Self Love: You are a Rainbow


So, I’m participating in the Kindness Challenge from The Richness of a Simple Life… and this week’s topic is self love.


Stretch marks. Scars. Moles. Fat.

Do any of these words make you want to curl up in the fetal position? Or how about…

Failure. Stupidity. Loss. Inadequacy.

How about these?

You are not perfect. There, I said it. Maybe you think that pretty girl who has boys falling all over her like moths at a lightbulb is perfect, but would you know if she thinks she’s not enough because her grades are falling more than the boys? Or is it the guy who takes home all the academic accolades that you think is perfect? You wouldn’t know if he hates looking in the mirror, even when hes wearing all of his medals as decorations.

I’ve never liked the way I look. Sometimes, I would wake up and look at the mirror and think hey, that’s a decent specimen right there, but that would last no longer than five minutes. I would dress up for parties with the eagerness of a child going to Disney World for the first time (although I’ve never been there, so I can’t imagine THAT level of excitement) and more often than not I would end up in a sour mood just before leaving the house because to me all of that effort was in vain – I was still the same unattractive person.

I’ve never been able to speak to strangers or sometimes even to friends. I avoid calling friends’ on their landlines in case their mums would pick up and I would have to speak with them. To me, that is scary. If I’m out with others, I will never order food but I’ll beg the other person to do it. I beg my mum to order me pizza on the phone and if she refuses… Well, guess it’s gotta be a pizzaless life then.

Sure, on the outside, I’d get all the academic achievements and praises from teachers and whatnot, but I can’t take criticism. The lack of self-esteem keeps crushing me from the inside. I’m still too insecure to share a picture from those days here.

So what did I do?

I cut my waist length hair to a short, choppy style.

I lost 15 kg in the span of a little more than an year.

I thought if I could change my image of myself, I could change my thinking as well. Or maybe, I thought if I can’t be pretty, I can at least be thin. People who haven’t seen me in a couple years don’t even recognise me when I meet them. But me?

I’m still the same person with the same mindset.

I still hate my pictures. I hate my stretch marks. I hate the way my skin is loose on certain parts of my body because of the weight loss, but you know what?

I’m going to change again. This time, it’s changing my mind.

A couple months ago, I started taking random selfies and sharing them with a few of my friends. It’s hard to believe when they compliment me, but the “fake it till you make it” technique is not bull. I say thanks, I compliment them back, and slowly, slowly, I’m starting to see some kind of beauty in myself. When I look in the mirror, I try to focus on what looks good instead of what looks disgusting to me. It’s difficult, even harrowing at times, but slowly, ever so slowly, it starts to work.

I’ve opened myself up to criticism by starting this blog, so instead of thinking about it for days I start to learn from it. Instead of hiding my writing, I can start to improve it. Instead of being weak, I can start to make myself stronger. I’ve had friends who have pushed me into speaking on stage and even speaking to strangers, who have told me my eyes are pretty and my stretch marks are art, and after a couple of years it’s finally starting to work. They know who they are, and I couldn’t be more thankful to them.

So here’s the deal: Take it slow. Take it very, very slow. Do you hate your eyes? Start to focus on them every day. Try to find something striking about them. Every single day, without fail. It will work. Get a friend, parent, anyone, who points out the good things in you, and learn to accept them.

Have you failed at achieving something? Maybe got a low grade on an exam? It’s crushing, I know, but try again!

Failed twice? Try again!

Failed thrice? Try again!

I’m not saying stay as you are. Part of learning to appreciate yourself is to improve yourself as well. I’m trying to improve my writing, my people skills. Endeavour to eat healthy if you need to lose weight, determine to study hard if you need to pass an exam, but you can only improve in things once you start to believe you can, and that belief is the little start you need to love yourself!

I think the best way to say this is that you, yes you, you are a rainbow, and so am I. You won’t always shine, you won’t always be visible to everyone, but even through the rain you of difficulties you can manage to shine through. It won’t happen every time, but trust me, sometimes it will. Not everyone will be able to see you, but you impact those who will.

And it is those times that matter.

Nobody hates the rainbow. So let all your colours shine through, admire yourself. Love yourself, and maybe you’ll be able to see the rainbow in others too.

IMG_20161028_222724 (1).jpg

Embrace who you are, even if you never figured out how to pout

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22 Comments

  • harulawordsthatserve
    13th May 2017 at 7:16 pm

    What a great post, and I love the idea of being a rainbow. I admire your openness and your willingness to work at bringing more self-love into your days. i totally agree – little by little, you can change those thoughts, and it takes daily determination, but it’s possible. Inspiring – thanks for sharing 🙂 Harula x

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      13th May 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Openness is what I’m working at, since I’ve always been very reserved and there is always more room for improvement. I really appreciate your thoughts, thank you!

  • Jenn
    14th May 2017 at 12:11 am

    I am you about half of the week. I think what you said resonates with everyone on some level. The important thing is we push aside these negative thoughts and ideas and really focus on the good. I like your idea of starting out small. Soon you’ll realize there’s a lot going for you than you thought. Good luck on your journey!

