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5 Easy(ish) Steps to Loving Yourself

5 Easy(ish) Steps to Loving Yourself

A question I hear a lot is: Was it easy—you know, the whole learning to love yourself thing? It wasn’t easy; it fact, it took me awhile. I had always considered myself a pretty average human being. Nothing too special about me besides the fact that not many people liked me, or so I thought. I was completely misunderstood in high school and had my fair share of bullying. And in my case(s), I was always the "victim." It was then that I realized I needed to stand up for myself and love myself for who I am—and not what others think. These steps below helped me learn to love myself and quite honestly, I have never been happier than I am because of it.

1. Having a support system—or even one superfan—is important. You may think, “Hold up. What do my parents have to do with who I am?” The short answer: A LOT. If it weren't for my openness and trust in my parents, I wouldn’t be the way I am today. It helps to be honest with your parents, but if yours don’t give you the support you need, lean on your friends. Whether you have ten pals or just one, it’s important to let them know that you aren't always as happy as you seem. Open up and explain your insecurities. This involves a lot of trust, and you’re going to feel a bit vulnerable (not going to lie!), but it'll only make you stronger.

2. Learn to accept your flaws. Everyone has something they're insecure about—literally everyone—but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It took me a very long time (years, in fact!) to learn that what others think about you doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t.

I was always made fun of for being taller than everyone as I proudly inherited my father’s height. In elementary school, boys constantly made fun of my big feet and long arms and legs, but I never once let it bring me down. I love being tall. I love it so much that I can't wait to be 5'10" in a few years. Another thing that took some time to love is the bump on my nose that I commonly refer to as Mt. Everest. My thinking: That's how I was made, so why change it? This bump was obviously put there for a reason. It also helped me to notice that a lot of girls who model, act, and dance don’t have straight noses, which made me feel better about myself, too.

I read a post on Tumblr one night that explained how we all start off as blank canvases. And as we age we get painted with birthmarks, freckles, scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. These marks prove that we are all art, whether we see it that way or not. Even if you don't see yourself as a worthy masterpiece, someone else does.

3. Be you. (Also, be a leader.) Now that you've learned to accept your flaws—congrats, PS!—own it. Don't follow other people's ideas of what they think you should do to your body, hair, or face. Own up to those gorgeous freckles you have all over you. You don't need to cover them up with makeup (side note: if you love your freckles and you love makeup, there’s nothing wrong with that, either). All I'm saying is do whatever you want, because it’s your life. And the sooner you learn to accept the things you don't like about yourself and change them into positive thoughts, the happier you will be with not only yourself, but with the world. And trust me, people will notice.

4. New friends will find a way into your life. The right friends will stumble across your path and those are the ones to hold onto a little longer than the rest. But also, remember that things come and go, so sometimes they're only meant to stay for awhile then leave.

5. Help others learn to love themselves. Guess what? You've made it to step five: You love yourself. That was easy, wasn’t it? (Just kidding.) But this is the most important step, because not only will you feel like a better person, but you’ll also have the opportunity to help others struggling with insecurities. Teach them how to accept their flaws and change their negative thoughts to positive ones, the same way you just learned.

By Delilah Sandoval, 16

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