I really like myself.
I didn’t always like myself.
In fact, I think it’s only in the past two-three years that I really started liking myself.
It’s funny, in a sad way. I spent all of high school and college trying to act “normal” and “cool,” so that people wouldn’t think I was weird, or odd, or different. Consequently, anytime I did ANYTHING, I panicked over how I was perceived about it. So it became a lose-lose situation. And I firmly believe that positivity and confidence is attractive and magnetic, so the opposite was certainly repelling and unappealing. It’s not a coincidence to me that I met the love of my life (and the first and only guy I have ever truly dated) once my self-confidence skyrocketed and I started loving myself. Nor is it a coincidence that my generalized anxiety and panic attacks settled down once I started liking myself. It’s funny — all the work we do to “protect” ourselves just makes it worse in the end.
But now, I embrace my weirdness. I am quirky and I LOVE that. I love laughing at myself. I say what’s on my mind, I say weird things, I make people giggle. I let my students laugh at me when I sing during a therapy session or do something completely embarrassing. It helps them see that I’m human. And maybe it’ll help them feel more comfortable laughing at themselves, too.
I love my sensitivities, even when they make life tricky for me. I love my quirks, my ruminations, my intuition. I don’t pretend to enjoy going to clubs or bars anymore. I don’t pretend to enjoy things I don’t like. I tell it like it is. I’m honest with myself and others about my likes, dislikes, interests, fears. I’m real. I really just love myself. And that’s not to say I’m happy all of the time, because I’m not. But happiness and self-love can be separate things. I can love myself and also be sad sometimes. And that’s okay.