MANILA, Philippines - I stopped and pressed "pause" on my laptop, feeling uneasy with what I just watched. On my screen was a YouTube video of a documentary/movie created by Louise Hay called “You Can Heal Your Life.”
I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of saying “I love you” to myself in the mirror. Just the idea of it makes me feel awkward. Although the skeptical voices rang in my head, another set of voices told me to give Ms. Hay a chance.
Louise Hay, a recognized positive speaker, best-selling author, and frequent guest on Oprah, was explaining how integral it is to declare love for yourself. Our minds are filled with negative voices, berating everything that’s not right with our lives.
“My body isn’t fit enough. I’m so stupid. No one likes me. I look so ugly. I wish I had her life. Why can’t I do anything right. I knew I shouldn’t have done that. Why does she have that? She doesn’t deserve that. Life is so hard.” These are only a few of the negative things we say to ourselves.
If left to autopilot, our negative voices break down our confidence. And yet with this war in our minds, the real world goes on.
We are the cause of our own defeat.
I’ve experienced tons of self-doubt in my own life. I started modeling at 17 years old, an age where identity is still being molded. At that age, I was looking for self-approval, unable to really determine my real source of happiness.
Modeling, however exciting and creative, is a tough industry set with precise physical standards — and a lot of competition. If a young model enters an industry where criticism and rejection are constant, as well as competition with other young girls, she is exposed to a lot of stress to her self-esteem.
Girls compare their jobs, their fee, their looks, anything. The race to be popular is on a high. When lacking the tools to handle the internal pressures, one can find themselves on a long, lonely, confusing, and unstable road.
I was on that road.
If I could give my younger self advice now, I would say that entering an industry in an effort to gain approval and self-esteem is a backwards plan of action. It is healthier for your mind, body, and soul to walk into the field already equipped with a peaceful armor of self-love.
But getting that self-love takes practice, and a whole new way of thinking.
And it starts by loving yourself; not in a conceited, egotistical way.
Even though this can also sound cheesy, bear with me here. I’ve seen proof that honestly loving YOUR life — which includes not only your mind, body, or material things, but also your flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, and embarrassments — is healthy. Love where you are now and your life journey.
We are so often pressured to be something “more” that we don’t take time to appreciate who we “are.” But the truth is, we cannot control who will love us or approve of us, and the chase for a thumbs up is exhausting.
Transform the yearning for acceptance from others into a quiet confidence in your own abilities. It’s okay if you fall short to other people’s expectations of you. What matters is that you don’t hate your life at the end of the day.
You find yourself in a state where you shine outwards, instead of seeking for others to fill you with light.
You are more eager to share your vision and purpose to the world. You are able to walk through any battlefield of competition, rejection, and criticism intact. Because, really, the skinnier, richer, more talented, more popular person may not be happier than you, or have less problems than you.
I want to bring this idea to every field, not just modeling. Because we all know that criticism, rejection, and fear can haunt any career. These trip-ups can happen to any person, male or female.
So I tried it. I locked my door, and stood there in front of the mirror to say what Ms. Louise Hay said. And no matter how stupid, or dumb I felt, I just told myself I would try this exercise. What happened afterwards didn’t feel like an enormous change. So I repeated it over and over again. Then I tried it the next day, and then the next week, and the weeks after that.
One day, while getting ready, I passed by the mirror and noticed that something was different. Nothing happened to me in my professional or personal life. Yet, I saw the change… A twinkle in my eye.
I was happier just being me. - Rappler.com
Victoria Herrera is a TV and event host, model, and writer. In 2011, she released her first book, "Unscripted," based on inspiring conversations on her previous radio show. In 2012, she hosted Runway TV Asia where she interviewed international fashion designers and celebrities. Currently based between Manila and Singapore, she continues to explore the world of creativity, design, and fashion as a contributor for several magazines and newspapers.