I have always been a loving person naturally. Without trying, it’s just a part of who I am, just like my mom. Unconditional love for everyone around me. However, it has taken me a lot to get to the point of where I am now and being in love… with myself. I hope to inspire all women around me to love themselves before anybody else because at the end of the day, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect to love somebody else?
Where my self-love started…
I loved selfies… dating back to middle school. My best friend and I would get dolled up and we would have photoshoots and post them up on Xanga and MySpace. During college, all my sorority sisters would be like “There’s Stephanie again, taking loads of selfies.” But lucky me, my friends loved it and were never judgmental about it. I loved taking selfies and feeling beautiful and admiring all of my features, flaws and all. No one has the power to be me, nor to have a unique face like mine! After a while, I noticed all of my friends weren’t afraid to take selfies in public anymore… they would say “I’m pulling a Stephanie” and I loved that I had empowered them to feel great about themselves.
Let people and their confidence be!
I was around one person one time that was judging a girl on Facebook because of how many selfies she posted. She stated, “I deleted Melissa off my Facebook, she’s ridiculous with how many pictures of herself shes takes.” Hearing this infuriated me. Why are people so judgemental? What do you gain? Negative thoughts are toxic and no one is going to want to be around you! Sure, you can unfollow people if you like but to defriend them because of their confidence blows my mind. Did you not share memories, classes, fun times together with that person? Their selfie taking really bothered you that much that you had to cut off ties?
Self-EVERYTHING correlates to a healthy body and mind
My constant efforts of appreciating, loving, and having compassion for myself have taught me to stay loyal to myself and the one factor that plays a huge role in this is exercising. When I first started to exercise, it was a physical thing. I wanted to look good. But after being in the fitness industry for many years, I have learned that Elle Woods was so right in Legally Blonde. Exercise is a form of therapy that I don’t have to pay for! (Well, I guess $33.50 for my monthly gym membership.)
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. “
HALT! When I doubted myself…
I talk about self-love like it’s something you can accomplish over night. Trust me, I’ve had my periods of doubt and negative self talk. I was letting a significant other determine my worth by calling me names and threatening to break-up with me if I didn’t lose weight. I literally busted my butt in the gym yet when I did lose weight, they still weren’t happy. You will NEVER be enough for the wrong person… If someone is bullying you, trust me, they are not meant for you! This experience made me love me more than I ever have and if I never went through it, my feelings wouldn’t be what they are now. You have to go through the bad to know what the good feels like. I lost myself for a bit there; it was crucial for me to reinforce powerful thoughts such as, “You’re beautiful Steph! You’re smart! People love you! They love your smile, your jokes, your contagious energy!” You are what you believe!
I’m sad to say that someone is always going to judge you, be jealous, and wonder why you’re so “conceited.” Stay true to yourself and know you’re more beautiful than you ever thought, inside and out. You’re the only person who determines your worth and happiness, so treat yourself nicely! Think positive thoughts, forgive the ones who brought you down, and live life like you’ve been a ballet dancer for all your life- strong, upright, and poised. Thank you to my mom and dad for making me this beautiful and for giving me all the features and personality traits I would not trade for the world!