Reasons You Don't Love Yourself

March 23, 2016

This is 9th grade me. I let others define my worth. I was not happy (despite what pictures and even actions may have you believe).
This is 10th grade me. I let people tell me who I needed to be. I was arguably even less happy than I had been the year before. I tried to fit in (and failed miserably).

This is 11th grade me. I was starting to realize my potential and my worth but I was too scared to let go of the people in my life who didn't feel the same. Plus I was doing the messy top knot before it was cool.

This is 12th grade me. I was trying to love myself. I posted this selfie on my 18th birthday and some turd boy in one of my classes commented "An 18 year old with braces, nice." I had finally let go of the people in my life, just like this boy, who were always putting me down.
This is freshman year at college me. I was having a hard time. I made very little friends (s/o to my roommates) and I felt like I couldn't talk to people. I was still trying to figure out how to be confident and happy. I still had braces in college which I was 9000% embarrassed about because nobody else did.
This is me loving myself me. Isn't she cute? I think this will forever be one of my favorite pictures of myself, because not only do I have a rockin' outfit on, I am genuinely happy.
Wait, but how did I get there?
I had hated myself for as long as I remember. I was always weird and was never able to keep friends for long (save a select few, I LOVE YOU SLOAN). I was kind of "popular" in elementary school, but I don't think I was ever happy. I was content to just read by myself and anxiously run away from the opposite sex (wait, am I talking about elementary school here or modern day, because #same).
By the time middle school rolled around, I went through what every middle schooler goes through... I felt like I didn't fit in. I had a few different friend groups but none of them seemed to cross over. I lost a lot of friends. I remember I had told a boy that I liked him (classic McKay) and he said that I was ugly and weird. Got 'em. I lost most of my friends by the end and I felt like a weird outsider going into high school.
High school was a hot mess. I was in JROTC so people often called me lesbian (which is not really a bad thing, but like why do we have to associate the two?), made a LOT of sexist comments about how I couldn't be in charge because I was a woman, and made me doubt myself. There were a select few awful people in my life (good riddance) who made me feel awful too. By the time that it was all said and done, I was starting to realize that it didn't matter if I was awkward because that's who I am. God bless Sloan, Stephanie, and Khadeeja for helping me through it all.
My freshman year at college was pretty miserable. I went in thinking I would be that 19 year old who gets married and the only date that I went on was one that my ward set up. I was tired all the time and I would go to class in XL t-shirts with holes in them because dressing cute was too much effort (by the way, one time a boy told me that I shouldn't wear a large sweatshirt because it made me look fat and boys wouldn't like me - I obviously shot back that I had kissed someone and he hadn't so I didn't care about his opinion). I gained about 25 pounds (freshman 25, anyone?) and felt like I was alone.
"I just feel so lonely right now. My two best friends both have boyfriends. I gained weight. Absolutely zero boys have shown any form of interest in me. My self esteem is dwindling. I'm homesick. I'm tired all the time. My classes are overwhelming..." 09/20/13
"I just have been so depressed lately and it sucks A LOT. I feel lonely and tired and all I want to do is eat and sleep and cry. I feel like I have no friends and those which I have feel like they're slipping away. I don't know how to make friends. I just feel alone and abandoned and sad and hurt and ugly and fat and I know it's coming from Satan but it feels kind of terrible. I see so many people with friends and I want that but it feels so impossible. I still haven't even been on a date...yeah." 09/23/13 
"I hate that I'm always home and my roommates all have lives. I hate how I look and how I've gained weight. I hate my calling. I hate my classes. I hate that I can't really talk to my friends from home the same anymore. I hate how I'm tired all the time." 10/15/13 
These journal entries (actually all of the ones from my freshman year) make me really sad to go back and read because I was so unhappy but I wouldn't change. Towards the end of the year, I met a person who is unfortunately no longer in my life, but encouraged me to get the help that I needed and to see how great I really was. This was the start of my journey.
Between my freshman and sophomore year at BYU, things changed. I started to write down compliments that people gave me so that I could go back and read them when I was having a hard time. I made a conscious effort to socialize and find clothes that I liked myself in. I started therapy. I prayed a lot. I made a list of things that I loved about myself - both physical and not.
Things can get better for you.
Don't be afraid to get help.
Don't be afraid to find things you like about yourself.
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there (like, not even romantically, just to make friends y'know).
Don't get discouraged on the bad days (because these still happen often for me).
Don't be lonely.
Don't forget to workout.
Don't be who you're not.
Don't hate yourself.

I am by no means saying that this was an easy journey and I know that not everyone's will happen like mine. I still get frustrated with myself and how I look often, but I have been able to realize how awesome my body is and what it is capable of. Plus, I'm really funny (at least I think so).
Take it from me: you are divine, you are beautiful (men too), you are valued, you are loved, you are flawed and that's okay.
Yours truly,

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  1. Hello! So I know who you are because I was roommates with Melissa freshman year, I'm not sure if we have ever met, but I came across your blog and I really really loved this post. I've been struggling with basically all the things you wrote about. I actually just got braces (huzzah for having braces in college...) a week ago and my self esteem has subsequently dropped. It's a rough life. But anyways, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your wonderfully positive thoughts. It was a great reminder to me to look for the good in life.

    So thank you for being you.