Happy #SelfLoveSunday! Today’s guest blogger is Sydney! I’m a huge Insta-fan of this pretty girl! She is young, spirited, and radiates self confidence in every post! Her journey to finding herself is truly inspiring. I think we can all relate to the struggle. Know that you are not alone on your journey to self love. It can take us a lifetime to truly figure out what it means to love ourselves, but what matters is we try.
“Sydney was finally turning into Sydney. I worried less about what other people thought about me and just started being me.”
Y’all, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was when Abbie messaged me and asked me if I wanted to be her guest blogger for Self Love Sunday this week. Like, I gasped so hard that my boyfriend asked me if I was okay. It was like whenever Cassey likes one of your pictures on Instagram. I think Abbie is totally extraordinary, so of course I was super pumped that she even noticed me, let alone wanted me to write for her blog! The topic: self love.
This is such a weird subject for me. I’m honestly sitting here struggling to gather my thoughts as I’m writing this. I guess the first time I can ever remember struggling with self love was when I started middle school. I remember little 10-year-old Sydney, all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I was SO excited to start 5th grade and finally get my life going. I was growing up, and I thought middle school was going to be the best time of my entire life. I thought my best friends and I were going to rule the school, figure out who we really were, and everything was going to be perfect. I wish I could tell you that it was.
I’m not going to say that I had the worst middle school experience in the entire world, because it wasn’t. Some days were great, others not so great. I feel like I was a pretty average kid, and I wasn’t unhappy, but I distinctly remember always feeling like I was totally out of sync with all of the other kids. I would always ask myself if I was doing, saying, and wearing the right things, and just being what everyone else wanted me to be. I even felt like this when I was around my best friends, just constantly worrying about whether or not I was doing the “right things.” I always felt like I couldn’t be myself because no one wanted me, and that made me not want myself. I was trying so hard to constantly hold myself back and be the “right” person, that I lost who I was. I would constantly doubt myself and thought that no one actually liked me, but were just going through the motions and tolerating me. That made me try even HARDER, and it was exhausting. Looking back on it, the people who I was trying to impress were the people I thought were my best friends, but they were pretty terrible to me. And I let it happen.
I feel like I didn’t have my own identity for years. I had no idea what it meant to be Sydney. I didn’t have my own interests because I would just fall into the shadow of my best friend, or whatever boyfriend I had at the time. I just liked what they liked, even if I didn’t really like it, because I was so afraid to be the “real me.” The sad part was that I didn’t even know who she was. Those feelings lasted until the beginning of my sophomore year of college, which was back in the fall of 2015 (surprise, this is when I found POP!). So for a solid nine years, I was living in a world where I didn’t know who I was, and I definitely didn’t love myself.
I’m not really sure what happened. Going to college and moving to a place where the only thing people know about you is your name really helped me on my journey to self love. What’s funny is that I didn’t even really know that I started one. My first year of school was super rough for various reasons. I was testing the waters and trying to figure out who I was. It really wasn’t until I found Cassey’s YouTube channel and committed my life to POP Pilates that I started noticing changes in myself. I remember waking up early one day in September and thinking, I’m going to work out today because I’m getting kind of squishy and I need to put a stop to it.
Yes, I started working out for vanity (but like, who doesn’t?). I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, so I wanted to set a goal to make my body worth looking at. I was kind of starting to really figure myself out, and I wanted the outside to match the inside. What’s so funny is that I remember thinking that POP was my thing, and it was so special because I didn’t find it through anyone else. I found it by myself, and it was honestly the first thing that I ever felt was truly “mine.” Cool, huh?
Anyway, after I started working out with Cassey every morning, I noticed a change in myself. I was SO focused on those workouts and I was so committed. I got up Monday – Friday at 5:00 am to get that workout done. Something in my brain just flipped on and I started thinking, this is important. I cannot skip this. I will regret it if I do. POP really did change me. I started making healthier choices, I started feeling a little bit more comfortable in my own skin, and I was happier. While these physical changes were happening, mental changes started happening to. Sydney was finally turning into Sydney. I worried less about what other people thought about me and just started being me. I am nowhere near as afraid of being myself as I was before college. I don’t have to constantly worry about what I say or do, because I have finally made some peace in my head that being me was a good thing. After years and years of living in the shadows of others, I have finally found my own kind of beautiful.
Even after all of those good changes, though, life still isn’t perfect. The last year and a half has been amazing, but I still struggle with self love every single day. To be honest, I still have quite a few days where I hate looking in the mirror, even though I know I’ve made a ton of progress since starting PIIT28 back in January. I still step on the scale almost every day, even though I know I shouldn’t. Some days the number doesn’t bother me, and other days I punish myself, wondering why I can’t get it together and just lose the weight that I want to lose. Some days, I think I look great and I can see my abs poking through. Other days, I start crying halfway through my PIIT workout because I feel like I’m not getting anywhere (this literally happened yesterday). For me, self love honestly just depends on the day.
I always think it’s a little funny because people will comment on my Instagram, and even in person, that my form is so good, and my fitness poses are incredible and I’m so fit and how am I so confident, and I just kind of smile and shrug. Because they only see a snapshot of my life, and sometimes that pose is just a pose. My smiles are forced, and I post because I don’t want to let those people down. Those are my bad days.
But then there are great days, which come a little more often. And my great days are the days that I attribute to me finally finding myself. I still feel like I get weird looks and it’s hard for me to fit in, but I know in my heart that I have found people that fill my life with joy and support. I honestly think that a big part of self love is loving what you do with your life. Like, people always say that you should be able to love yourself without needing anyone or anything else to help you, and I think that’s total crap. It doesn’t make any sense to me because, to me, the first step to self love is getting rid of the negative in your life and filling it back up with people and things that you love. I guess it’s silly to me that people think that a person can only love themselves by themselves. Why do we put such a stigma on letting others in to help us love ourselves? I would be so lonely if I didn’t have my friends and family, or my boyfriend, or Cassey, because these are the people that I get to share my love with. I see nothing wrong with letting others help you love yourself, because a lot of the time, they are what bring out the true you. It’s even better when you find people that love the true you as much as you love the true you.
All my rambling aside, my journey to self love is not over. I’m still working on loving me every single day, but I feel like I have a good start. I still have so much progress to make, but that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and self love isn’t either. You’re going to stumble, and pick yourself back up, and stumble again, and you might stub a toe or two here and there. But it’s okay. No one is perfect. If you’re having a bad day and think that nothing is right about you (BEEN THERE), please don’t give up. It gets so much easier. The only thing you can do is stop being afraid to be the real you, because once you find your own kind of beautiful, you’ll never stop wanting to find more of it.
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Thanks for reading!