When I was training to become an Aerie Ambassador, we did an exercise called “A Love Letter to My ______”. This exercise was meant to have us start thinking about all of the amazing things our body does for us and how we can learn to accept ourselves.
A huge part of learning to love yourself is through self-reflection, it can be through the form of writing in a journal, creating art, speaking with a friend, etc. As a result, I created my own self-reflection, a spin-off on the Aerie love letters, and it helped me learn and think more about how I thought about my body when I was younger and how different my mindset is now.
To my 12-year-old self,
I know how insecure you are feeling, wondering why your jeans come from the women’s section when your friends get theirs from the kids section. I know that you are embarrassed that your legs can’t even fit into your mom’s jeans, and that your sisters are skinnier than you. It’s okay that your thighs are curvier, that you’ve got tiger-stripe stretch marks on your hips, and that your butt is bigger than the other girls. Try not to spend as much time scrutinizing yourself in the mirror; you will grow into your body, I promise. You are and will continue to be beautiful.
Please, don’t try to shave your eyebrows down because girls keep telling you they look like caterpillars. Trust me, in a few years thick and full brows will be trendy, and girls will spend hours drawing theirs on to match how yours look with no effort.
When girls tell you that you need a nose job, turn the other way. They clearly have their own issues they need to address.
Don’t try another restrictive diet with your dad. It’s not healthy or normal for a 12-year-old girl to drink kale smoothies every meal for three weeks and take a hand full of supplements daily to try to drop weight.
Allow teachers and students alike to mispronounce the unique way your name is spelled. In a few years, you are going to get to visit your homeland and meet people with the same name as you!
The boys are going to continue to be jerks, even when you’re twenty, but you have to learn you do not need one to complete your princess fantasy. A true queen doesn’t need a king.
All of your reading and practicing math problems will pay off - let people call you a nerd or a dork, soon enough you’ll be studying what you love at a great university.
Let girls whisper that you have a bubble butt in the hallways, in a few years your body type will be considered sexy.
If you are uncomfortable with boys, you don’t have to do anything with them. And do not worry that you won’t get your first kiss for a few more years; no one is going to judge you.
Hang in there Lidija, in a few years you will learn what it’s like to love yourself, and it will be an incredible journey. You will be able to use your hardships to inspire and help girls from across the nation, and you’ll get to write about what you’re passionate about for large audiences.
I’ll see you in eight years,
If you’re reading this, consider taking a moment to write about what you love about yourself, what makes you unique and beautiful, and don’t limit yourself to physical features, personality traits work as well! Comment below if you want to share your letter!
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Author: Lidija Jurovich
Lidija is a rising junior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Non-Profit Leadership. Growing up on the West Coast, Lidija has learned that traveling and meeting new people is one of her favorite things to do. She hopes to create her own non-profit clothing company with proceeds benefiting victims of child abuse or pursue a career in marketing for empowering and inclusive clothing or beauty companies. Currently, she is a brand ambassador for Aerie, where she works to promote body positivity and empowerment on UMD’s campus.