Before I started dating my boyfriend of one year, I was incredibly insecure. I did not like the way I looked, and had the mindset that I was not good enough for another human to love me.
The negative thoughts filled my head constantly — that little voice telling me I’m not pretty enough or smart enough or good enough.
As I sat in my room many a night and dissected each thought, my mind desperately shifted to a more hopeful scenario. I started daydreaming about the man I would one day call my husband, and how much better my life would be when I had him constantly giving me honest compliments.
I developed this theory that once I met him my life would automatically improve, and I would be cured of all insecurity. I’m here today, on my one year anniversary, having dated a guy who makes me happier than I ever could have imagined, to say that was not the case.
Jonathan and I met 13 months ago through a mutual friend and immediately hit it off. Right off the bat we grew very close, doing just about everything together and learning more about the other every day.
But I was not in a perfect mental state when we started dating. In fact, I was far from it.
The night he and I met I very distinctly remember thinking how fat I felt the whole night. And on our first date I even apologized to him for how I looked because I “didn’t have long enough to get ready.”
Why did I do this? I sit here now and wonder why I cared so much, but the truth of the matter is that I am simply a human, and I cared what he thought about me. Even now I find myself thinking “Ew, why are you wearing that, he’s not going to think you look good.”
As time went on and I still could not shake the insults from my brain, I really began to worry something was wrong with me. This only fed the problem — I started to become insecure about how insecure I was.
People say you have to love yourself before anyone else can. And since I always believed that to be true, I was worried when we started to date and my negative thoughts didn’t just melt away.
This idea that we have to be perfect before we find love is bogus — it’s just another stereotype society has created to make people think they are inadequate or not good enough.
What I mean to say here is that it’s normal. It’s normal to feel insecure, it’s normal to think you don’t look good in a certain outfit and it’s normal to think you might not be perfect.
Just because you are in a relationship and have someone telling you how beautiful you are does not mean you are suddenly going to love yourself and all of your problems will disappear.
The little voice in your head won’t magically start praising you, and the constant criticisms when you look in the mirror won’t vanish.
But I’ll tell you what — it is a hell of a lot easier to go through with that one special person by your side. Having that positive reinforcement when I’m feeling low is one of the greatest blessings I could ever have asked for.
I still have days where I need Jonathan to tell me I’m pretty, or need a good cry because I made a bad grade or gained a few pounds and that is totally normal.
Insecurity doesn’t go away just because someone is telling you it isn’t true, but hearing the positive side is definitely a step in the right direction.
Anne Dawson is the social media editor at The Plainsman. Contact her at online@ThePlainsman.com.