So, I’ve realised something recently. I am a bully. I am constantly saying mean things;
‘You’re so fat.’
‘You’ll never be good enough, why are you even trying?’
‘Your hair looks awful.’
‘You’re not even pretty.’
‘You’ll never be successful.’
Who, you ask, am I saying these things to? Yeah, you guessed it. Of course, I say them to myself! I am not confident in my own skin.
Now, if I just walked up to you in the street and said these things to you, you wouldn’t be happy. If I said them to your friend, you would have something to say, right? So, why then, do we think that it is acceptable to talk to ourselves like that?
What if I kept on and on, saying these things to you every single day? Would you get angry? Or would you start to believe it?
‘Mmmm, my jeans are getting a bit tight actually.’
‘Yeah, my hair could do with a wash/cut/colour.’
‘I have heard that it’s hard to get into that industry’ etc etc.
We wouldn’t dream of constantly saying horrible things to our friends or family members every day (unless you do, in which case, you are a mean person and you need to sort yourself out), but we are more than happy to be negative about ourselves every day. Why is that?
In the past, thanks to the media, we were conditioned to believe that you had to be a size 0, have hair like Rapunzel and have legs up to your armpits to be pretty. I’m so pleased that nowadays things have changed and we’re seeing all sorts of shapes and sizes everywhere but it’s so hard to shake off the old ideals.
For example, a few years ago I went on a diet and lost a lot of weight. There’s a big part of me that wants to still look like the girl on the left.
However, saying that, I never felt more confident in my body than when I was pregnant. I loved watching my belly grow and most days I felt beautiful.
Even after giving birth, I felt confident in my body. I was proud of my stretch marks. My body had just done this amazing thing of growing and birthing a baby, how could I dislike it?
Now though, I’m back to hating my body. I can’t see anything positive about it. All I can see are stretch marks, lumps and bumps and fat, fat, fat. I feel ugly. But why? Just because I’m a bigger size than before? Why should that make any difference to how confident and pretty I feel?
Show some self-love
I’ve been following this amazing woman on Instagram called Megan, who has battled eating disorders and now absolutely rocks her body. She is confident in her own skin and is happy to post photos without any makeup on. She talks about body positivity no matter what size, colour, age, gender. Her Instagram page is called bodyposipanda. I definitely recommend following her!
I’ve always struggled with my confidence with everything that I do, not just with how I look. I think that’s why I procrastinate so much. I think I’m just going to fail anyway, so why try? This is a terrible view to have though and since having my baby, I do try to think more about my actions. Would I be happy if, when Baby J is older, he just gives up on things without trying? No, I wouldn’t be happy, I’d encourage him to do his best and try again. So why am I not doing that for myself? We’re so quick to help our friends and family, to big them up, give them encouragement, so why can’t we do that for ourselves?
Change the way you think
So let’s start changing the way that we think. I’m not going to suggest that you start chanting a mantra in the mirror every morning of ‘I am a strong, confident wo/man!’ (Unless that works for you of course!) But, maybe every time you think or say something negative about yourself, ask yourself, ‘would I say this to my friend?’ And be kind to yourself. Start small, for example, ‘I like my outfit today’, or, ‘I washed my hair today’. Then start bigging yourself up when you’re ready, ‘I am great at my job’, ‘I have beautiful eyes’, ‘I am a good writer.’ The more you start saying nice things to yourself, the easier you’ll find it to believe.
Everybody will always have a different idea of what beautiful/perfect/ideal is. Pick your own, not what social media tells us. You are you, don’t be sorry about it. Just start being kinder to yourself ❤️
When I wrote this, it actually marked 5 years since I was diagnosed with depression. I’ve come a long way since then, with many, many ups and downs. To anyone reading this that is struggling with anything, please, please reach out. Whether it’s to your mum, dad, sibling, spouse or me. Please don’t suffer in silence.