Choose to Love Yourself (Even When the World Says You Shouldn’t)

Choose to Love Yourself (Even When the World Says You Shouldn't) | Positively Smitten

I’ve been overweight my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been the “big girl.”

I never minded when I was younger. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, and frankly, I didn’t notice. When you’re young, you don’t compare yourself to your friends. They are who they are and you are who you are and no deeper thought goes into it.

But somewhere along the line, other people noticed my size and pointed it out to me. I became an easy target. Something about me was different.

And somewhere along the line, I chose to believe them. I began to feel different. I felt less than and unworthy. I felt deeply ashamed of my body.

It began with the greatest lie our culture tells women: to be worthy, you must look this way, act this way, and do these things. It ended with me buying into it.

Here’s the truth as I know it: people will always judge. You can be deemed too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too ugly, too beautiful – it doesn’t matter what “it” is, because “it” will always exist and judging will always be human nature.

So what do you do when you’re confronted with this inevitable reality? You can choose one of three options:

  • Fight back and direct your energy outward, believing others are the problem.
  • Take on everyone else’s opinion as your own and rob yourself of the life you’re meant to live.
  • Direct your energy inward, forgive those who judge you, rid yourself of bitterness, and fight back in the most powerful way possible: love yourself anyway.

We can expend our energy fighting, bickering and pointing out all the reasons why people are wrong to judge. We can also wilt away by believing society’s claim that we’re undeserving and use it as an excuse to not grasp our own power.

Or, we can deflect every perception by shattering it with our inner confidence. We can be fabulous. We can dare to succeed. We can choose to see the truth: that our bodies are ours and nobody else’s, and we have the right to love them just as they are.

The moment I realized that the problem was not how society perceived me, but rather it was how I perceived myself, everything changed.

I stopped viewing myself through everybody else’s eyes and began to view me through my own. I realized that I like my curves. I like having meat on my bones. I began to feel beautiful in my own skin. I began to understand that I am more than a body, and I am most attractive when I let my real self radiate through.

It’s true that we live in a society where women are constantly criticized for their appearance and the underlying belief is that a woman’s value is directly related to how she stacks up against cultural standards of beauty. But despite these very real societal pressures, women still have a choice.

Though somebody’s opinion can often bring up feelings of rejection and unworthiness, we can choose to understand that the most important relationship we’ll ever have is the relationship with ourselves. Knowing this will help us focus on self-love instead of relying on the acceptance of others.

While putting ourselves out there makes us even more vulnerable to judgment, we can push through our fears and choose to share our truth and unique beauty with the world anyway. Frankly, the world needs it. To hide it or be ashamed of it would defeat the purpose of our existence.

And when someone judges us, we can choose to forgive them. People’s judgments are never as personal as we think; rather, they are a reflection of their own inner turmoil.

Above all, even when we’re told that we’re not good enough, we can still choose to love ourselves. All cultural standards of beauty do is hide one of the greatest universal truths: we are all beautiful, we are all unique, and we are all worthy. It’s time that we began to acknowledge and celebrate it.

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10 responses to “Choose to Love Yourself (Even When the World Says You Shouldn’t)

  1. WOW. OK, this is excellent. It made me cry…I even ran and got my mom to read it together! I just want to hug you for writing this (and writing it so well). I wish every girl in the world, or anyone dealing with self esteem issues, could read this. “People’s judgments are never as personal as we think; rather, they are a reflection of their own inner turmoil” – why aren’t we taught this in school?!?!

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    • Steph, you have no idea how much this means to me! Knowing this made you cry made ME cry…WE HAVE SO MANY TEARS. Thank you so much for your support. You are the best!

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  2. Liz, I’m crying reading this. I can remember back to one of the first things us bonding over was our weight. Nobody understood me like you did and when I felt completely alone in the entire world, there you were.

    Thinking back to that time, how we felt unworthy and ugly and flawed and ashamed… and reading this, now, and thinking about how far we’ve come leaves me speechless. We always used to work so hard to lift each other up — and you’d tell me, “I wish you could see you like I see you,” and I’d tell you the same. It felt impossible, then, as teens constantly told that we weren’t good enough and that we’d never be good enough, all because we were “too fat” by some imaginary person’s standards.

    And now? Here we are. You see you like I see you. And you’re honestly a beautiful person, and you inspire me, and I can’t imagine my life without you. I’m so proud of you. THANK YOU for being my best friend and for teaching me to love myself and for putting all of these things I’ve felt inside down on paper. Love you so much!

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    • Just so you know, this made me a blubbering mess. And just so you know, I wish I could hold a mirror up and say the same exact things to you. Your friendship has helped me grow so much and I don’t know what I would do without you! You are an inspiration to me and words can’t express how proud I am of you. I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS!!! I love you so much, thank you for your never-ending support, I just hope I can re-pay you someday!

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  3. Amazing article, Amazing thoughts. So glad the world now knows….Love to the amazing person you are and will be!

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  4. amazing article – so touched by this. My boyfriend (ad of recently – ex!) broke me down and told me I was overweight. He called me a pig, and just looked at me in disgust… once I started loving myself- I realized he was tortured by simply being himself… My favorite line” Direct your energy inward, forgive those who judge you, rid yourself of bitterness, and fight back in the most powerful way possible: love yourself anyway.” … couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for this read, you have no idea how much it means!!!!

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    • Jessica, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I’m so glad you realized that your ex boyfriend’s judgments had nothing to do with you. I am so touched that this article resonated with you…thank you for reading and I wish you all the best!

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