How to Like Yourself When You Don’t Like How You Look

Stephanie Klein // February 23 // 0 Comments

I have two words for you: boudoir photoshoot. Best lighting ever. Filters and flattering poses help you see yourself with new eyes. “But why would I want to like myself, Stephanie? Wouldn’t that be like letting myself off the hook?” I get this all the time. People who don’t want to like themselves because they fear that disgust is their only drive. I have so written a return address from here, and I can tell you, you’ll never end up happy living here. Hating yourself thin wears thin. And once you lose the weight, you’re not all that confident. What’s the point of wanting to fit into a smaller size if once you do, you don’t even enjoy it?

Whether we insist on sleeping without socks, or if we’re the type who unconsciously squints when we really like something, we want so much to be adored for our sidelines. For the little things most people miss, the smaller streets. For our bitten nails or the fact that we’ve got the “royalty toe.”

There’s someone out there who wants to take us to new countries and cities and neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, or to hear a new songwriter at that new bar with the new wine list, just to witness the way we experience new. That’s their adventure: learning us, seeing through our eyes, loving the way we see the world. And we’re not even their kid, but we’re loved as though we’re family. And one day we might be.

She’s the kind of girl who thinks she’s good at cards, and she’ll do a little dance when she wins. You’d tell her you only let her win so you could watch her, but she really did beat you. Truth is, you’d love her either way because really, you love the way she reacts to things. You love the way she cries at commercials and looks in her glasses, no makeup. And she thinks she looks ugly, but it’s when you love her most…in her socks, comfortable at home, at her desk chair, caught picking her nose, but only a little. You love her like Sunday with eggs and the smell of bacon and fizzled onions. In her undershirt, her laugh, the way when she reads something she likes, she has to read it to you aloud. “Are you listening? You’re not fcuking listening. Pay attention. There will be a test.” You like her threats and her smile, but you think she’s prettier when she doesn’t. When she thinks no one’s watching her. You like her off.

You can’t stand how long it takes her to get ready or how many times she asks you to get her water, or please do this for me, but you compromise because she rolls down the windows and makes you forget about the traffic. She’ll paint her nails in the car and whine when she’s cranky and when she can’t sleep. You like that you know she’ll sip at her tea in a way you can hear, and that she chews on her shirt collar when she’s nervous. That she prefers mittens to gloves and wishes she had a fireplace only for the smell. You love the curve of her face and the cup of her smile, the way she breathes in the dark, and how she loves you. You’ll spend the rest of your life letting her know you’re the lucky one, that you adore her, even with the extra twelve pounds, and you’ll whisper it every night, even when she can’t hear you.

You love how she gets excited when they’ve got her Ben & Jerry’s flavor in stock. She’ll spin around in front of the glass door and say, “Hells yeah.” And she’ll look up for a moment to make sure you see her, the way she does at the movies when something good happens. She always wants to share with you—except when it comes to her fries. Her fries are hers, and your fries are hers. Money too, but mostly the fries.

You love the way you know her, that you know how to make her feel at home no matter where she is. Sometimes it’s as easy as the Disney channel and the original Parent Trap. Other times it’s ordering in and a bedtime story she forces you to make up, and if it sounds vaguely like any movie she knows, she’ll call you out on that shit and make you start over. With something new. Because as long as you both find and make new, you can stay with everything that’s old and broken-in.

Royalty toe: when the 2nd piggy is longer than the one who goes to market.

About the Author: Stephanie Klein 

HarperCollins Published Author + Screenwriter, Stephanie is a storyteller and mentor, helping others change their lives through the power of story and leveraging behavioral science.