Before you read this post, you should know that I am being incredibly vulnerable here. I haven’t edited this post at all. I just typed out everything that I am feeling and decided to publish it. I feel like this post needs to be genuinely raw to get my point across. The topic that I am writing about is something that I have struggled with my whole life. I’m 26 and I have just now overcome this struggle. I know that there are several of you out there who are struggling with this concept and I think this post will be helpful to you.
I have now been traveling the world for seven months. I knew that traveling would be an eye-opening experience for me. I specifically wanted traveling to push me to realize what it is that I want to do for the rest of my life. I have been getting really frustrated lately because I still don’t have that figured out. I’ve been gone for seven months and I still haven’t figured out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I should know that by now!
I had an epiphany yesterday. I realized that traveling has taught me something. Something really significant. No, I haven’t discovered what I want to do for the rest of my life from my travels thus far. Instead, it has taught me something far more powerful.
Traveling has taught me how to love myself. Like REALLY love myself. I always loved certain aspects about myself. However, there were certain aspects that I didn’t love so much. My parents raised me with so much conditional love and that is why I have struggled with truly loving myself. My mom always made me feel self-conscious about my natural hair. It’s curly and frizzy. I basically look like a lion if I don’t tame it. ROOAAARRR. Anyways, she used to tell me that I was unattractive when I wore my hair curly. My family used to make fun of me for how little I am. I’m four feet, eleven inches tall and I weigh about 98 lbs. Actually, it depends on how many burgers I had that day. That’s not the point. They used to say that no one would want to marry me because I wasn’t tall like a model. My parents said that noone would want to marry me because I’m too dark. My parents also taught me that I wasn’t smart enough. They would call me stupid because I made a 99% on a test and a not a 100%. My parents told me that I wouldn’t ever be anything in life because I didn’t want to be a doctor or an engineer—stereotypical careers you should have as an Indian.
When you’re fed so much of this negativity, it’s hard not to view yourself that way. My parents taught me that I wasn’t good enough. They taught me that I wasn’t lovable. They taught me that I would never amount to anything in life. For the longest time, that’s how I viewed myself. I thought that I couldn’t love myself in this regard or that regard. I viewed myself from the lens that my parents viewed me.
I was strolling around the resort yesterday and stopped dead in my tracks. I realized yesterday that I love myself. I truly love myself for who I am. I’ve been embracing my flaws lately as a result. I noticed that I haven’t been self-conscious about my flaws lately. I realized that I have been truly loving myself for who I am despite the flaws my parents pointed out. I have been viewing myself in a more beautiful way. I’ve been embracing my curly hair because it’s wild and fun. I’ve been embracing my size because my small clothes don’t take up too much room in my backpack leaving more room for snacks. I’ve been embracing my skin tone because we’re in the desert right now and I don’t have to worry about getting a sunburn. I’ve been embracing the fact that I’m not a doctor or engineer because I’m doing something far more interesting with my life besides succumbing to stereotypes.
Traveling has taught me that the flaws my parents pointed out to me every single day are lies. I love embracing these lies. These lies are what makes me Disha. These lies are what makes me unique. I can’t imagine being me without these lies. These lies are why my husband fell in love with me. These lies are why I love myself.
I also realized that you can’t fully love others until you fully love yourself. When you conditionally love yourself, you look for conditions in others. When you unconditionally love who you are, you unconditionally love others. You see that person for who they are because you see yourself for who you are. For the longest time, I allowed myself to become bitter because of my parents disowning me. It made me hate so many different things about myself. I began to question a lot of things. Why wasn’t I enough for my parents? Why didn’t they love me for who I am? Obviously, there’s something wrong with me if they disowned me for who I am.
I was wired this way for such a long time. After traveling for seven months, I have realized that I am a unique person and that I was made this way for a reason. This is who I am and I am going to live with myself for the rest of my life. I can’t live the rest of my life disliking certain parts about myself.
As I’ve been traveling, people have complimented me on different things. For example, a few people have said that they love my hair. My hair is something that I have always felt uncomfortable about. Traveling has taken a lot of the insecurities away from my soul. I can totally give other people the same love that I give myself. The world needs more of you. Everyone is designed differently. Everyone has different qualities. The world needs it all. You never know what someone is going through and how encouraging you can be because you are your true, authentic self. You can change someone’s life because of the person that you are.
Not only do you love others better by loving yourself, you set the tone for how others treat you. If you love yourself for who you are and what you are 100%, you won’t allow anyone in your life to disrespect the badass that you are. I now have this mentality where I love myself too much to let anyone disrespect me. Before I wholly loved myself, I used to let certain people take advantage of me because I thought I deserved it. If there’s only one thing that you learn from this post, I hope it’s this: The love that you give yourself indicates how you will let others treat you.
The most disastrous thing we can do as human beings is to accept the lies that other people create about us. These lies dominate our thoughts every single day and hinder ourselves from living our best lives. You have to fully accept these lies so that you can regularly grow into a better version of yourself. If you can love yourself for who you are, you can transform the direction of your life. Discontinue letting other people beat you up about your flaws. And for the love of queso, STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP FOR WHO ARE!!! You are worth way more than what others see your worth as.
Is it going to be easy to love every single stinking inch of yourself? NO. Absolutely not. You will have to make the active choice of loving yourself every single day. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll hit a home run. Love yourself no matter how hard it can be at times and you’ll become the marvelous person you are meant to be!
What is the first step that you are going to take to start embracing who you are?
Disha is a travel and lifestyle blogger who has visited 85+ countries with South Africa and the Maldives being her favorites. She gets butterflies sharing her travel and life experiences through words. She loves freedom, sunflowers, and long walks on the beach with her husband. She’s obsessed with helping others live a life they don’t have to escape from. Lastly, she makes travel more accessible, inclusive and attainable one trip at a time.