“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
 “Being extremely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” – Sigmund Freud
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Growing up was a confusing time for me. Figuring out friends, school, and sports was tough for me.    I didn’t realize how my experiences and responses would make who I am today.  I doubt most of us do.  During my teen years, I desired so badly to be liked by the popular kids.  I put up with getting bullied and feeling ostracized only to be considered part of the “cool” group.  Looking back, I did this instead of making friends with those who actually wanted to spend time with me. They weren’t my first choice, but they celebrated me as one of their own.  Definitely lost opportunities.

I allowed others to determine my identity for a while.  Their bullying and constant negativity towards me created feelings of self doubt and inadequacy.  I got rejected multiple times from “friends” and potential dates. Those same people left me out of social gatherings and not included in conversations. I beat myself up.  I blamed myself for getting treated this way.  I was always told high school was tough. I figured this was the way things were.  Ultimately, I did not have the awareness to realize I deserved better.

It took a long time for me to think other wise.  College was a better experience.  I made friends who celebrated me and included me in their lives.  I found classes and extracurricular where I was respected.  Even through college, I had moments of elf doubt and inadequacy.  I never felt I deserved dates or promotions at my campus job.  Again, beating myself and only feeding my low self esteem more.  While college was great, it could have been a lot better.  Again, I did not value myself enough to know what I could achieve.

Fast forward to now.  The professional and young adult process has been an up and down process to be true.  But, I have learned how to come to terms with my past and create a better future.  I have learned that people will not value you unless you do.  I have learned that people will feel how you feel about yourself when they meet you.  Your body language, communication, and confidence derives itself from your self image.  People can smell insecurity from a mile away.  It’s the ultimate repellent from making a true connection.  Through this process, I have learned I need to come to peace with myself. I need to face my flaws and accept them. I have to by kind to myself.  I have to be like a best friend to me.  I have determined I will not let myself down anymore.  I will love who I am and who I can be.  You may be asking, how can I make this change?  Here’s how I did it:
-I went to a therapist
-I journaled daily
-I spoke kindly to myself
-I stopped taking things seriously
-I cut off people who did not have my best interest at heart
-I spoke positive affirmations daily
-I took care of my health- eating well and working out

Yes, there were some hurdles and disappointments.  I still make mistakes.  But, I have accepted who I am and who I am not.  It took plenty of trial and error.  It took patience.  And, I am still working through it.  But, I choose each day to accept, respect, and love myself.  And, you can too.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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