What does it really mean to love yourself? Does it mean that you love your body and every inch of your skin, regardless of any of any 'flaws' you may believe you have? Is it loving your personality and all the quirks which make you so wonderfully unique? Is it the perfect balance between them, loving every inch of your entire being?
I used to think I knew what it was to love yourself, to be in perfect harmony with mind, body and soul. I remember, clear as day how carefree I was, how I didn't care what people thought, how I wore what I wanted. To some, this may not seem as loving yourself, but to me it was everything for my personal happiness.
Then I grew up. Suddenly, the world was filling us with the 'ideal body types' and the way we should all look. Insecurities grow, and I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I was eleven years old, and no longer knew how to love myself. I can't blame social media, or the celebrities who it idolised. My own thoughts consumed me for several years, but even through this time I did not even realise that I was still allowing myself to be who I was, in small ways. I never wore makeup, despite pressure from my peers. I slowly developed my own fashion sense, and made my hair how I wanted it. Even doing this, I never truly felt comfortable being myself and showcasing my personality. To me, loving myself meant loving my personality, and believing in who I was. I am fifteen, and I still don't love myself. I am learning to, slowly, but it takes time.
Not loving yourself right now is fine, no matter what age you are. Your body is adapting and changing, and it takes time to love every single new part of you. Each person has different experiences in life and your own mind works differently. Accepting this gets you one step closer to loving yourself. Learning to love you may come in baby steps, taking months or even years. It could happen overnight, or in a few days. How long it takes doesn't matter, because it will happen. It may feel like its never going to get better, that you may never feel comfortable being who you are, but it will. The storm will pass, you will love.
It's okay not to love yourself right now, because, one day, you will.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.