I remember feeling like everyone was better than me. Everyone else was always happy and was normal and looked pretty, and I always felt like the only one who couldn’t achieve those things. It seemed like everyone around me at school got prettier and I got uglier, fatter, depressed. People started getting boyfriends and I was the opposite, I lost friends, I lost that part of my life that I should’ve been experiencing with everyone else. I lost the perfect high school experience instead it was replaced with isolation, exclusion and depression.
There were a group of girls at school who were extremely pretty. The ‘popular group’. They were the sporty ones, they were happy, they had a lot of friends, they were smart and funny. I remember always wanting to be a part of their group, just for a day, to know how it felt to be normal. To feel like I fit into somewhere and I was truly appreciated. If only I had known how toxic that would’ve been for me, how bad that situation would’ve been for my self-esteem.
The truth is this movie worthy perfect friendship group, isn’t what it appears. The smiles are fake, the people are fake, and the loyalty is tainted by jealousy; and often, successes are greeted with bitter congratulations.
Those girls may have had a huge group of friends, some of them were closer to certain others, some of them were close to every other girl in the group. However, they were missing one thing. One vital thing that every girl should have, every girl should realise younger than they do.
I’m not saying they weren’t honest with each other, or that they were all bitching behind each other’s backs 24/7, but I don’t think they even knew who they were besides… well, part of ‘that’ group. They were just ‘that’ girl in ‘that’ group. They didn’t have their own person, their own morals or thinking pattern. If one did something, they all did something. I think it’s like that with most groups in that criteria at school age. If you were to ask them a deep, moral question, they’d probably all say the same thing to each question.
The truth is that school friendship groups are too often built upon, competition, jealousy, popularity and a desire to fit in. This breeds toxicity and like I have said a loss of integrity, as fitting in and popularity becomes more important than yourself. The trap is lethal and the outcome leaves you questioning the value of friendships it being tainted by a past of fakery in that department, low self-esteem as you have been surrounded by jealousy and bitterness not love and ultimately, you lose you.
But, you learn to love yourself again. How I learned to love myself was by not comparing my looks to those people, or by trying to be them and succeeding. I realised that it’s not about putting yourself in a competition for the best hair or the best makeup, or the skinniest body and biggest eyes. I realised that being your own person, being happy on your own, being content with NOT being a part of ‘that’ group or being ‘that’ girl – that’s the most important thing.
How I learned to love myself was by learning that perfection doesn’t exist within a human form. This may seem fickle, considering this is such a cliché thing to say, but it is the truth. The moment I loved myself truly, undoubtedly and unapologetically was the same moment I decided to embrace each part of me, even my flaws, faults and imperfections. At this moment I was far from perfect, my life was not going well. But despite all this I was happy, because I loved myself and each of my flaws. I stopped asking how to be enough and started saying ‘I am enough!’.
You don’t have to be a part of what’s going on around you to be extraordinary. You can be extraordinary on your own, using your own path, using your own integrity. Otherwise, is it really yours?
The moment you act with integrity and are completely honest with yourself and the world. You will be blessed with smiles, shoulders and love as those who truly care will thank you for your vulnerability. As learning to love yourself grants you with the gift that being honesty no longer seems brave, it seems human, right and the only choice that you deserve. As you no longer oversell yourself as you are finally accepting that you do not need to oversell, as you are all you have been overselling yourself for anyway. Plus, so much more.
Learning to love yourself, it doesn’t just happen sadly. This busy, messy and chaotic world chips away at us and it becomes too common that we are left to learn how to fall in love again. This is the harder than falling in love with anyone else to, because the critic who stands before us is the harshest of all, ourselves. However, regardless of the challenge, falling in love and learning to have a healthy and forgiving relationship with ourselves can truly change our lives. Just like it has changed ours.
Chaz & Ella x
Please follow my amazing friend Ella, who helped me write this post – www.TodayTomorrowForeverElla.com