This is a topic I’m particularly excited to talk about as it’s a process that is never-ending and always requires effort; self-love. It’s such a basic concept, but such a hard thing to put into practice because there are so many societal norms we are pushed to fit into and as a result, we forget how to be content with who we are. I was always an insecure person and never felt like I was enough. As I spoke about in my previous post (link here if you’d like to check it out), I used to do irresponsible things to try to fit in and attain love and desire from people that really weren’t worth it. A lot of the time the attention I received from my “peers” by doing dumb or immature things was short-lived and as a result, I’d have an emotional crash and feel depressed or anxious for days afterwards.
Now, I think about how silly I was, putting so much pressure on myself at such a young age. It scares me to think that my little sister (now 10) will experience these feelings too. She has a much better head on her shoulders than I did at 10 or even 16 years old, so I’m not worried about how Emma will handle these feelings of insecurity; what worries me is that she will think she’s anything less than the unconquerable young woman I know her to be. It’s so important that us “millennial” women give young girls like my sister the love and freedom to be who they are that I desperately craved from the women I saw growing up.
The one thing in particular that I was always insecure about was my body type. When I was younger, I was what people would call a “late-bloomer”. I didn’t get my period until I was 13 and I didn’t start to see my breasts come in until I was 15. There was constant pressure from girls and boys in my school and from the influences on social media to be skinny and have the ever popular “thigh gap”. Now, young girls look at bigger corporations like Aerie (the American Eagle lingerie/sleepwear company) and they see unedited women who are confident in their skin. They see women on Instagram showing off their stretch marks and their freckles and their cellulite and that becomes the new normal. They see appreciation for big women and petite women and all the shapes and sizes in between. They see women and men participating in marches to end inequality and that’s the kind of world I wish I lived in when I was in middle school. Not only are young women being taught that it’s okay to not have a perfect body and a thigh gap, but young boys and men are also being shown that sports illustrated body types aren’t always attainable for everyone and that’s okay too.
But my goal today isn’t to focus on all the terrible things I felt when I was in my early-mid teens. My goal is to share with you how I achieved this beauty of having complete comfort in my own skin and how I found security in my body. I’m now at a place where I feel free to post pictures of myself on Instagram without being fearful that someone will taunt or harass me because of my appearance and even if they do, I’m no longer impacted by their words. I’m at a place where I don’t feel the need to photoshop my pictures because I know I’m beautiful without the editing. I actually value the importance of taking care of my body more now then I did then because instead of viewing myself as an object, I now look at my body as a vessel to carry me through life that I need to nurture in every way I possibly can.
Fueling my body in the right ways.
Back before I gained a positive self-image, I was scared to go to the gym because I didn’t want people looking at my body. I was scared of working out due to my fear that if I did the exercises wrong, people would laugh and I would be humiliated. I don’t remember exactly what changed for me, but one day I just went and did it and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I hear this saying all the time
− “the majority of the fear you carry is in your head” and it couldn’t be more true. Once I got there and put headphones in, I didn’t even think about the fact that I was working out in front of people and honestly, most people I spoke to were incredibly kind and supportive.
If you’re really uncomfortable working out at the gym and you’ve tried it before and it just isn’t your thing, try to do some workouts at home. If you’re just not into workouts that involve strength training or “circuits”, try going for a walk with your friend, a parent or your significant other. It’s important to get some sort of physical exercise, even if it’s minimal. Not only does regular exercise keep our bodies healthy, doing some form of workout also releases serotonin into the brain which brings us joy and happiness.
I also fuel my body with healthy and nutritious food. Sure there are days where I eat sweets and sugar, I’m a human being and that is MORE then normal but for the most part I try to eat as clean as I can. Eating brain and body healthy food keeps us energized during the day because let’s get real, when you’re sluggish and tired there’s no way you feel confident. I try to eat fresh fruits and veggies all the time, and I take a multi-vitamin and B12 supplement to get an extra boost of energy/nutrition! Once I started eating healthier and putting more effort into my workouts my energy levels increased, my skin got better, I started to slim down and get fit, and I just generally had more confidence.
Normalize Your Body.
When you’re insecure about your skin or your body or your bum or your breasts or whatever you may be insecure about, you’re inherently uncomfortable with the sight of yourself. The only way to get that comfort back and take your body back is by opening yourself up to it and making it normal. I follow girls on Instagram with similar body types to me and I also follow people that promote self-love and healthy living on all kinds of social media. I look at girls with bodies like mine and say, “damn they look good, why am I so worried about my body?” I also sleep naked, do my chores half-naked and paint half-naked just so I can get more comfortable with the way my body looks. I stand in front of the mirror every day and take the time to appreciate my body and thank my body for all it’s carried me through in this life.
Hangout with Like-Minded People.
You become who you surround yourself with. If you’re spending time with men and women who are constantly bashing others for their weight and/or appearance, that person isn’t going to help you become the body-positive, love-filled person you’re striving to be. You want people in your life that are going to help lift your spirit up and shed light on the beautiful parts of your body AND your soul. It’s so important that we spend our time with people that hold the same core values that we do so we can relate on a deeper level to those we bring into our lives.
Put Reminders in Your Phone.
I put 3 reminders a day in my phone that go off periodically, reminding me of how special, worthy and beautiful I am on both the outside and the inside. It’s so important that you learn to affirm yourself, instead of expecting others to do it for you because sometimes people won’t know how or won’t think to, so you need to take it upon yourself to take time out of your day to give yourself some lovin’. Another thing I’ve seen floating around the internet as a pro-tip for self-love is writing affirmations on post-it notes and placing them on your bathroom mirror or a place you’ll see them regularly so that when you’re doing day to day tasks, you’re being reminded of how worthy you are.
I think the most important thing we need to keep in mind is that we are all art. We are unfinished masterpieces. We are always learning, always growing and are ever-changing. Our souls are beautiful and imperfect, our bodies are beautiful and imperfect. Just like this planet we are beautiful and imperfect. We are the universe experiencing itself in human form. We are incredible and capable of so much. Never doubt your unending worth.
All my love,