When I was young, I never knew what self-love meant. I never loved myself. Boys sneered and told me in my face that they would only give me a score of "C" based on my looks and figure. Yet, I was so eager to get their attention and be accepted - that I gambled my health away.
My battle with myself began.
My period stopped for months, my pelvic bones started to show, my pants started to drop and my hair was falling out in clumps. I dreaded the sight of myself and my reflection everyday. And one day, I suddenly snapped.
I started to sway between anorexia and bulimia. By then, I had already grown to hate myself and feel guilty whenever I felt good about myself. I would consume impossibly large volumes of food and force myself to throw up thereafter. I was obsessed with calorie-counting and felt pleasure whenever I see the pounds dropping.
Finally, my mother took me to the doctor. My dentist recognised my eating disorder right away when he saw my corroded teeth. That was when I decided to help myself. I did not want my children to see their mother wasting her life away.
My husband and my children were the ones who gave me the strength to rediscover and the power to love myself. I no longer needed to validate myself through the eyes of others. I began to take up sports and rediscover a part of myself that I never knew.
I am a big fan of running now and have earned myself 12 medals in two years. I put them up in my room and these babies showed me how strong I can be. The nasty shallow opinions no longer bore a hole in my heart and make me bleed. I come to you as who I am.
I have friends who fiercely love me for who I am. My inner beauty makes up for what I am lack in my physical appearances. I want you to know that you are loveable. You do not need to depend on others' opinions or judgment. You are who you are and embrace yourself for it. Never accept anything less than full love for yourself. Before you criticise yourself for those freckles on your face or the wavy voluminous hair, stop yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and into your own eyes. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worth so much. Always.