Over the course of 22 years, I have never once truly loved myself. I spent the majority of my life being dictated by family members of what I should and should not do. I was told to only go to school and to think about getting good grades so that I may achieve a degree that would help me find a successful job. What once constituted as being a good parent in trying to think of only the best for your child, only led to my misery. My younger years were spent trying to find out whether or not it was worth living on this planet as I had absolutely no role model to look up to. My parents constantly argued and fought over financial issues and my younger sibling was much too young to understand the feelings that I had suppressed. I had an older sibling who I was never to see again until later on when I was about to enter into high school, but by then it was too late. I had lost every will power to ever accept the person that I wanted to be and became everything that I was not: a molded version of what my family wanted me to be.
I have suffered from depression.
I had to set goals for myself as reminders of reasons to continue living. I suffered many years of depression and had never gotten it treated in fear that I would simply lose sight of what my family wanted of me. Ironically, I was afraid of a cure that would tear me apart from my family, which would have made it easier for me to live the life that I would have ever dreamt of. I was molded to become a doctor so that I could save my family over the lives that would need to be saved. I was the child to be talked about amongst my relatives as a trophy daughter with good grades and a striving dream. I was never myself and I hated it.
I felt more miserable entering high school.
When high school came around, I was even more miserable. I learned of the ever-changing travesties of puberty and the way my body would transform in the coming years. I started to hate the way I looked and the way that everyone looked at me. Despite all of the misery that I had felt, I continued onwards to graduation where I was told to select a medical school to attend over the schools that I wanted to go to.
I did everything I was told not to do.
One year was all it took for my life to turn around. I dropped out of medical school and found my way to art school, where I was happy learning something outside of biology. I enjoyed talking to friends who felt the same way that I did and took a path that their parents also disagreed on. I learned to accept my body for what it was and treated it even better than I had ever thought to treat it. I broke out of just going to school and went on to doing internships and part-time jobs that gave me an experience that school would have never taught me otherwise.
It's never too late to change.
I learned the start of being able to love myself and although I am 22 years late in doing so, I would have much rather experienced it now than to never be able to love myself at all. Being able to love yourself makes life worth living and understanding. Being able to love yourself makes the pain and hardship that we inevitably experience become temporary problems rather than long-term problems in our lives. Being able to love yourself is being able to accept yourself. So friends, this weekend I want to ask of you to reflect upon how you feel about yourself and if you have not loved yourself yet, try to make the change to start loving everything about yourself. Change does not happen over time - change happens when you choose to make it happen.