Loving Myself

Meghan - Lander, Wyoming
Entered on May 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

With the lack of confidence in our appearance and abilities, the world is full of “born losers”. Society prepares its members to disappoint themselves. Where does it stop? Take for example my friend, Nicole’s, niece. I’ll never forget this particular visit. The little girl stood in front of a mirror for an estimated 15 minutes time. Finally, breaking her silence, she turned to my friend and asked, “Aunt ‘Cole, am I fat?”.

I was disgusted. Five years old and already she had it in her head that she needed to cut down on the Snack Packs®. I was disgusted and yet ashamed at the same time. As a teenage girl, I’ve cut my body down and critiqued myself down to the shape of my kneecaps. As a role model, I find that my actions only encourage these young girls to demean and to listen to the media’s harsh messages. And it isn’t all in appearance; negative messages are destroying out self-worth.

This all made me realize that we need to love ourselves. This is such a common proposal, I know, but it never seems to stick. People cannot adhere to their own advice. I was created the way I was for a reason. It is very selfish for me to even begin to criticize myself. I have a beautiful body, personality, mind, and soul. If I allow small things such as a size 0 model or a more achieved co-worker to make me feel any less, I’m only succumbing to the negative messages and granting the media control. When I begin to feel bad about myself, I realize now that I have a choice. I can allow the media to have absolute control and allow negativity to poison my self image. OR, I can stop myself and think that I’m amazing and I am human. I fail sometimes and I may not look a certain way. But in the end, I am me and that is a beautiful thing. I am not destined to fail, I can control my future.

Similar to the worried niece, I have met several people who pollute their own minds with nonsense. They are constantly calling themselves “idiots”, “failures”, “losers”, and every other insult you can imagine. This is ludicrous to me! One is never a “destined failure”. They are honestly trained to think pessimistically of themselves and to be unforgiving to their own mistakes. With an attitude such as this, success is unattainable. I have taught myself to accept criticism and change it into more than negativity, but a lesson learned.

I am grateful for this epiphany. At eighteen years old, I am lucky if I can avoid any judgment from my peers or family. But in the end, I simply remember that I am me. Nobody will ever change that and nobody will ever make me feel any less. I love myself and I don’t need anyone else to tell me why I should or shouldn’t.