It begins and ends with self-love.

It begins and ends with self-love.

My first love
was some insignificant boy
when it should have been
myself.
~ Michelle K.

Thoughts become things. You’ve heard it before and you’ll see it a lot on this blog. The more you fixate and obsess over your perceived flaws, the more flawed you will become (in your own eyes, of course.) It’s not enough to accept that others aren’t staring at your blemish because this still comes from a place of external validation; you need to appreciate your own unique beauty, flaws and all, regardless of others’ opinions. I know, I know. It’s harder than it seems. In fact, it’s a journey. Each day offers the opportunity to make strides in the direction of self-love. Why is self-love so important? Because one day, you will have clear, beautiful skin.  And it still won’t matter. You will find something else about your appearance or personality or accomplishments to ruminate on. Confidence comes from a place of acknowledging and liking who you are. With or without “perfect” skin.

Here’s a little story.

When I hit puberty, my skinny pre-pubescent frame suddenly developed curves. I became very shy, self-conscious, and hated how “fat” I was. In my junior year of high school I decided to do something about it. I developed a strenuous workout regimen and cut my calorie intake to virtually nothing. I assumed losing weight was a one-way ticket to pretty. And I did lose weight. People commented and congratulated me, but the confidence never came. (I eventually took diet and exercise too far, but that’s another story for another time.) I still didn’t feel pretty. At the end of the day, the opinions of others did nothing to boost my feelings of self-worth. I had to learn to love myself, skinny or not.

When my skin went haywire in my mid-20s, the self-love journey started all over again. Even when it cleared up during my pregnancy, it did nothing to boost my shattered self-image. Just like being thin, I thought clear skin was the key to feeling good about myself. It wasn’t. The only thing holding me back from being happy was simply being happy. Clear skin or not.

I still struggle with the idea of self-love every day, but it’s something I strive for every time I look in the mirror. Society has conditioned us to focus on our flaws. But you know what? It’s time to replace those negative thoughts with an “I’m awesome” mantra. That’s when the real healing starts.