How to love the real you

In a world full of Snapchat filters and photo editing apps, it's easy to lose sight of the real you. You know, the you without puppy ears, the you with a pesky zit on your forehead, the you with crow's feet by your eyes. The you that hasn't been retouched or filtered or changed. The you that looks back when you look in the mirror.

No matter who you are, it can be super tough some days to like your reflection. And when we get bombarded by perfectly airbrushed selfies on Insta, it gets even harder. Even when those selfies are our own, just edited to the nth degree.

Because you start looking at what, in your mind, you could be and comparing it to what you are. And suddenly what you are is not nearly enough. 

Take the pictures above, for example. The one on the left is me with zero makeup and bedhead. I was actually feeling okay about it until I put it side by side with the one on the right (aka me with the "pretty filter"). Suddenly, the one on the left was awful. I started picking apart *every* little thing. It was like a magnifying glass on all of my flaws.

Talk about a major pity party over here. So I (figuratively) slapped myself on the face and woke up! We don't live our lives in filters. Or on social media. Or to be perfect.

We live our lives to laugh with our friends, to hug our families, to enjoy a big cone of ice cream on a summer day. We live our lives to wake up to the smell of coffee, to feel the cold ocean on our toes, to sing along to Selena in the car with the windows down.

We live our lives for *so* many amazing memories and experiences. And guess what they all have in common?

They have nothing to do with how we look or what we weigh.

That truth is such a big part of why I recover, why I want to be free of any stupid food rules and why I try to help the people around me do the same. Learning to love the real you as you are (aka without a filter, without Photoshop and without restriction or diets) is super tough...but if you keep in mind how insignificant your outer appearance is, it helps. At least it does for me.

Remember that no amount of perfect selfies can ever make you smile the way a slice of birthday cake celebrating your mama can. And that's more important and more valuable than the number of likes on your Instagram.

You don't need to be loved to love yourself

In honor of Valentine's Day (which honestly is one of my fave holidays because everything is pink, duh), let's talk about love.

We spend *so* much of our time and energy searching for the "one". You know, the one who will sweep us off our feet, who will cry when we walk down the aisle, who will be our other half for the rest of our lives. And that kind of romantic-comedy-worthy love is great. Having a husband or wife who is your forever partner in crime is great. Being in a relationship that makes you happy is great.

I'm not trying to knock any of that. Because trust me, I want that for myself, too.

But sometimes, I think we're a little bit too caught up in that kind of love. Sometimes, we rely on it to feel worthy or valued. We believe that if we're single or if he doesn't call us back, that we are less than our friend who is happily engaged. Sometimes, our wanting to be loved turns into needing to be loved just to be able to accept ourselves. And that's unhealthy.

Because you are worthy *right* now. You're just as special and valuable and amazing whether you have been single for five years or married for 10. Whether you just got dumped or just got engaged. No matter who you are or aren't with, you are worthy.

You don't need someone to tell you that you're beautiful to make it true. It already is. You only need yourself, your own acceptance, your own self-love. It sounds cheesy as hell (trust me, I know) and it's definitely easier said than done, but it's so true.

Even if you are in the best relationship ever, you still have to love yourself. And today is the perfect excuse to start.

QOTD: How do you love yourself on a daily basis? 

Pic credit