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Go Love Yourself

Kristina and Flynn enjoying the sunshine.

This doesn’t have anything to do with parenting, really, so I wondered if this would be better suited under my next selfie on Instagram. Then I remembered that I’m not an influencer, nor a high-schooler, and that I should stick with what I know. Plus, when’s the last time I posted a selfie on Instagram…?

What I do know is that self-confidence has always been something I’ve struggled with. I’ve battled through depression, anxiety, issues with my self-image, and two different eating disorders. I made it through all of this, and never realized my worth or strength until it was almost too late. I survived premature-delivery and a stroke and then I realized that I’m not worthless. I saw what I was capable of on the inside, and though I still struggle most days with what I see in the mirror, a healthy inner self-image helps with what I see of myself. I’m a work in progress, the rest will come, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned so far.  

You will see your worth when your inner circle is full of positive, motivational, and genuine people.
As someone who tries to see the best in everyone, there’s been a fair share of toxic relationships in my life throughout the years. I’ve been taken advantage of, picked on and had my emotions preyed upon, until I decided that I’d had enough. It’s true what they (whoever they are) say: quality over quantity. Find your person or people and hang on to them. Surround yourself with people who have characteristics that you wish you had. No matter who it is or how long they’ve been a part of your life, you are not required to maintain one-sided relationships, friendships that don’t make you happy, or any other toxic connections. When your life is full of encouragement, love, and kind people who have your best interest at heart, you can’t help but love yourself more, too.

Realize that the parts of you are beautiful as they are.
I say this as someone who has had every hair style and color over the years, but it’s true. Okay, so my hair is naturally blonde and I prefer it red, but do you know how long I straightened the curls in my hair because I thought they were ugly? My whole life, up until last year, I flat-ironed my hair every day. I color my hair because I think its fun and I like to change up my look. I straightened my hair because I thought I was hideous – all of the “pretty girls” have straight hair. One day, call it laziness or having to care for another human being or simply lack of caring, I wore my naturally curly hair in public. Of all the hours I spent covering up my natural hair, how many times had someone complimented my hair? None. But this one day, people were shocked to see that my hair was curly. People told me it was beautiful, and it helped my realize that it was. I never looked back and have so much more appreciation of my hair as is, no matter the color. You can apply this philosophy to all parts of you: your hair, makeup routine, weight, etc. It’s likely that the parts of you that you are insecure about, someone else envies. It took me far too long to realize that this is actually true.

RELATED: Beauty and fitness hacks to make you feel and look your best!

When you care about what you put in and on your body, it shows.
As much as it isn’t fair, you can’t survive on just pizza and milkshakes. You need to take care of your body and appreciate all it does! Take a multivitamin, drink water, have an annual physical, create and follow a skin care regimen, go to the dentist, eat healthily most of the time, read labels, and use products that are good for the planet because they’re better for you, too. Don’t do it to lose weight, but to take care of you because there’s only one you and you deserve to be the best version of yourself that you can be. You need to stick around for a long time because the universe needs you!

RELATED: Take time for self-care!

I think you’re awesome. I think we’re all pretty amazing, actually, and I need you (yes, you) to realize your worth right this second. No more negative self-talk. No more blaming yourself for the actions of others. No more hatred of yourself or your body. As your friend, I’m holding you accountable because I care about you.


Underestimated Strength is a collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU. You can read my posts here every Tuesday! Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I speak freely about our story and advocacy.
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