Ways I’ve Learned To Love Myself

How I've learned to love myself and what characteristics were the hardest for me to accept. See why it's important for a happy and healthy life!

I normally don’t write anything related to Valentine’s Day because it’s a holiday that I don’t really celebrate. By the time it rolls around each year, the only way I know it’s coming is by reading posts and buying all the delicious chocolates that start popping up in the stores.

This year, I wanted to take some time to talk about 7 things I have learned to love about myself. Even though there are things that you may not like or are embarrassed about, it’s important to learn to love it all!

1. Appearance

This is probably the biggest and most obvious one. Growing up, there was always someone that I thought was prettier and thinner than me. You know what? I was right! There will always be people who have characteristics that I want and will never have. My ideal woman had long legs, a perpetual tan, and looked like a Victoria’s Secret model. I always felt that my athletic build made me look stocky and my legs were too big.

It took years of trying to make myself look like someone I could never be to realize that it wasn’t feasibly possible. Even when I got as close as I could to my version of perfection, I still wasn’t happy. The tagline of this site, “wellness comes from within,” is a testament to the fact that fixing the outside will never make you as happy as finding it from within.

2. Feelings

Despite having a hard time expressing emotions growing up, I always felt them very strongly. Being faced with any kind of animal or child in need would INSTANTLY make me feel like my heart was breaking and I wanted to take care of everything that I could. Don’t even get me started on commercials with any kind of heart warming scenes.

I was also able to go very far on the other end of the spectrum and feel a sadness that’s hard to even put into words. I had trouble dealing with all these emotions, especially without an outlet, so I decided that they were destructive to my life and I should block them out.

Today, I love that I love things so much. I’m glad that I can experience these feelings, even if at times it can be uncomfortable. I feel like more of a well-rounded person and not as much of a robot.

Related: 8 Ways To Identify and Express Feelings

3. Depression

In the middle of last year I was diagnosed with depression. I can’t say that I was totally taken by surprise, but it was alarming to me that it had reached the point that it did. Despite all of my talk about transparency and breaking the stigma around any addiction or mental illness, my initial reaction was still “why can’t I be normal,” which, to me, is a thought that actually means “this makes me less of a person.”

For me (and MANY others), this is normal. There is no perfect and no definition of an ideal human being. I appreciate my struggle because it allows me to connect with other people who have gone through the same thing and it is another subject that I am personally involved with and can speak out about.

Related:

4.ย Voice

Growing up, I was in my school’s choir. By the time I got to 10th grade, I was a member of chamber choir, which was my school’s highest level. I was also TERRIFIED of anyone hearing me sing. I was fine in a group, but solo vocal tests literally almost made me throw up. I talked myself up about being such a good singer, but then refused to sing for anyone unless it was required. As the years went on, I built it up so much that I definitely knew that all the talk I was doing didn’t actually add up to my ability.

I didn’t sing around anyone else because I felt I was never good enough. Only recently (and after almost 5 years together) will I sing around Neil. It’s gotten to a point where I realized that I love to sing and if I want to do it, I’m going to do it. I definitely don’t think he will divorce me if I don’t meet his singing standards. Plus, I’m awesome.

5. Obsessive Tendencies

I can be a little OCD. My saying this is not to diminish anyone who has legitimate OCD issues, but ever since I was young I’ve had rituals or repetitions that I’ve incorporated into my life. They became so common that I didn’t even realize I was doing them and thankfully they didn’t interfere with much of my life. In addition to several others, I have a thing about symmetry so if, for instance, Neil will kiss me on the cheek I tell him to also kiss me on the other one or I’ll feel really uncomfortable. Of course he likes to terrorize me and run away without doing it or take furniture and move everything slightly crooked like an evil, evil man.

It’s not an everyday thing and often time will go by without it even being an issue. It also makes me hyper vigilant about dates and times and I have to check my alarm more than once or I can’t get to sleep (another one Neil likes to mock). What I’ve learned to love about it is that I am always super prepared and early to things and that’s alright in my book!

