I love the dimple on the right side of my face. My dad has one in the same spot. So does my Grandmother; it makes me feel connected to them.
I love the freckles painted all over my body. They remind me of the stars. I used to draw lines and make constellations out of them when I was little—sometimes I still do.
I love my long fingers and wrists. As a 5’10 woman with an athletic build, they have always felt like the most dainty part of me.
I love my strong legs. Each step my thighs rub together I am thankful. I’m filled with gratitude to have a healthy body that can cycle, hike, run down subway stairs, and cliff jump into the cold ocean water. It’s a gift I know not everyone has.
I love my tenacity—if I have an idea, or if there’s something I want…I go for it.
In 5th grade I decided I wanted to play tennis in college on a full scholarship. Eight years later my mom dropped me off at school to play D1 tennis.
These things may seem to spill out of my mouth with ease. But it hasn’t always been this way. I have consistently struggled with expecting perfection from myself. Most of the time I can only see who I’m not, what I haven’t done and don’t have, and where I’ve blown it. And then there are those unfulfilled dreams that keep my heart tender with disappointment.
Perfectionism has walked hand in hand with another struggle of mine: comparison. I’ve spent a lot of my life being jealous of other women in every single way. From wanting their bodies and wrinkle-free foreheads, to wishing I had their financial success, and envying their dating lives and marriages.
Comparison does two things: it either elevates me above another—which is pride, or puts me beneath another person. Both steal from our humanity because we are all on equal playing fields.
Living this way is exhausting and lonely. It steals from me, sucks energy out of my relationships, and keeps me at the center of my own pity-party of a universe.
Giving myself permission to be imperfect and letting go of the comparison game has taken time, patience, discipline, and allowing myself to be real with my community when insecurity strikes.
When I began to slowly acknowledge that who I am today is enough—not some future or past version of myself—I noticed something shocking. Women became less threatening to me. As I continue to choose to love and accept myself I am increasingly able to see others more purely. Their successes inspire me. Their blunders breed empathy. The women around me are no longer my competition, but a source of support and strength.
Here’s the thing—I think we’re dying for permission to be who we were created to be. And here’s the secret: no one can give you that permission but yourself. Ghandi was onto something sacred when he said be the change you wish to see.
I’m grateful to be surrounded by a community of women who lead by example, empower, and challenge me each day to love myself so I can, in turn, love others without condition or agenda.
Wouldn’t it be freeing if we gave ourselves permission to be women in process, imperfectly making our way through life, relationships, and careers? And what if we stopped comparing ourselves to others and instead celebrated each others wins, and supported one another in our times of need?
I invite you to:
- Choose to love yourself today. Write on a piece of paper 3 things you love about yourself.
- Think of one person in your life you’ve struggled with comparing yourself to. Send her a text or voice memo of encouragement and celebrate something specific about her that you admire.
Today I choose to love myself. Every square inch.
Thank you for reading this month’s Refined Collective. Please be sure + check out the other women sharing their stories this month: Brynn Watkins, Lauren Scruggs, Rebecca Hajek, Yvette Jain, Sarah Shreves, Jackie Viramontez