The art of being hard on yourself.

I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror this morning. God, my eyebrows are really too thin, I thought. That was the beginning. I was attempting to pull my hair off my face and neck in a way other than the standard messy bun and headband. This hot weather calls for it. Of course, because I lack any sort of hair or makeup talent, I failed. Bobby pins, twists, nothing. I yanked my hair back down and stared. The eyebrows, the nose. And why am I pulling my hair off my face? I need my hair on my face. Do I really want that forehead to be so prominent? Why is my complexion the way it is? And those fucking eyebrows. 

I made my way to the freckles. The arms with little definition. Even my bra wasn't cutting it today. Mental note to buy a new bra, I told myself. I glossed right over my midsection because let's be real, that will never satisfy me, no matter how many sit-ups I do or milkshakes I turn down. My hair's too short, too long, the color's too drab, the texture too textured, and now it was a mess because I fussed with it too long while standing in front of the mirror tearing myself apart.

Dammit.

I turned to the internet, of course, because that's what I do. Internet, I said, I feel ugly. I want to stay home, watch movies and eat ice cream. My well of self-esteem had runneth dry. And that's when I learned WE ARE ALL UNHAPPY WITH OURSELVES.

One of my best friends said to me, every time she looks, she finds a new reason to hate herself. I told her I felt the same about myself.

The responses came flooding in. Some in agreement, others chastising me for my negative self-image. You're amazing! You're this! You're that! You're the other thing! Of course it was all very sweet and uplifting, but did any of it sink in? No, of course not. Come on, I'm a girl. It's how we roll. No matter how many times my mom tells me I'm beautiful, I'll never truly believe her because SHE'S MY MOM. Those are the things moms say and truly believe. It's not what daughters believe about themselves.

However, the number of lady friends who wanted to join me in my Pity Party for the Ugly and Dejected saddened me. Why the hell are we all so hard on ourselves? If we don't love ourselves, who will? Well, OK, my cats will love me, but that goes without saying. I hear that preached so often: You have to love yourself before you can truly let others love you. 

And then it hits me: Holy shit, is that my problem? And if it is my problem, OH MY GOD I'M DOOMED. How do we learn to love ourselves? When can I be the girl with the confidence to post Instagrammed self-portraits of myself on every corner of the internet? Actually, that's never going to happen, but still. What part of me is broken?

To my fellow broken girlfriends, I'm going to tell you you're beautiful, and you're smart and you bring joy to my life pretty much every single day. You're not going to believe me, but I'm going to tell you anyway. We need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to each other. I'm comforted to know we have each other to tie up our loose, broken ends, and to make each other feel pretty when our noses are awkward and our eyebrows too sparse.

I read this quote this morning (on the internet, duh), and it made me happy, so I'll share it with you (the internet, obviously):

‎"Don't you dare, for one more second, surround yourself with people who are not aware of the greatness that you are." - Jo Blackwell Preston

I will try to remember this quote. Mostly because it directly applies to my own self, and it'd be pretty hard to not surround myself with... myself.

I'll be honest and say I'm probably going to continue to feel ugly today. You can't just flip a switch. Also, my hair, you guys. Come on. It's just a bad hair day. But if you guys be nicer to yourselves, I'll be nicer to myself. That feels like a good deal. Now, as my best, good friend Sarah told me, "Go forth and be awesome."