I’ve been told that owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. A lot of people these days think self-love is all about makeovers or looking pretty, but they couldn’t be more wrong. I’m here to tell you that loving yourself isn’t chocolate cakes and buying clothes, it’s making the choice to build a life you don’t need to escape from. Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity.
Ask yourself this daily, are you truly at peace with everything that has and is going on in your life? It’s a simple question really but it has the ability to make even the strongest minds rewind. I’m sure we’ve all had our fair shares of mistakes in the past or even right now and everyone just needs to know that a dose of healing is all we need, even when you don’t want it.
For the longest time, I couldn’t heal because I kept pretending that I wasn’t hurt, wasn’t damaged. Instead of spending time on myself, I buried everything deep within and distracted myself with work, acting as if everything was fine, but it wasn’t and it will never be if I didn’t take the time to heal.
Healing takes courage and courage is not about having the strength to go on, it’s going on when you don’t have the strength. Burying your emotions and pain one after the other is basically the easy way out. Convincing yourself that you’re okay even when you’re clearly not is lying to yourself, it’s ignoring the truth for temporary happiness. As frail and delicate human beings, there are limits and once the cup starts to spill, there’s no turning back.
So, why settle for happiness that can only last for a month when you can have it for a lifetime? Stop slapping on plasters over your wounds, stop telling yourself “No, I can’t.”, and instead begin your days with “Yes, I will.” Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed, it means the damage no longer controls you.
Comparison is the thief of joy, so stop comparing yourself to others too. God had the power to make us all one, but He chose diversity for a reason, He chose to make us all different in the assurance that every single one of us is unique in our own ways. Yes, someone went through the same things you have and yet, the person’s doing just fine. But just press pause and think to yourself, everyone can be carrying the same weight, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find it heavy. If I’ve learnt anything from the past 16 years, it’s to never measure your progress with someone else’s ruler.
Another form of loving yourself is owning the person you’ve grown to be. Embrace your flaws and quit trying to change yourself because you’re not broken, you’re far from it. You’re perfectly imperfect and powerful beyond measure. Everyone on Instagram might seem perfect without a single flaw in sight, but we’ll never know the things they choose to shield from the rest of the world. Your flaws are what makes you, YOU. They make you different and separate you from the rest. Your flaws make you human so why would you ever want to rid yourself of the main source of your humanity and compassion?
Bask in your flaws, learn to love yourself in the darkness instead of trying to escape it. Beauty begins the moment you decide to be the truest version of yourself. Everyone, especially teenagers, needs to be aware of the fact that self-care is a priority and necessity, not a luxury that only qualified people can afford. Every day is a gentle reminder that your body is the only one you have so treat it well, recharge as often as you recharge your phone. It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up. Always put yourself at the top of your to-do list and be kind to your soul. Caring for yourself steers you in the direction of what self-love actually feels like.
Loving yourself is being brave enough to lower down your mask and getting to know who you are underneath it all. Stop worrying about other people and worry about yourself instead. Self-love is choosing yourself over and over again even when no one else would because, in the end, you’re the one there for you. Make someone smile every day but never forget you are that someone too, you must love yourself to love others. Work on you, not for anyone else but yourself because you deserve to be happy and you deserve to be loved. Time waits for no men and the world would just keep spinning with or without you, so why not make this next trip around the sun about you?
This article is written by Wong En Qi from SMK Convent Bukit Nanas and she is currently writing under Taylor's Writing Apprenticeship Programme. She is also an avid reader of sci-fi books and has an unhealthy addiction to caffeine.
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