As I washed my face before bed last night, I stared long and hard at the cysts that are slowly creeping up on my face. I’ve been battling cystic acne for almost ten years now, with years in between of clear skin thanks to two courses of the powerful drug Accutane. And since I wrote my last article about the importance of believing that we deserve to take up space, even with cystic acne, I’ve made major efforts in truly believing that message.

I read daily affirmations and don’t shy away from taking selfies. I journal about self-love and I don’t wear makeup to go out, even with my acne. I tell myself we are all deserving of love because we are still the same people we were when we had clear skin.

We are not our skin. We are not our imperfections. Our skin conditions, our weight, or any of our other battles do not define our happiness. I know this with all of my heart.

Yet, last night, as I got ready for bed, I had a moment of weakness.

I felt ugly, and I felt like a hypocrite. Didn’t I, just a few days ago, talk about how my skin condition is not going to ruin my self-esteem or bring me down like it has every other time I’ve had horrible breakouts?

I don’t want it to be like last time, so I’m going to love myself, acne and all, I say to myself.

Yet, we know it’s so much easier said than done. We can read (and write) as many self-love and motivational articles as we want, but there’s a difference between learning a lesson — and actually applying it to our lives.

There is a difference between reading about self-love and actually living it.

I’m not alone in this fight of self-love and acceptance. I’m not the only person who has their moments of weakness.

But the important defining moment when on a path of self-love is to accept that the bad days are inevitable.

You are allowed to have a day where you just don’t feel like being happy-go-lucky about the extra weight you’ve gained, the hair you’ve lost, or the cysts on your face. You are allowed; you are only human. You are not a hypocrite for talking about loving yourself one day, and then feeling sad the next. That doesn’t make you a failure, that doesn’t mean you need to start over. You did not break your self-love streak.

Moments of weakness are an essential part of our journey.

Because it’s how we pick ourselves up the next day that truly makes the difference.

I woke up this morning and I brushed my teeth, immediately noting all of the new breakouts that appeared. And I smiled. This morning, I felt beautiful and happy and inspired to apply the self-love messages I’ve been reading about.

I want to make sure anyone else struggling to see the beauty in themselves knows this: it is okay to have bad days.

In fact, it’s normal. It’s how you move forward that counts. Are you going to accept the bad day as your new normal and turn it into a bad week? Bad month? Bad year? Or are you going to have the bad day, and fight to make tomorrow a better one?

So, to myself, and anyone else struggling with insecurities, I’m holding myself accountable for you. Because I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel like they’ve failed because of one bad day, and I need to make sure that I apply that same kindness to my own journey.

On the bad days, I’m going to remind myself that it’s normal to have a day like yesterday. And on the good days, I’m going to be grateful that I picked my head up and didn’t give up on loving myself, flaws and all.

Jessica Mendez is a full-time writer living in Las Vegas, NV. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from NAU and her master’s degree in family and human development from ASU. In 2018, she left her career in mental health to pursue a career in writing. She is currently working on her debut novel and a collection of bilingual poetry. Follow her on Twitter and Medium to read more of her work.

Image courtesy of Chris Jarvis.