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      13th May 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Yes, and it really helps to have at least one person who actually encourages you, but in the end you have to learn to accept that appreciation. I send you all the positive vibes on your bad days!

  • positivelyappealing
    14th May 2017 at 12:12 am

    The rainbow analogy is brilliant! I’m still a pretty shy person so everyday I slowly work to break the barrier of not wanting to initiate a conversation preferring the alternative awkward silence and smile that went with it. Great picture, love the pink glasses.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 1:36 am

      Hey thanks a lot, I’m still quite shy too! I think some of that is just personality, but there’s no harm in trying to improve it right? Stole the punk glasses from my little sister haha. I wish you all the best in your own journey!

  • Julia
    14th May 2017 at 12:49 am

    As you are learning cultivating the best friendship with yourself is key. No matter how old we are some days we look good, some days we don’t, and then we have all the variances in between. How much attention and priority we give to it is in our control. As you know… I remember feeling the way you describe in my 20’s. I don’t know how it happened but one day I looked in the mirror and said I’m sick of this. I’m deciding I’m beautiful. That was the end of it. Honestly, I think some part of me felt like are you really spending your time on this again….Good job…speaking your truth. Don’t hide.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 1:42 am

      I know, when you think about it, it really does seem insignificant right? And yet we tend to pay so much attention to looks. Just human nature I suppose, but everyone has got beautiful qualities and we need to see those to move past our insecurities. Thank you, stay beautiful and confident as well!

      • Julia
        14th May 2017 at 2:49 pm

        Thanks for your comment. I guess, I think it wastes a lot of energy. It’s a story that we tell ourselves that doesn’t fill us with good feelings. What is beauty to one person isn’t beauty to another. Our insecurities will come and go thru out our lives. You are right, just let those insecure thoughts move on by…maybe give em a kiss and wave as you watch them pass. A beautiful post!!!!

  • Deborah Weber
    14th May 2017 at 3:18 am

    What a lovely encouraging post, and I celebrate you and all the shifts you’re making. Opening to self-love is a game changer, and I wish you continued courage. Keep shining and keep watching for the rainbows.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 1:44 am

      Thank you so much, it means a lot since it’s a very personal topic to me and I’ve only ever talked about it to a couple of my closest friends, but opening up about it here feels good. I wish you the same!

  • theuglywriter
    14th May 2017 at 3:52 am

    I love it! Never hide your true self again. Thanks for this post! For every ugly writers, deep down, we are all beautiful! 😁❤

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 4:04 am

      Totally, the real beauty is in the soul after all! Thank you so much, hope your day goes wonderfully 🙂

  • Me Revealed
    14th May 2017 at 4:24 am

    I sometimes wonder what makes so many of us beautiful people hide our beauty from ourselves and others. I look at your writing, I look at your picture and I see so much positive that you have to share with the world. Your little steps to putting yourself out there are a big gain for everyone who has a fortune to encounter you. Glad you are doing this.

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 4:43 am

      Thank you, that really touched touched my heart. I always believe that it’s the little things that matter, so I’m glad you got some positivity from this. Thank you so much!

  • Niki
    14th May 2017 at 10:10 am

    Oh my gosh, Nashra! What an incredibly raw post! Thank you so much for sharing this week just as you experienced it. We all have those feelings of not being enough, learning how to respond to them is key. I’m glad that you realized the change didn’t depend upon the physical. and you are seeking to make the change where the root is. I admire your courage and determination. I’m so glad you found the challenge, may it support you on your journey of self-love. Thank you for including a self-portrait, you are absolutely beautiful! May you be able to see and embrace your inner and outer beauty. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      14th May 2017 at 4:46 am

      I should thank you for the challenge! I probably wouldn’t have written about this topic since its very personal to me and there’s hardly any people I mention my insecurities to, but it feels great to open up and have a conversation about it. I intentionally shared a slightly embarrassing photo to get out of my comfort zone haha. Thank you for spreading the kindness! 💕💕

      • Niki
        14th May 2017 at 5:19 am

        It’s my pleasure. When I hosted last year, I thought it was a one-time thing. After reading hundreds of reflection posts over the 7 weeks, I realized there was no way this was a one-time event. I call it the personal challenge on a blogging platform and that’s exactly what it is. When I saw people opening up like this, shifts in their lives, and doors opening for them it was amazing. I’m thankful for each person that signs up and send you all so much love!

        Embarrassing? No way! There’s so much personality in that photo and those glasses are so cute! I’m curious to see the profile photo you have by the end of the challenge. 🙂

  • pempispalace
    15th May 2017 at 1:36 pm

    The rainbow analogy is a great one and your thoughts on body image is what I chose to focus on for my part in this week’s Challenge. I’ve been amazed with what I’ve started to learn about myself and how I treat myself!! Your photo is fun and I think shows your wonderful character – what a pleasure meeting you through this Challenge 🙂 From one cat lover to another!!!
    http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/week-1-self-love-reflection.html

    • Nashra
      Nashra Usmani
      15th May 2017 at 8:14 am

      Hey there fellow cat lover! The picture is one I wouldn’t have shared if it hadn’t been for this challenge. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we just forget to behold it sometimes. I wish you all the best in your own journey to self love!

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