thoughts on being your biggest fan and putting yourself first
One of the greatest realizations I’ve had is that I am my biggest fan and my loudest cheerleader.
Hello and welcome to this blog post. I bet you think you’re setting into a casual read on your phone, computer or tablet but I’m going to throw a wrench in that idea. We are going to start this blog out with a quick exercise. Before you close out of this tab and continue scrolling, stay with me, I promise it will only take a couple of seconds.
I want you to go find a mirror and just give yourself a look. (Pro-tip: you can also just turn off the brightness on your computer screen or lock your tablet/phone and usually those make great mirrors). Maybe you tell yourself something kind like “Wow, my eyebrows look fantastic today.” Maybe you just give yourself a little smile or a wink. Maybe you just take a quick glance and recognize yourself and that’s all. Any variation is fine, just go and do it. I’m serious. I’ll wait right here.
Welcome back, how did that feel? Did it give you a boost of self-confidence? Was it weird? Was it difficult to do? Here’s an honest piece of truth for you. A few years back, I could not have done that exercise. I was at such a low point in my self-confidence levels that I would avoid looking at myself in reflective surfaces at all costs. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t like the way I looked, although a horrible body image did play a role, but it was an atrocious combination of different elements in my life.
I was juggling high-level classes, my managerial position at work, problems between my parents, my turbulent relationship, my friendships and approaching change in life. These were my concerns and one very important aspect I forgot to think about, was myself. As I look back on this time in my life, I realize that this compounding stress and continual self-depletion is more than likely what pushed me into an eating disorder. Several months later as I was going to weekly therapy sessions, speaking with a nutritionist, attempting to improve my self-image and overcoming my disorder. During this time, I started to realize a couple concepts about my self-worth. It has taken years of work and lots of reflection but here are ideas I have learned about the importance of “you”.
I find that a lot of the people practically never put themselves first. Heck, they don’t even put themselves second. I don’t know if it is our culture or the way society has shaped us, but we seem to be awfully bad about putting our personal wellbeing at the top of our “Things that are Important” list. In fact, the word “selfish” is used almost exclusively in a negative connotation. The second definition of “selfish” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “adjective: arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.” Now, I’m not asking you to completely disregard those in your life, but for goodness sake you have to be concerned with your own welfare and you should make it a priority in your life!
One of the greatest realizations I’ve had is that I am my biggest fan and my loudest cheerleader. Having a support system is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but who is always going to be there for you no matter what? You are. And you know the cheesy line of “you can’t learn to love someone else before you learn to love yourself” is true in this regard but switch it up. As hard you try, you cannot be the support system of those around you until the end of time, if your personal foundation is cracking. And your base needs you to be strong so they can help lift you up. To tangibly think about these concepts let’s pretend we are at a basketball game.
You are the star player on the court (of course you are because you are amazing), there are a couple seconds on the clock you are about to win the game for your team with a final shot. The stands are packed with fans and they’re all cheering you on. You know they are cheering you on but all you can hear is a jumbled mess of people yelling. There is one voice you can hear clear-as-day and it’s yours. In your head you are telling yourself, “I’ve got this. I know I got this.” And that is the voice that matters. That’s you being your number one fan and your biggest cheerleader.
Now let’s switch gears and say you’re on the cheer team off to the side at that same game. If you know nothing about cheerleading here is a very quick FYI the person who gets tossed in the air is called the flyer. For the flyer to be lifted on one leg or to be thrown, they have to be so strong, tightly flexed and physically aware so their teammates can do their job of lifting them. Now, you’re the flyer on the team. If you don’t have that strength and confidence in yourself, no matter what your bases (the teammates doing the tossing) do for you, the lift or the throw will not go well. No matter how perfectly they do their job if you are unprepared the stunt will go poorly. This is what I mean when I say you need to be your own strength and foundation first, your support can harmonize into lifting you higher than you’ve ever been before.
We are so quick to jump on other people for treating our friends poorly. Whether it is another friend or a significant other, it is so easy for us to say things like “they should not treat you that way, you deserve so much better” or “I can’t believe they said that to you”. But when was the last time you heard a friend being self-deprecating and said to them “I can’t believe you said that about yourself? You deserve so much better.” As friends, we should be encouraging each other to be our own cheerleaders and think positively about our self-worth. Not allowing these negatively comments to sneakily slip by unnoticed.
Although these may seem like big claims from a 20-something girl who has not once studied psychology these are the realizations that made me the person I have become. Recognizing I needed to prioritize myself before I could emotionally support my family was a game changer. Learning to value myself helped me to see those who didn’t value me. Adapting to the fact that I am my biggest fan and building my own foundation has allowed me to really support those who matter in my life. I am not perfect, and every day in my head is not great, but I am still growing, just like you are. These are my thoughts; this is what I have learned and maybe in some way they shine a light or help you too.
You are strong, you are incredible, and I can shout it from the rooftops, but it won’t matter because you already have the world’s biggest superfan sitting with one of those big #1 foam hands in your head. Wanting to say it even louder.