It's completely normal to struggle with self-image. Especially as a woman. 'Ideal' images are shoved in our faces all day every day. It can be incredibly difficult to block out.
From that tweet, I started to think about what I'd done to get to the point where there was no part of me that I hated.No, I actually do like the way I look. It’s taken a long time to get there but it’s possible. Also, the body positivity movement has been torn away from its roots. Whoever it’s been marketed to now, it’s important to acknowledge where it originated. https://t.co/Tx71iZ86cL— Melly - Inside Melly's Mind (@melreylaw) June 6, 2018
Looking at myself. And I mean really looking. Closely. Until I felt uncomfortable and then until I felt indifferent. Then the indifference turned into appreciation.
When I was a teenager, I didn't like my nose. There'd been a couple of comments too. It's not long and slim. I made myself look at it until I found something about it that I appreciated. Now I realise it's the perfect shape and size for my face and heaven help anyone who disagrees with me.
Growing up, I was poked fun at because of my lips. You know what? They're full ('hefty' was a word someone once used) and now they're exactly what people spend their money trying to achieve. I love them. Same with my elbows. They stick out - I think it's an extra bone or something. I had one 'friend' who pointed them out at every opportunity possible. Like, hun, I'm not a circus act. It is not a party trick. They're just elbows.
My thighs feel like they're about to start a fire, when I walk quickly in the summer. I have a few deep dark stretch marks. I don't fit into size 8 jeans anymore. I inherited bunions, for flip sake. But my perceived 'flaws' aren't the be all and end all. They don't define who I am or make me any less of a person or worthy of love and acceptance.
Trying to see myself how I see other people. When you go out of your way to see the beauty in others, you can extend that to yourself and vice versa.
I realised that I just don't have the time and energy to spend hating myself. There are parts of me that I wish could be different. I won't even mention them here because it's not relevant. When people say 'other people probably haven't even noticed the little things about yourself that you don't like', it's true.
Blocking out other people's voices. I know, I know. It's much easier said than done - especially when you live with that person or have to see them on a regular basis. It can be especially tough if they appear to have the confidence that you're lacking. People who truly love themselves don't tear others down. Fight to make your internal dialogue louder than anyone else's voice. Then you'll be unstoppable.
I'm very wary of people who use the word 'ugly'. It honestly makes me cringe. Even if they're just talking about a celebrity - it really says a lot about a person if they can vocalise something like that. It comes from a broken place.
Don't let anyone make you feel bad because you love yourself as you are. Confidence is not the absence of humility.
When people compliment you, believe them. When I was in my early 20's, I developed hips. I was devastated! A little weight gain, I could deal with but completely changing shape really threw me. Especially after I thought I'd stopped developing. At the time, the man in my life made a comment about how beautiful he thought I was...including my hips. I won't give him too much credit but he really helped me to love a part of me that I was struggling to accept. 'You should be proud of them.' Thanks. I am now. Of course it helps when other people adore you but don't give people too much power. Your worth does not lie in whether or not someone else thinks you're beautiful...but you certainly can use it to help you along.
I'm not the only one who thinks so. I included these tweets from Becky because she wrote them as I was putting this post together.
I remember YEARS ago writing about how my “chubby thighs” were a flaw & someone commented saying they were upset I saw fat thighs that way. I got defensive but I thought about it a lot over the years. I honestly love my thighs now- chub, cellulite and all. They’re fun to squidge!— Becky Bedbug (@BeckyBedbug) June 25, 2018
I'm not perfect at this, so I'm not claiming to be any kind of guru but I've worked on a confidence that will withstand outside forces - whether that be the media, family, friends, strangers on the internet, whoever! Even when my body changes and it's my own fault (hello, mini roll), I have been careful not to let dissatisfaction turn into self-hatred.
It breaks my heart when people show such open disdain towards themselves. I see and hear it often - especially on social media and sometimes in real life conversations. One thing I'm learning to do is not impose my opinion on others. Instead, I seek to understand why they feel that way. Understanding is everything. People may say to me 'oh you look fine. You don't look like you've gained weight', that's nice but nobody else lives with and inside of my body. You're not there when I'm heartbroken that my size 6 Topshop silk trousers from my pre-hips life don't fit anymore. It doesn't mean that I don't appreciate what they've said to me.
My hope, if you're struggling, is that you'll find the courage to stop hiding away from the parts of you that you've internalised shame around or that others have made you feel ashamed of. I don't mean show them off to the world but to yourself. Being afraid of the body you live in, maybe one that's experienced trauma, bore children and not looked the same since, fought an eating disorder or simply isn't as healthy as you'd like, can be extremely difficult. Do what you have to do to really get to the point where the love you have for yourself is only controlled by you. That could look like all manner of things, even seeking professional help. You deserve to feel good about yourself. This isn't about vanity - this is about showing yourself the love that you deserve. One influencer who is on an incredible journey is Grace Victory. Check out her Twitter here.
Honestly, this is a topic that we could take an endless deep dive into but I simply wanted to share my experience. Everyday, I try to appreciate the way I've been created and the fact that we really are all miracles. Full lips forever. Thick thighs for life. Loving yourself can really be a rebellious act in such a broken world but it's vital that you do - it empowers others.
Drop me a comment or tweet me with your thoughts.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Lots of love,