Loving Yourself Isn’t Vanity, It’s Sanity

 If you want to do good things in the world, start by being a fan of yourself. 

This post comes from our new friend, Bethany Toews.

I got my first bikini in the 7th grade. I can still remember how excited I was for my belly button to no longer be a secret I kept from the boys. The day I finally wore it to the lake, my joy was immediately drowned out by the majestic C-cups of an 8th grade girl wearing the exact same bikini. All the promise of youthful sex appeal I had treasured in the dressing room was now pirated by the bounty of her booty. Every curve of her perfect body was a neon arrow flashing, pointing to every place I lacked. I sat on a rock looking out at the lake, cursing the flat of my chest. A boy approached and a glimmer of hope shimmered on the water. He looked at me, his head blocking out the summer sun, and he said, “your back is really hairy.”

Later that night, my friend Erika Olson shaved my back. I laid on my stomach as she straddled me on her bed. With her dad’s beard trimmer, she carefully removed my fur, making a pile of fine hair on her nightstand. We laughed at its height. Enough hair to make a mountain.

I never shaved my back again. With time I learned to love every silken hair. It has been a battle hard-fought and hard-won, just like finding the strength to finally wear flip-flops, after being terrified that the sight of my toes would render me unlovable. We get these ideas that can become prisons if we are not careful. We give so much power to these lies. But here is something I was lucky enough to realize when I was younger: walk into a party worrying that what you wore looks frumpy, or that your skin is too bumpy, or that your body is regretfully lumpy, and I can promise you that instead of anyone noticing any of these perceived flaws, they are instead absorbed with their own delusions of inadequacy. This fact is a glorious unifier, a magnificent equalizer. We are all worried we are not enough. But we are enough, we are more than enough, and the sooner we can get to this truth the sooner we can actually enjoy being at the party.

Why not be the cool cat that struts into the room loving who you are? Why not be the one that inspires everyone to let go and have a good time? Make no mistake, self-love is not arrogance, arrogance is just insecurity wearing a flashy hat and a sparkle vest. Self-love is gentle and kind. Self-love doesn’t wear sunglasses indoors. Self-love is the life of the party and knows how to get down on the dance floor. Somewhere, somehow, someone decided it wasn’t ok to like yourself and that has caused a lot of pain in the world. It’s time we start a self-love revolution. Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity. If you want to do good things in the world, start by being a fan of yourself.

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Comments

  1. There are many girls who can completely relate to Bethany’s experience. I remember feeling exactly the same way when I was in high school. I look back at my high school pictures now, and think, “wow, I wish took the time to see how beautiful I really was.” Even today, I have to remember to appreciate myself. Thank you for sharing this blog post. It’s a beautiful reminder.

    -Raquel
    http://www.raquelmanuela.com

  2. Beautiful piece! I do love, adore and cherish myself more now than ever! It took me years and an eating disorder to get to a place of love for myself and for the blessings, talents and gifts I have.

  3. “I can promise you that instead of anyone noticing any of these perceived flaws, they are instead absorbed with their own delusions of inadequacy. ” – Powerful words; gave me goose bumps!

  4. I loved reading this and love the title! :) Great post. Amen to all of the above, self love is the greatest love for all – without it we cannot love anyone else. :) xx beautiful!!!

  5. Wow good read. Short, concise and right to the point. I’ve dealt with low self esteem so long I don’t know what confidence would “look like” on me. In the new year, I hope to change that. One life to live, I want to be happy with who I am, inside and out.

  6. Seriously this was such a kind and inspiring post. I can relate to the first half all too well. LOL. I too had the same situations, not exactly but similar. Glad to see such positivity. Everyone is very beautiful in their own unique ways <3

  7. Thank you for writing this! As a woman with hair on my toes, hair on my fingers, and hair probably places that I’m not even aware of-this piece made my day! Your beauty (both inner and outer:) made me feel beautiful. I’m about to shake my hair out, and break free of this “prison of ideas!” Thanks again! XOXO

  8. Thank you for this post. I loved it. As a plus size woman, I have finally learned to love myself despite the haters who have made me feel I shouldn’t be happy because of my size.

  9. Bethany Toews; THANK YOU SO MUCH for this great piece of writing. You didn’t require to go on and on and on like some other articles in order to convey all the love, self-acceptance, brilliance and kindness possible.
    I wholeheartedly appreciate your article.

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