’ve talked quite a bit about how I’ve struggled with low self- esteem and body image issues but today I wanted to talk a bit about how I regained confidence in myself. My journey really began when I watched a documentary called Miss Representation, a documentary which goes into detail about the misrepresentation of women in the media. I got goosebumps. I cried. I was shocked. I was angry. Women are viewed as objects in the media and society and little else. It’s just accepted and this is naturally how I found my place in the world. After watching this eye- opening documentary, I began to soak up everything I could on feminism and all things related. Feminism has this wonderful focus on loving yourself as you are. I know every inch of my body because I have spent many hours scrutinizing every. bit. of. it. Feminism taught me how to turn the loathing I felt for my body into positive feelings. When I hear the negative voice in my head, I quickly shut it down and replace it with something positive. I love my curves. I love the shape of my hips. I have smooth skin! It sounds silly but it has really made THE biggest difference. I have also moved my incessant focus on my body to my mind. Feminism has been about self- discovery and what makes me tick. What are my passions? What am I all about? I am having the most amazing time getting to know myself all over again. She was always in there but she was buried underneath a lot of negativity.

One of the things that I love about feminism is not only the self- love movement but the sisterly love. How can you not be on board with that? Learning to love myself as well as being supportive of other women was so important to my healing. I spent a lot of time being jealous and feeling competitive with other women and it finally feels so good to be able to let those feelings go and champion other women. I don’t have to be #1. There can be lots of us that have the same interests and the same goals and we can learn from each other and everyone wins.

Of course, things don’t always go smoothly and I still sometimes feel insecure with myself and my body. I am having to undo years and years of damage, after all. It takes a great deal of practice and a refusal to subject myself to harmful media (certain magazines, movies, tv shows, etc). This quote from Gloria Steinem always reminds me of the importance of staying focused: “If you and I, every time we pass a mirror, complain about our looks, remember that a girl is watching us and that is what she is learning.” I just want better for my daughter and for future generations.

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