6. Introversion

I used to think that I was a bad person because I didn’t want to go hang out with people all the time and I HATED small talk. I found it pointless and draining. I preferred being home in the evenings and relaxing on the couch or reading a book. The thought of being out late with other people stressed me out, but that’s what a lot of my friends were doing, so I thought I was doing something wrong.

I love the introverted part of me. Now that I’ve learned to stop people pleasing and own my feelings, I have no problem letting people know that I’m not up for a party or if I go, that I’ll probably head out early. A lot of my previous behavior revolved around wanting people to like me, but now that I like myself just fine I can stick to what I do and don’t want to do.

7. Past

Obviously, this post would not be complete without referencing my past. It honestly didn’t take me long to accept what had happened and own those years as something that made me who I am today. Without it, I wouldn’t have any of the life I have today and this blog would cease to exist. It’s easy to be hard on yourself for past mistakes, but it’s almost easier to accept them when you’ve made SO MANY. If I used my past as a proverbial bat, I would be beaten down in no time. Rather than demean myself, I changed my perspective and looked at it with another view.

I can’t say that I love the things I did or the way I treated those I cared about, but I love that my journey has allowed me to become a better version of myself and that I am capable of repairing that damage to the best of my ability. I love the experience I gained and the opportunity to turn my life around for the better.

Related: My Struggle For A Healthy Lifestyle

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Question:

  • What things have you learned to love about yourself?
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33 Comments

  1. February 11, 2016 / 6:14 am

    One of my favorite quotes is that you never be enough for some people at your best, but the right person will love you at your worst. I think that should apply to ourselves as well.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…My 15 Minutes and Other ThoughtsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:07 pm

      #nailedit

  2. February 11, 2016 / 8:42 am

    Ohhh my goodness, I love this. Introversion has been a big one for me! Getting really comfortable with who I am and what I like is an ongoing process, but I am really happy to be able to honestly say that I like/love myself (even though there are some days where that feels a lot harder than others).
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #43My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      There’s always ups and downs but if you can say that on average you love yourself then I’d say that’s a win!

  3. February 11, 2016 / 8:43 am

    I completely agree about the introverted part. I used to hate that part of me but now I’m wise enough to know who I am and accept it and do what i want to do. Not put on a brave face and make the small talk that I hate if it doesn’t make me happy.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #58My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      I know! It was such a relief when I was able to own that

  4. February 11, 2016 / 8:52 am

    Oh, I love this Erin! Some of these really, really spoke to me. Especially the introversion! I can definitely be a huge extrovert when I want to, but for the most part, I find it exhausting mentally, because I’d much rather be in my own little bubble. I think becoming a mom helped me accept that I don’t have to alqays please everyone and be an extrovert when I don’t want to, because my son is a built in excuse to dip out on things:)
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…The Importance of Blogging AuthenticallyMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:09 pm

      Oh that’s a good one! That’s why I’m happy that I work so early in the morning sometimes BC that’s also a legitimate reason!

  5. February 11, 2016 / 9:37 am

    So much inspiration here Erin! I think loving yourself is a process throughout life. You don’t wake up one day and say “hey, I love myself.” It takes time, patience and trial and error.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…20 Comforting Snow Day RecipesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      I know–plus a lot of frustration along the way

  6. February 11, 2016 / 10:00 am

    Hi Erin,

    Thanks for sharing this and shedding light on raw emotions around mental health and the battle you continue to face. I blog as well for addiction and mental health. I’m really interested in connecting a bit more with you! You can check out my links at http://www.traddictiontreatment.com/blog/

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      Sure thing Sydney! I’ll check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. February 11, 2016 / 10:06 am

    Are we twins? Ok, no…because I can’t sing for $&@# (doesn’t stop me when Broadway tunes are playing!), but I was nodding my head “yes” to almost everything else.
    Hated my petite-yet-athletic build till recently (because it just ain’t gonna change!). Hated being an introvert till I realized its kind of awesome to reenergize alone. And I totally GET the symmetry thing.
    It’s a truly wonderful thing to be where you are and to love yourself – and your quirks and past troubles. Kudos to you!
    Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…What a Working Mom Really Wants for Valentineโ€™s DayMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      HELLO TWIN!

