From self loathing to self appreciation...

I don’t know about you but for me, one of the joy’s I get to experience now that I’m entering middle age is a clearer definition and understanding of WHO I AM. I hold a stronger recognition of what I want and sometimes more importantly, what I don’t want, and the ability to often (though not always) choose to back myself in how I feel, what I think and what I desire.

As I’ve gotten older I have been delighted to notice that I am able to learn from my mistakes, witness and update old patterns of behavior that no longer serve who I wish to be, and I absolutely no longer am desperate for the world to love me. Fuck the world…I now have the wisdom and realization that as long as I can surround myself with a handful of beautiful bighearted people, and loved ones that can care for me as I care for them, I’m set.

I have decided to take my power back from where I once left it: RECLAIM
— LM

Memory…my first day of high school, getting off the bus, joining the throngs of students pouring into the school…anxious tummy, terror of the unknown, wanting to feel special and dying to BELONG somewhere. I recall sitting in homeroom, surrounded by my fellow students, shamefully painting on layers of makeup carefully and strategically. Foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eyeliner and lipstick applied as a wall of protection between me and the world. “If I am beautiful I will belong.” I felt embarrassed with the looks I was getting from my classmates, but the fear of being seen as less than perfect was much larger.

From that time on and for more years than I wish to remember (stressful !!!) my SELF WORTH was dependent on OTHERS ACCEPTANCE. I know this is not a new story, in fact, I’m betting most of you may relate. I just feel so grateful that I am able to define my own worthiness now, so much less stress and anxiety in my body now that I listen to my own inner voice instead of the worlds.

The magic path I discovered to self appreciation wasn’t how I looked after all…it was about being able to notice and understand WHO I was inside, what makes me tick, what I’m passionate about, what my personal value system is being able to back my needs, choices and feelings. Listening less to the world and more to myself has given me the tools to tap into self love at any size, shape and age.

Leanna McNeil