Counting Down to 30: Learning to Accept and Love Yourself

Countdown Banner3I’ve always been relatively sure of who I am. I never really went through the “finding yourself” phase, never tried a variety of things to figure out what I was into, and never really questioned my personality — what type of person I was.

However, that doesn’t mean I was never insecure about who I was. And it doesn’t mean I never became slightly varied versions of myself in certain times of my life (whether better or worse). I won’t deny I did most of my growth in my 20s, like many do. So much happens in that decade of life, it’s about impossible to honestly claim growth didn’t occur.

I’ve been pretty blessed to have self-assurance throughout my life, as I know many others travel years down a rough road to find it, or never do. Learning to accept and love yourself is, I believe, one of the most important quests one can accomplish. It’s also one of the hardest things.

I have many negative personality traits. I’m stubborn, impatient, I can be rash, loud, crass, and sometimes quick to retort. I’m also very picky, according to my partner in crime.

NoMakeup2Everyone has types of negative qualities. But it’s recognizing them and accepting them. Once you’ve done that you can make attempts to diminish traits which are less than pleasant.

To fit the theme of this post, the photos of myself are taken without makeup, jewelry or hair styling. This is my natural self, and though I could argue I look tired without my usual eyeliner and mascara, I’m not unhappy with what I see.

Physically, there’s not much I can control (thank you, genetics). Even so, it took a while for me to embrace and adapt to those qualities I feel are less appealing or have frustrated me throughout the years.

The fact that I don’t look my age has plagued me my whole life. People who don’t know me usually look at me and think I’m a high school student due to my height and my younger-looking face. I know, I know, I’ll appreciate it later. I’ve heard that for as long as I can remember. Insert eye roll.

But the bad thing is, often I don’t get treated like an adult because I don’t look like one. When that happens, it’s usually in the form of not being taken seriously or not being considered as an individual who is able to make a sound decision. Oddly, people — men and women both — tend to forget my age, and I often have to take extra steps to be treated and viewed as an adult. Even in the past year there have been circumstances where I’ve been treated like a child, and it’s surprised me how at times I am more of an adult than those who are older than me.

Apart from that, of course I have areas of my body I don’t care for. Being petite makes my compact figure incredibly different from others. I’m mostly proportionate, but I don’t like my short legs and I don’t like how the “meat” in my upper leg/thigh/hip area falls lower than my hip bone, making my shape look unbalanced. Sometimes I wish I had slightly larger breasts to better fit into certain pieces of clothing. I can’t stand my hooded eyelids, which make me squinty when I smile, produce more wrinkles and make applying and wearing eye makeup more annoying than it should be. My skin is super dry and I have excema patches all over my body. Let me state, however, that in no way do I believe I am fat or unappealing. I don’t bash myself or look in the mirror hating what I see. I’m usually content. On good days I’m more than that.

NoMakeup1

I don’t read beauty magazines, but even if I did, it’s hard for me to blame the industry for the entire self-conscious attitude women have.

Through my 20s I learned to accept the physical things I can’t change. The key is to learn how to make the most of what you do have and be confident in it. Accentuate what you believe are your best features, walk tall and believe in the person you are.

In the last decade I’ve accepted the only person who needs to concern themselves with my personality or with how I look is ME. I don’t need to compare myself to others or try to emulate anyone. I’m unique and God created me how He wants me.

He made you unique as well, and equally as special. Appreciate and embrace those things that make you you. Love who you are and care about yourself.

It’s incredible how freeing it is to love and accept all sides of yourself. I hope those who read this and need a bit of self-love take away some of what I’ve said here.

—K

Other posts in this series:

Introduction
Throwback Thursday Edition
Waiting for “The American Dream”

-Photos and time clock graphic by Justin McKee

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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2 Responses to Counting Down to 30: Learning to Accept and Love Yourself

  1. Nicole says:

    I love this post!

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