The Love Myself Challenge.

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“Oh, and you can’t wear makeup. For X amount of days. Until it gets better.”

This week, on the 4th day of the new year, I paid a much-needed visit to the doctor’s office to address my growing rash and blistery skin problems. When the doctor gives you over a week’s worth of antibiotics and tells you straight up, “No makeup, until you’re all better,” she means business.

But last week I just spent over $60 in skin-friendly, age-defying makeup, in a mad rush attempt to cover up my flaws. After being told to my face, “You’re not beautiful anymore.”

As a girl + the only child of my family, I’ve struggled and continue to struggle with a lot: peer/parental pressure, fear of failure, body image, mental health & wellness, self-esteem, virtue, heartbreak, lack of confidence, etc. Going into 2016, I will openly admit that my biggest battle is loving myself, without approval or validation.

Being forced to wear no makeup for pretty much half the month is a terrifying experience for us ladies; especially when you’ve got Asian genes and forever look 12 years old as I do, or red, blistery skin you can’t hide. But as the first week of 2016 is nearing its end, I’m taking it as a challenge.

No matter what they think, I give myself permission to feel beautiful.

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The Love Myself Challenge

Over the years I’ve learned that time, be it seconds or weeks or years, time can really change everything. 2015 was a year of heart-breaking and mending. Last year taught me to trust love again, let God’s work unfold, and to value meaningful relationships. Last year, I gained authentic friendships at work & at home that I never saw coming, being alone for so long. Last year was about healing my heart.

Now that I have heart, this new year is about wholeheartedly loving me.

I’ve got flaws and fears, yes. I can’t cook an edible meal by myself, and I’m afraid to go see a show or run a quick mile around the block alone. I’m scared of job interviews and making that career change. And yet, I can speak out on television about the news, I can lead a book club full of hungry young women waiting to be filled, I can talk back at my parents and boyfriend and think nothing of it.

But the worst fear is facing myself at the end of the day, without any makeup, and looking in the mirror to see all the scars, redness, the sunken eyes, the complicated past, the fear of the future… and still loving her anyway.

The #LoveMyselfChallenge isn’t just selfies, ‘treat yoself’ or creating an Instagram-perfect life that I’ll never need a vacation from. Simply put it’s being able to say, with confidence, that I love me. (My girl Hailee Steinfeld wrote a song about it.) Scars and all, imperfect perfection, unfiltered, wholehearted love.

I guess another name for this challenge would be the Confidence Challenge. The Contentment Challenge, as Hannah Brencher calls it. The Challenge of the Comfort Zone.

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Being able to wholeheartedly love myself means accepting my faults as a part of me, my past/mistakes as lessons learned, and my faith as the ultimate rock. It means that in life I’ll mess up, I’ll continue to struggle and take on new projects, and I’ll probably never learn to break dance or be a top-tier journalist in the next 3 months. I can’t do or be everything to everyone, but I can continue to be kind to others, and gentle with myself. I can stop blaming myself for the things I cannot control. I can face my fears with confidence, without the need for approval (as we ENFP types tend to seek). It means that I give myself permission to write, breathe, not wear makeup, mess up, to take care of my physical & mental self, to say no, and let go of the things that choke me. I give me the permission to love myself.

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So yeah, I won’t be wearing makeup for the next week or so, and I’m still recovering from a nasty cough. But I won’t be hiding, and this lifestyle/personal/whatever-this-is blog is holding me accountable. To whomever is reading this, do hold me accountable for embracing and accepting myself.

Hi, 2016. I can’t wait to journey with you. I expect you will be a big year of unknowns, adventure, and self-love. And we’re just getting started.

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PS. These pictures were all taken at 3 different national parks in 3 different states: Joshua Tree (California), Red Rock Canyon (Nevada), and this past weekend at Zion (Utah)! I tend to be really happy + find myself in nature quite often; making it a goal to be more one with the Earth this year. 🙂

 

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