Before I had even started my blog, I already had a million and one topics together that I wanted to write about. I wanted a place to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others to start living a life that they absolutely love. My blog has turned into an amazing platform for me to do that but I still haven’t even begun to discuss the topics I am most passionate about. One of those topics is body positivity and self-love.
I never want people to think of self-love and body positivity as an end goal that once you reach it, you don’t have to keep working for it. It’s not like that at all and if you neglect it, it’s only going to turn into a cycle of self-love and self-hate and that’s not something you need to be in the center of. I also want to stress that body positivity means that you love yourself the exact way that you are but that you also love everyone else for who they are regardless of their size, gender, sexual orientation or race. It’s 2019 and we all need to be inclusive and start acting with kindness towards one another and also remember that Instagram isn’t always the full story.
From the outside looking in, a simple scroll through my Instagram feed could tell you that I love the way I look. I’m constantly posting bikini pictures or revealing pictures that put my body on full display. I’ve always been told by boys, and even girls, that I have a great body and I have no reason to ever feel bad about myself. While this could be true, I had been constantly battling with my image for awhile until I just decided, it’s not worth it to constantly put yourself down.
For a little backstory, I went to a private Catholic School for most of my life. I transitioned to public school my freshman year of high school and that’s really where my perception of confidence and image got distorted. High school is already difficult enough but starting a new school with no friends was challenging. I had to navigate through high school with people that were really new to me as opposed to having the people that I had spent my entire life with. Not to mention, I went from wearing a bulky sweater, long plaid skirt, and knee high schools to whatever I wanted to wear everyday. I can remember thinking “Wow I look awful in this pair of jeans” or “I wish my stomach was just a little flatter to wear this crop top” but the people around me were always saying the opposite. It turned into this mess in my mind of what the heck do other people see that I’m just clearly not getting.
I worked out quite regularly from cheerleading and dancing, I ate super healthy and plant based-ish (I didn’t really eat meat but I don’t like to label myself), and I really did not drink or do anything too wild that would make me unhealthy but I constantly could just find something wrong with me. I always felt like no matter what I did I didn’t see results and just didn’t feel great about myself. It wasn’t until post high school when I wasn’t with the same people people everyday that I could finally start to see my worth and realize that image isn’t everything, regardless if being hot and skinny makes you feel more confident.
And while we’re on the topic of body confidence, let’s talk for a second. I have a love hate relationship with the concept of being confident. I think being confident is absolutely important and really can set the tone for how a person can act and interact with people. The problem that I have with confidence is where you get it. I could post a picture on Instagram, get 700 likes, and instantly feel great that people like me and that whatever picture I took looks great. Now, if that’s what you need to do to validate yourself then by all means do it but what happens when the numbers fall the next week and you get less likes or that Instagram shuts down and people don’t use it anymore? I also think confidence from other people is a tricky line because boys could tell you you’re hot one day and super ugly the next. You can’t rely on other people to feel good about yourself. You have to find a way to love yourself exactly how you are from within, not from anyone or anywhere else.
Once I started taking my own advice, I could feel a world of difference. I stopped placing my worth and value in other people and really focused on building myself up from the inside. As I write this now, I’ve never been happier with myself. It’s such a hard journey to take but it’s worth it knowing that you are content with who you are and how you look. For so long I listened to my friends say to me “You have no need to feel bad about yourself, so just stop”. Regardless of how everyone else thinks you look, the only person that matters is you.
And I think that’s really the message that I want to get across to you reading this. Body positivity and self love is so different for everyone and the journeys to get there could not be more different but that’s okay. This whole topics means something different for everyone. There’s no one size fits all in anything in life so you can’t think that you will be able to love yourself for the same reason that another person loves themself. You also can’t try to force someone to love themselves or else it will only be a quick fix. Stop comparing yourself to others because you need to live life on your own terms. The key in all of this is kindness. Remember to not only be kind to other people but also take the time to be kind to yourself.