Belief is a wonderful thing. Everyone has a different set of beliefs. They surround us, they control us, and they can swallow us up whole. My belief resides in self-love. I believe in the importance of self-love. Self-love is not only appreciating and loving the aspects of yourself that you see as beautiful, but accepting and loving the aspects of yourself that you do not. I believe there is no such thing as flaws. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you learn to see the beauty in everything, you will find yourself free of the bonds of hatred. An open heart sees things a confined one does not. It is important that you do not let a ribcage of hatred constrict your heart. I admit, I do not love myself. But I truly believe that one day I will have opened my heart fully and learned to love what I do not currently love about myself.
I am trying to love my nose, my mouth, my eyes. The shape of my face, the slant of my eyebrows. My skin and my bones. Self-love is not an easy task but do not let yourself be consumed by hatred. It can tear you apart limb from limb. Flesh and muscle from bones. Self-love has never been easy for me, as long as I can remember I have battled an everlasting battle of self-hatred. I did not like the way I looked, I did not like the way I thought, I did not like the way I spoke, and I did not feel like I deserved to be alive.
When I was younger I was the first to hit puberty. I grew in places other girls were not and faced challenges my peers had yet to experience. From a young age, my skin started to break out. And at first, I thought nothing of it, until kids my age started commenting on how ugly it is. They treated my skin as if it were a burden, or something despicable. My own skin had been turned into a red letter on my body, everyone around me had to look at me and see the blemishes on my face. From the unpleasant acknowledgment of my classmates blossomed a deep self-hatred; a hatred that would still impact me years later.
However, my biggest insecurity is my weight. As a child I was scrawny, but as I got older I started to put on pounds. Kids my age found all sorts of vile nicknames to call me. I was twelve when it really started. By thirteen I was trying dangerous diets, counting calories like they were the center of the universe, and hiding it all behind a smile. No one could have imagined the thoughts running around my head all day, every day. A conscience telling me I was ugly, laughing and jeering at me when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was never good enough. My monster of self-hatred had taught me to hate every aspect of myself. I had myself convinced that what I looked like was more important than who I was. As my confidence slowly drained, I pulled away from doing things like posting on social media and wearing certain clothes. I subconsciously let the words of others tell me how to live my own life.
I do not love myself but because of my experiences, my battles, I know the importance of self-love. This word holds much more than a definition, it holds a spiritual power. Not having self-love can destroy us, and that just isn’t living.
8 thoughts on “This I Believe: The Importance of Self-Love”
As beautifully stated within your own lexicon, everyone indeed harbours their own set of beliefs. I hold the certain belief that this piece is astonishingly stunning – and I don’t mean that in a generic way. I pride myself on being accountable and only providing credit when credit is due, and you can ask Hunnisett about this if you don’t believe the genuinity of my words.
Speaking of which, the genuinity and personal connection to your own life were deep and rich; and allowed for the piece to be incredibly emotional while also maintaining a beautiful structure and order (which I am a HUGE fan of). Each line was rich and packed with something thought-provoking, and your progression was naturally developing, which is something a lot of writers struggle with. Your mastery and confidence with complex punctuation is something that sparked a huge interest within me, and I absolutely love the syntactical excellence with which this has been crafted.
The first paragraph was an excellent introduction and served as a fitting frame for the rest of the piece. I especially loved the ribcage symbol – truly clever. The second paragraph was an amazing personal transition to self-love, which exposed some of your vulnerability. This is a brave decision you made – but remember that this is the only way to grow as a person, so I must applaud you for that. I like how the middle of the piece narrows down on the things that have made you feel resentful towards yourself, as this created a narrowing effect that focussed the spotlight on you and your insecurities. Your conclusion was excellent and provided a slight reassurance mixed with the harsh reality. Some of my favourite lines were:
“It is important that you do not let a ribcage of hatred constrict your heart. I admit, I do not love myself. But I truly believe that one day I will have opened my heart fully and learned to love what I do not currently love about myself.”
“My own skin had been turned into a red letter on my body, everyone around me had to look at me and see the blemishes on my face. From the unpleasant acknowledgment of my classmates blossomed a deep self-hatred; a hatred that would still impact me years later.”
For improvement, I would honestly just suggest for you to extend the metaphor of the heart in the ribcage. It was so beautiful that I would’ve loved to see it weaved through the whole piece. Besides this, it’s sacrilegious to critique this masterpiece, but since I’m a jackass I had to say something.
