Hello, It’s Me: How to Practice Self-Love & Acceptance

Growing up, I only know two adjectives that best describe myself: Talented and smart. I was never the “beautiful” or the “sexy” one – always the smart one, talented one, the good leader, and the charismatic (class) President.

While I do appreciate how people see me as a person, a part of me always wondered how it felt like to be called beautiful and sexy – even just for once, twice, or always?

When I turned 30 years old, people started telling me, “You’re beautiful” or “You’re sexy!” I’m like, are you serious? Are you blind? Which part of me is beautiful or sexy? What do you want? Was that a compliment or an insult?

Then it got me to thinking, what just happened there? Did people change? No. Perhaps it was me who changed, how I viewed myself changed and in time, I got used to people telling me I’m beautiful or sexy.

Well, it was hard at first – believe me! Until now, I’m still not 100 percent convinced, but how did I manage to believe it was somehow a compliment?

1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You see, not everyone appreciates Asian or Caucasian beauties, skinny or chubby, dark or white skinned, curly or straight hair. It depends on someone’s preference or definition of beauty. Some don’t even bother with looks. They focus on the personality. 

I personally like funny guys – the genuinely funny guys and not the trying hard funny ones. I really do. So when a guy can make me laugh, as in laugh ‘til my belly hurts, well, that’s plus points. It brings the attraction to a higher level.

2. Love your curls. When I was in high school, all girls who were tagged as “pretty” had long and shiny hairs. I was so envious that time because I have curly hair and how I wished I had straight hair too. 

So I tried all sorts of expensive hair treatments just to straighten my hair, only leaving my hair damaged in time. Soon, I learned to accept that I’m not like the rest. I’m unique because of my curls. I began going to salon for hot oils and colors to enhance my curls and I let it down once in a while.  And you know what? People would tell me how they loved my hair and how they wished they had curls, too. See what I mean?

3. Love your body. Most Filipinas are skinny, petite and have small body frames and for other people, that’s their definition of being “sexy”. So when you’re a bit heavy or on the curvy side, you’ll often hear remarks, comments, criticisms, or ridicules about your body weight or eating habits. Trust me! I am a victim of body/fat shaming. I struggle everyday to be skinny and to achieve people’s standard of being “sexy” to the point of fasting, skipping meals, and starving myself.

When I got busy at work, achieving the “perfect” body became more difficult as I have lesser time to exercise but more time to eat, which is not healthy anymore. I realized while some people are right about my heavy weight, it’s really time to love my body more by eating healthier foods and exercising not to have that perfect body but to be healthy.

4. See the good in every people. It’s hard to see the good in every people when you don’t feel good about yourself. But that’s the thing, as we find positive aspects in other people we get better at seeing positive aspects of ourselves.

What do you feel when people compliment you about the dress you’re wearing or the little thing you did? You felt good right? If you want to feel good, start by making other people feel good. I made it a habit to compliment people every chance I got because not only it makes them happy, it also made me really and genuinely happy.

5. It’s not you, it’s them. I’m sure you’ve heard this line before. They say you can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in you. If they always find something wrong in you, he’s got a problem, not you.

They say “people with low self-esteem are 80 percent more likely to criticize others or put them down in order to make themselves feel better, tougher, and smarter. The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.” Also, normal people don’t put others down. When people feel about themselves, they will try to point out something in you to make you feel bad.

6. Know your strengths and weaknesses. It took me two years of training in the military school to discover what I’m capable of doing and not – that I have fear of heights but I can also run, sprint, hike, swim, or jump off from a 10-ft diving board, which I honestly didn’t think I can do before.

I was not even into running when I was a civilian. But when I entered the military school, I had to pass my physical fitness tests (e.g. push-ups, sit-ups, 3.2-km run, flex hang ) or else, I’ll get kicked out of the academy. I dreaded all physical activities back then because they were always forced or required on us. Surprisingly after I was discharged from the academy, running has become part of my life. When I have time, I try to run three to four times a week. I began to appreciate its benefits on improving my overall health and well-being.

You see, it took me years to finally love and accept myself. It was a process. And it just doesn’t happen overnight. Even big-time models, actresses, actors, and celebrities have insecurities about themselves too but they excelled in their respective fields because they chose to highlight their assets rather than their liabilities.

While I still wanted to hear people complimenting me about being beautiful and sexy, it’s not as important as being good or better in what I do. In my case, I wanted people to appreciate my writing and other talents beyond my beauty.

Always remember, “Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.”

 

This is a monthly blog collaboration and our theme for September is Self-Love and Acceptance. For more stories, check out these amazing and truly inspiring writers who participated in this blog collaboration. Happy reading and hope we inspired you:

Joel Scott: Self-Love and Acceptance

Tajwar Fatma: Self-Love and Acceptance

Jane Love: Why You Should Love Yourself

Jothish Joseph: Self-love and Acceptance

Barb Caffrey: Why Is Self-Acceptance So Damn Hard?

Addison D’Marko: Self-Acceptance and Self Love

Sadaf Siddiqi: Self-Love and Acceptance

Nicolle K: Self-Love & Acceptance, Self-Esteem, & Writing Self-Compassionate Letters

Sonyo Estavillo: Self-Respect Means Knowing What Love Is & What Love Is Not

Manal Ahmad: Self-Love and Acceptance

Ipuna Black: Self-Love and Acceptance

Camilla Motte: How to Love Yourself

Divyang Shah: Self-Love and Acceptance

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