  8. February 11, 2016 / 10:08 am

    This is so great, Erin. One of the things I love most about getting older is becoming more comfortable with who I am as a person — quirks and all. I remember being super shy and ashamed to show my true self, but I’ve reached the point where I don’t really car anymore — what you see is what you get. And it’s honestly something I wish I could have done years and years ago because the freedom is a beautiful thing.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…excuse our mess, missing you, & the way to my heart (ToL#169)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:11 pm

      That’s exactly how I was too. I wish I could go back and have the same confidence I have now!

  9. February 11, 2016 / 10:29 am

    One of the best ways for me to spend alone time is to just pray, meditate, and listen to Scripture. It’s so comforting and wonderful to be with God and talk to my Heavenly Daddy through Jesus Christ.
    Emily recently posted…Guest Post: Almond Chocolate SquaresMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:11 pm

      That’s great! I’m so glad you have a routine that works for you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:12 pm

      Thanks for reading Hollie! It can definitely be a journey, but it’s a great process!

  10. February 11, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Learning to love my introverted side was a huge thing for me. I used to think I hated people, or was just super negative, but now I’ve learned I just prefer to be by myself, or with small groups of people. It’s also made it easier to hang out in bigger groups because I’ll give myself time to recharge.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Thinking Out Loud 2/11My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:13 pm

      Exactly. If I’m around too many people for too long i reach a point where I’m just done and I want to leave immediately. I can get real cranky haha

  11. Amber B
    February 11, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Wow I relate to this so much. It was hard to read without wanting to comment right away! I’ve been struggling with emotions, depression, my introversion for a few years now, but I also relate to the other points (depression tends to be all-consuming). It definitely takes time to love yourself. In all ways, through the good and the bad. I especially struggle with my past/being destructive, but I know I’m now at a better place and can be and do better. I’m still in the process of gaining back self-love, firstly by taking care of myself physically and trying more to mentally ๐Ÿ™‚ Reading posts like this helps!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 11, 2016 / 5:13 pm

      That’s great Amber I’m so glad you could relate! It’s always a process and I really try and take it one day at a time. I’m glad you’re walking the walk!

  12. February 11, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    It’s crazy to think back to when you were younger when WHAT YOU LOOKED LIKE defined who you were as a person. It’s appalling to think about now! Ugh. What’s really really sad is I feel like it only is worse these days…. My fiance’s niece follows me on IG (she’s 11!!! gah) and I follow her back and every post is “like this photo if you think I am pretty” – It makes me so so so sad! ๐Ÿ™
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Fon-Doing With PlantFusionMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 12, 2016 / 2:39 pm

      Oh no that breaks my heart! Send that girl some self love!

  13. February 12, 2016 / 11:16 am

    I love you so much. These posts are my favorite. I’ve had a hard time accepting that I’m always going to be someone who “feels” things a lot more deeply than most — that includes the highs and the low lows. Just gotta take the good times for the good and let yourself feel the sadness when necessary. Thanks, therapy!

    You’re amazing.
    Lauren @ i had a big lunch recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Ebay, donuts, and the great grammar epidemicMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 12, 2016 / 2:43 pm

      Aw you’re so sweet. Love you back!

  14. February 12, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    growing through ALL these makes us wise and stronger. That in itself makes us love us more, amen?!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 12, 2016 / 2:45 pm

      Exactly!

  15. February 13, 2016 / 2:16 am

    I’m the exact same way about singing! I was in a few auditioned choirs in high school because I was good, but I never sang alone for anyone. By senior year I’d relaxed enough to do a few solos, but I never auditioned for any other groups again and sadly I’m not a singer anymore. I don’t sing for anyone and never even tell them that I used to sing because then they’ll want to hear me sing. But you’re right, we’re awesome and we need to do what we’re good at and what makes us happy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kristen recently posted…Friday Five: My Five Valentines in 2016My Profile

  16. February 14, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    I hate small talk too – it wears me out!! And…I STILL can’t sing aloud in front of Ray…wonder when/if I’ll get over that one! I’ve learned to love myself through not taking things personally. I’m not good at it 24/7, but not giving a shit about what people think about me allows me to worry less, stress less, and be more myself.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…6 Oat Recipes for Heart HealthMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 15, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      Sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job!

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