In conclusion, Michelle, I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to you – however, this piece is so capturing of personality that it seems as though I can now feel sympathetic towards someone I cannot associate a face to – and that is incredible and speaks volumes towards your skill as a writer.
Like stated earlier, I have no idea what you look like or sound like; however, even if you are the worst person in the world, your writing is still at a level that I strive to learn from. Truly, this is an exemplary piece that shows skill beyond your years. Even if you haven’t completed the goal of self-love, you need to love love your writing voice, because I do.
In all seriousness, I want you to keep writing. You have a unique voice that truly needs to be heard. For the short term, I think that polishing and adapting this piece just slightly before publishing is a good idea. I like this idea and I think that if you added on a couple hundred words, added some symbols, and cleaned it up just a tad, this would be a surefire way to get yourself into a magazine or pro blog. The Purple Fig loves stuff like this, and they take pieces from awesome women like yourself who have stories:
Do some research to find out where else you can publish, and most of all, please keep writing. I want to read your work and be inspired all over again.
I am overwhelmed; this is such a beautiful and heart filled response. The words you have written here to me are beyond inspiring. I can’t thank you enough for your pleasant response.
I can, however, thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to write me a comment filled with such incredible feedback. I actually read this on the bus on my way to school and cried a little bit (maybe more than a little bit) because it is the most touching comment I have ever received in my life. Your kind words mean so much to me.
I 100% agree that I should have extended the rib cage reference into the blog more and/or formulated a way to have it appear more often in the piece. I also agree that I could have polished it more, lengthened it, and added more symbols to enhance it.
Your words of encouragement are the reason I write. People who give feedback like you did give me hope and fuel my passion. I can’t possibly put into words the effect your comment truly has on me, but please know that I appreciate it very much and hold it close to my heart.
I sincerely mean it when I say that I already can’t wait to meet you next year in AP. From your comments, I can tell that learning from you would be an honour.
That was incredible, I loved reading every second of it. I don’t think there is much I can say that Zaid already has not. Though I would like to say again the manner in which you wrote and structured this piece was beautiful. Talking about how you are still learning to self-love added so much depth into your writing, it showed us that you do not have completely love yourself in order for you to, as you said, know the importance of self-love.
I don’t think there is any critique I would give your piece. It was very stunning and magnificent and I am sure it resonates with many people. I am really looking forward to seeing your other writings!
Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! The way you said that I showed that you did not need to fully love yourself to know the importance of self love actually hit me pretty hard. I wrote the piece and I hadn’t even thought of it that way. Thank you so much for your feedback 🙂
I have to agree with everyone on saying that this truly was a beautiful piece. I love how you opened up about some of your insecurities, something many fear to do. I love the use of repetition, I feel as though it really adds to the flow. I also really like how you brought in some symbolism about the heart and ribcage. It gives the reader more to think about and assists your explanation.
However no piece of writing is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. I wish you dove more in-depth about how an open heart sees more things and how a ribcage can obstruct that. I feel as though it was a very well written metaphor that needs a bit more explanation. I agree with Zaid on adding a bit more information. The blog is quite short and I would have loved to learn more about your journey in understanding the importance of self-love.
Overall, I believe that this is a beguiling piece that many others can relate to. It is a nice look into the human condition. I am really excited to see what else you have in store and what other stuff you will write!
Firstly, thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog! I really appreciate your feedback. I definitely agree that the rib cage symbolism could have been stretched and weaved more throughout the piece. I will be sure to take your suggestions into consideration with my next piece!
I enjoyed your “This I Believe” presentation that you gave to the class the other day, as it was powerful and relatable, and so I was looking forward to your written (typed?) work. I think it is safe to say that I was not disappointed. Simply put, your writing style is beautiful. The second paragraph, with all of its short and controlled stops, struck particularly hard. The rest of your piece had a nice flow to it, and I liked your style of repeating certain words and phrases to emphasize their importance. Your explanation of your past self and self-hatred gave a contrast as to what could happen without it, and it adds to the story. The journey of self-love is definitely not an easy one, but I am glad that you have learned of its significance. 🙂
The only thing I have for improvements is the singular space in front of “I” in the second paragraph but honestly, that’s just me being picky and trying to find something haha.
It’s nice to have you in my class again this semester, and I can’t wait to read your future writing!
Thank you so much!! I really appreciate such kind words coming from someone as talented as yourself :). I have to thank you again for the words of positive encouragement you have laid out for me here because it really does mean a lot to me. Thank you for the improvement feedback too; I hadn’t even noticed the space until you mentioned it! And now that you have it’s bothering me too haha.