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‘Look down, don’t look up, your face is ugly, and your hair is messy, you don’t want to give someone something awful to look at’. This was just one of the many voices in my head that repeated itself like a mantra.
Simply saying I had low self-esteem was an understatement. I used to hang my head down when I travelled using public transport, because I thought I didn’t look good enough. I would cringe every time my group of friends snapped a picture with me because all I saw was how I, an ugly duckling had ruined the entire photo. I would literally be adjusting my hair once every 10 minutes a day to an extent that some people close to me started teasing me about it.
I can’t recall exactly when I developed this very damaging self-doubt. I guess I hated myself more than someone who hated me ever could. I reached a stage where all I wanted to do, was make people like me.
I fed my self-doubting ego with their praises on how I was such a good soul, but nothing I ever did was was out of pure genuinity. I figured, if I couldn’t look good on the outside, at least I could be one of those people with the “golden hearts” on the inside that everyone loved.
When it came to people’s birthdays, I was always going the extra mile, in buying gifts throwing parties and making it special for them. In fact, I even gave gifts when it wasn’t even their birthday. I was overly helpful, and always put people’s opinions before mine. If somebody said something was ugly, it was ugly. If somebody said the trend was nice, the trend was nice. Everything everyone said was “Yes, and Amen.” Hence, people liked me! I was the ‘perfect friend’ and they never had any sort of resistance coming from my end of the line.
However, I was burning out and it was eating me up on the inside. I could never voice my own opinion and meeting up to everyone’s expectation started to take a toll on me on the long haul. Then there was the part where I would feel so dejected and hurt when the number of likes on Instagram and Facebook pictures, did not suffice. I used to spend hours getting that perfect angle, and perfect quote for Instagram just to draw in the likes to yet again feed my self-doubt.
Eventually, I got into a toxic relationship with my best friend’s ex, and everything started going downhill from there. My insecurities were magnified and I started giving myself away in ways I never should have just to keep him in the relationship. Needless to say, things started getting really ugly and we called it off about a year and a half later.
You know the saying, ‘It can take years to mould a dream but it takes only a fraction of a second for it to be shattered’? That’s exactly what happened to me. Within a couple of weeks after the breakup, I became the girl who failed in her relationship, betrayed her best friend, and the girl who ‘might take your boyfriend’. Everything I worked for, was gone, and I lost a huge amount of friends.
It was at this very junction of my life, when I was hiding in shame, being broken hearted and feeling completely alone, that it dawned on me, if I couldn’t love, and take care of my own person, I was going to be in this state forever. I made a decision that day that I was done throwing myself a pity party, and only I could make my life worth living and it started with me.
I snipped my hair short not wanting to be bound to “my” definition of beauty at the time. I looked at the mirror everyday, accepted how I looked and constantly told myself that I looked beautiful. I dragged myself back to the saloon every month for a haircut just to teach myself to accept change easily. Often times, the haircut would look weird, but I told myself it would grow back, accepted the way I looked and proudly walked around with my short hair.
I stopped posting pictures on Instagram, and Facebook because I didn’t need the world’s approval nor for them to know what I was up to in my life. Privacy mattered, and I wanted to give myself time to work on me.
I stopped keeping my phone by my side 24/7 and texting people when I felt alone. Instead, I started doing other things to cure my loneliness. I spent time reading books, going out to malls, and enjoyed my own company. I learnt to watch movies, eat, and value time with myself.
Its funny how, it was in the solitude, where I found myself.
Fast forward 4 years. I have made real genuine friends that cherish me and love me regardless of my past. Being independent has taught me to handle situations on my own without having to be at someone else’s mercy. Voicing out opinions and giving constructive feedback is something I practice regularly now.
My one book has multiplied into a mini library at my home as of this moment. I keep my short hair now because I have grown fond of it, and love how I look. Now that I appreciate myself, my confidence rubs on to others, and they are able to value and appreciate me as well. Discipline has become both my teacher and friend, but nobody says it better than Will Smith did in a youtube video, “Self-discipline is the definition of self-love.”
It was never easy to begin with, but nothing is more fulfilling and rewarding than having done something for yourself, that makes you proud.
So, stop throwing yourself a pity party,
Dust off the past, love yourself, and
Own Your Life.