Choose to love yourself

By Ashley Webb

“You’re too quiet. You’re too heavy.”

Ever since I was little, these comments were what I heard. I can’t tell you how many times I stared in the mirror wishing I had a different body or a different personality. I was full of self-doubt, so I molded my personality based on my company.

To fix my ideal self, I began eating less, exercising more and becoming an extrovert, hoping people would like me more.

But I was hurting myself more than making friends. I hated myself. I wore baggy clothes and became even more isolated. I stayed in my room and became more and more reserved. I began to experience anxiety, self-loathing and shame.

College began, and I decided to reinvent myself. I joined clubs and became more sociable. I made friends and did what I thought college kids did. But it still wasn’t good enough. Something was missing.

It seemed I had come to a crossroads: Continue the lie I had been living for the past four years or learn to accept myself.

I chose the latter. I realized that I was never going to be a size two, and I was not going to be the center of attention. That wasn’t me.

I realized I wanted to make a change and embrace my imperfections. I realized my personality was something I should cherish.

Being shy makes certain things difficult, and it’s something that I’ve been working on. I enjoy going out and socializing, but I also enjoy being alone.

The key thing about accepting yourself is to be kind to yourself while you’re going through the acceptance process. Even though I’m still shy and not my ideal size, it’s no longer my top priority. I exercise and eat healthy and no longer freak out when I have to talk. If I make a mistake or mix up my words, I laugh to myself about my nervousness and tell myself everyone gets nervous.

So I’m heading in the right direction. Am I completely accepting? No, I have a long way to go. It’s a day-to-day process of embracing yourself and being fearless enough to share your true self with the world.

You’ll have your good days, and you’ll have your bad days. Yet you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. Acceptance is not easy, but you can do it. Nothing is more liberating than being yourself. When there’s nothing to hide from, there is this confidence that you never want to let go of.

Ashley Webb is a senior journalism and psychology major from San Antonio. She is a reporter for the Lariat.