Author: Valery B.
My family tells me that I am beautiful. My friends tell me that I am one of the sweetest people they know. My teachers praise me for my knowledge and my peers believe me to be a very intellectual young adult. People tell me that they are jealous of the confidence I exert. They make comments about how I physically look, comments that are meant to be complements. They think that I am brave and strong and carefree and alive.
I am none of these things – at least I do not see myself as any of these things. I look in the mirror every morning and fear the monstrous face looking back at me. I see both outer and inner ugliness, as I compare myself to the outer beauty of the girls I am acquainted to in and out of school and to the inner beauty of the selfless people I have gotten to know over my lifetime. I do not believe myself to be the least bit kind, for I struggle to control my anger, my rage, my sadness, my defeat. I may not take it out on my classmates, but I unfortunately take it out on my family, who does not deserve the turmoil I put them through on a daily basis. By scholastic standards, I would not consider myself smart. My peers were astounded when I was accepted to Brown University, for they believed I was accepted based on my grades and standardized test scores. But, my grades and test scores were average. In fact, I even struggled on both in-school assessments and out-of-school tests, developing a form of mild testing anxiety that prevented me from achieving the scores I envisioned for myself. No matter how many times I would explain this to my classmates, I would not be able to convince them that I was nothing exquisite – that I was just like them, if not less than them.
I may not show the negativity I feel towards myself. I may exert confidence and radiance and friendliness that draws people in. This, however, is a facade, for every part of my self believes in the negative thoughts that infiltrate my mind. I live in a type of mental prison that seldom can be expressed with words. Everyday, as I go to sleep, I envision tomorrow bringing a better day, and everyday, as I wake up, I seem to relive the nightmare of the previous day. The same negativity, pessimism, and debilitating self-hatred I would vow to leave behind would promulgate into longevity, never seeming to cease. I am not confident whatsoever. I am scared and lost and, perhaps, even dead on the inside, for this is not the way I believe living should feel.
I believe that living should be beautiful. I believe that everybody deserves to live in contentment, self-love, self-acceptance, positivity, and optimism. I believe that one should be happy with who he or she is, knowing that he or she is unique and beautiful, deserving of happiness and peace.
I hope to someday wake up without a second thought of the things that bother me about myself: my appearance, my emotions, my wits, my persona. I hope to someday talk with my family and my friends without overanalyzing every little word I or they say. I hope to someday be so comfortable with myself that I no longer need constant reassurance that I am worthy of love and happiness, that I am good enough to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, that I am not any less-than anybody else in this entire world.
I understand that I am not the only human being living with self-hatred, that it is, in fact, more prevalent than we can ever admit. People of all ages – from kindergarten to seniority -, of all different races, sexes, and backgrounds experience this excruciating phenomena, persisting to live their lives without inner peace and happiness. Although I wish there was a cure for this, one does not exist; however, in my firmest beliefs, I know that the way we can fix this problem is by prioritizing ourselves, allowing ourselves to be happy, permitting ourselves to live our lives to the fullest despite our fears, hesitations and possible limitation. To anyone who suffers, consider the following quotation:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Washington Thurman
Coming alive is a beautiful, timeless gift that not many people are privileged to have. Indeed, we are all living; however, living is solely a form of survival. To truly be alive, we must find self-love and our inner light that will illuminate our darkest moments, especially those that will make us doubt who we are or where we stand in our lives.
I am working to love myself, to reshape my negative self-perception into the positive impression that so many people have of me. My mind will not change overnight. It will not change within a couple of days, months or even years. But, I will continue working on it until I reach the point where I can comfortably sit with myself without a single, extraneous and unnecessary thought eroding my mind. Life is simply too short to waste wallowing in self-hatred.