Recognize your worth

by Jennifer Boyd (17, Mass., USA)

It’s hard to feel confident in our media-saturated society, regardless of your age or gender. We are bombarded daily by images of (ostensibly) flawless models wherever we go, and we so often feel the urge to compare ourselves. We devalue our own beauty. The first step to self love is to recognize your own beauty as intrinsic and highly individual. Here are 6 ways to inaugurate your journey towards unequivocal self love and acceptance. 

1. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror 
Some days, my skin looks less than ideal. I’ve struggled to confront my imperfections, and I’ve shied away from my mirror on numerous occasions. But, every time I do look in the mirror, I try to find something new to fall in love with. Lately, I’ve been appreciating my incredibly deep, chestnut-brown eyes. I realize that my features are beautiful, even though I am not perfect. Find the beauty in the features you take for granted - the soft curve of your dimples, your irresistible face shape. It’s all gorgeous. 

2. Positive affirmations 
How many times have you told yourself, “I’m ugly” or “I’m fat”? Most likely, you’ve repeated these phrases more than you’ve said, “I’m beautiful.” It’s time to supplant the negative affirmations. Remind yourself out loud of your beauty, your charm, your wit, and all of your other lovely traits. The brain loves repetition. YouTube is an excellent resource for affirmations you can listen to. You may feel silly at first, but you’ll soon notice a dynamic change in your self confidence. 

3. Remember that it’s OK to wear makeup 
We so often jump to all-or-nothing thinking during the self love journey. While it’s important to love the skin you’re in, it’s also great to feel extra gorgeous while dedicating a little extra time to your beauty routine. Treat yourself - you’re worth every minute that you spend curling your lashes and applying blush. 

4. Develop your faith or spirituality 
Even if you don’t practice a religion, knowing what you believe in is crucial to the self love process. I felt more confident once I began to explore my own personal spiritual beliefs. You’ll feel more beautiful knowing that your body is only one piece of you; you’re a mind and a soul, as well! 

5. Practice your art 
We’re all so talented in our own ways. Whether you’re skilled in writing, drawing, singing, or computer coding, it’s important to do the things you excel at! Honing your talent and immersing yourself in your art will make you feel unstoppable. 

6. Recognize and acknowledge the beauty in others
Growing up, I often felt envious of other girls. I had forgotten that there are different types of beauty and that comparing myself to others is pointless. Comment on girls’ selfies on Instagram, and compliment strangers who make you look twice as you walk past them on the street. You’ll feel a special kind of warmth knowing that you helped others love themselves a little more, too. 
Low self-esteem days are inevitable, but you can easily overcome them by getting in the habit of recognizing your own intrinsic beauty. Always remember that self love is a transformative process and a never ending journey. When we love ourselves, we see every facet of our lives change radically and for our benefit. As Samira Wiley said, “we can climb mountains with self love.”



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