Statistics show that there are millions—if not billions—of women (and men) who believe they are not good enough and struggle with self-esteem. More times than not, a girl believes she is not good enough or cannot measure up in a certain way; whether it be in relationships, body image, academic performance, as well as anything and everything else a person can accomplish and maintain, anyone can struggle with self-acceptance. This challenge can dive deep and root itself into long-term problems and pose life-long obstacles for the individual to deal with. Personally, I completely understand what it feels like to struggle with self-esteem and depression because I have—and still do—contest to the very punishing and burdensome battle of self-love.
Ever since I was little, I always had a difficulty with believing I was enough for anyone or anything. I was raised in a family where there was always competition; I was constantly being compared to others: my sisters, my friends, my cousins, anyone that had something (whether it be a trait or a tangible object) that I didn’t. It was terrible. Someone was always better than me in some way—and it was always shoved into my face somehow. The worst part was these strongly-opinionated negative criticisms came from people I truly cared about. As you can imagine, it nearly killed me. It drove me into a deep depression that, to this day, still haunts me at times.
For years on end, I never felt like I could ever meet anyone’s standards. I was never enough to do anything outstanding. I was the “average joe” at everything I would do. My parents enrolled me in practically everything (except for sports because I am quite possibly the most uncoordinated person in the world) from dance classes, piano lessons, casting calls—literally everything. No matter what I participated in, I was good—but just satisfactory, no matter how hard I worked. I never stood out; I was always that one person that was “just there”, and it spread through every other aspect of my life. While constantly being surrounded by groups of people who always excelled in whatever they did, it made me feel like I was undesirable to others.
My pre-pubescent awkward fourteen year old self was a therapist’s nightmare whenever all my insecurities clouded in. All the frustration from high school drama, the dissatisfaction of my physical appearance, my parents, and every other issue I was dealing with left me feeling small and useless for a good amount of time. It affected me. Big time. I realized that as time went by during that period of my life, some things got better but most things got worse.
Fast forward to the middle of high school, I was a complete, full-blown mess of a teenager. I lost a really good friend in my life unexpectedly, I never got into anything I applied to extracurricular wise, and my relationship with my parents was spiraling out of control; it just all felt too much to handle. I think that through everything that had happened in my life, that was my lowest point. But, you still wouldn’t be able to tell. And I think at that time, a few of my peers knew I was upset and slightly bitter, but they never imagined it to be as bad as it truly was. I cried every single day. I was a mess of a person, and couldn’t even stand myself. Everything from my personal image of my physical appearance to the thought of never succeeding in anything, I thought it would be the end of me.
But it wasn’t.
After intensive therapy sessions and a million methods of antidepressants later, I felt better and a lot more comfortable with myself. Although the therapy did profit in my happiness and defeat of depression, I don’t believe all credit is due to just that. It took years of realizing that life happens and people suck sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you should let it tear you apart. For a good amount of time, I felt alone, as if no one was ever concerned about me. I was always worried I would bother or annoy someone if I opened up about my issues, even if they were close to me. It took a long time, but eventually I learned that I do have people in my life who genuinely care about me and want me to be happy. Along with that, I’ve come to accept the fact that someone will always be better than me, but if I love what I do, I’ll aim to improve nonetheless. I also realized that I am beautiful in my own way. There’s more to one’s beauty than their outer appearance. You can see it in their eyes when they talk about something they love; you can see it in their smiles when they are laughing so hard they’re clapping like a seal; you can see it in their confidence, positivity, and compassion. There is so much more than beauty on the outside.
Now it’s time to hear the completely cliche lesson that every self-journey teaches. The past is in the past and you cannot change it, but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about it. It makes you who you are and the sooner you can accept that, the sooner you will be able to accept yourself. You are unique. You are beautiful. In fact, you are INCREDIBLY beautiful. More people care about the kind of person you are rather than the acne on your face or the number on the scale. You will be okay. There are people who love you and want nothing but the best for you—even if you deny it. You will grow and change as an individual, and it is a challenge, but it will all work out. Believe in yourself.
It isn’t always easy to believe everything will be alright though. It’s a challenge. I’ll admit at times, I still ask myself, “Why am I not enough?”. I’ll get extremely frustrated and disappointed with everything. At this moment, a lot is going on in my life. However, it isn’t so much of a struggle to realize that I have to believe in myself and am definitely more than enough. Shit happens and some things don’t always work out, but never doubt the fact that you will always be more than enough.
You are going to be more than “enough” for someone someday.