Thursday, 26 April 2018

Body Confidence // Self Care 101

I was brainstorming for blog ideas this morning and it struck me that I haven't talked about my body confidence and how it has changed and shifted over the years. I also have some advice that I want to share on the subject and also a little bit to say about how getting my first tattoo has affected the way I see my body.

I don't think I really thought about my body shape until high school. In primary school, everyone just got along and I only have good memories from that time in my early life. However, it wasn't the same in high school, which I think is quite common. I was beginning to see, and hear, negatives about my body that I just hadn't considered before. I felt fat and I began to dislike my features. In PE, I felt useless. I was told that I just wasn't trying at sports and needed to get on with it when what I really needed was the encouragement to improve rather than being completely terrified to go to another PE class. Comments were made about my nose being 'massive' and 'huge'. I remember one instance when I was told that I would never find someone who would go out with me unless they were blind.

Towards the end of high school, I obsessed over body image and tried all the home workouts in the world. In time for prom, I had slimmed down quite a bit and felt slightly better about myself that summer. I even wore a bikini once, but I was still pretty terrified and didn't wear it for long! It was the beginning of my on/off relationship with working out and fitness bursts.

College was a bit better in terms of my body image. I was riding the wave of the body positivity movement and I started my first part-time job so I was able to buy all the clothes I wanted to wear and dress exactly how I wanted. Gone were the days of having to wear a school uniform five days a week and then normal clothes twice a week. I was wearing MY clothes five days a week and then a fast food uniform twice a week. Even when I was putting on weight from stress eating during my A-Levels, I still felt super cute. I started experimenting more with makeup and funky clothes and I even cut my hair super short! I felt individual and suddenly my weight didn't seem like my defining feature.

College was a stressful but great time and I don't think I've ever had such a long period of body confidence! It was wonderful!

My first year of university was a really exciting and interesting time, as well as a stressful and scary one! I was in a new place with new people and I had to learn to be way more independent! During my first year, I started to enjoy cooking and I would make soups and curries and generally eat pretty well. Thanks to this, I lost a bit of weight and felt pretty good about this. However, my low mood started to become an issue and this had an apparent effect on my self-esteem in the second semester and heading into my second year.

In my second year so far, I have begun to seek help for my low mood and anxiety. I am on antidepressants and they did have an effect on my weight. I am bigger than I was last year. However, I have been working so hard on myself and my self-esteem that it doesn't seem to trouble me as much as I would have expected. I dress nicely and focus more on being present and being a good person and less on looking a certain way. At the beginning of the academic year, I hated the way I looked but now I have come to accept it as the way it is. I look like this and I will for a very long time.

I think the thing that helped me the most with my body confidence was seriously questioning my priorities. I believe that I am a fairly good person who is kind to others and works hard. This, to me, is more important than the way I look. I focus hard on my inner self, rather than my appearance, and I gain so much more joy from this!

I also learned that self-compassion and self-care are so much more important than tearing myself apart for the way I look! I wrote a post on 'Treating Yourself How You Treat Others' and I live by that phrase. If you wouldn't tear your friends down for the way they look, why would you do the same to yourself? It's all about treating yourself with the respect and kindness you treat others with!

I got a tattoo very recently too. It's still healing and I can't wait for it to be healed, I love it so much and it is beautiful! I have a tattoo of lavender on my thigh. I was never very fond of my thighs but now when I look at them I see this beautiful (albeit unfinished) bit of artwork and it makes me feel so good. It makes me feel pretty.

My self-esteem is a work in progress. I have a lot of days when I look in the mirror and think I look absolutely hideous. I look down at my body and see rolls and lumps and bumps and imperfections. However, sometimes I see a fairly well functioning body that serves its purpose and doesn't deserve to be hated and put down so much. Sometimes I think my curves are beautiful and soft. I hope to get better at thinking in this way more often than not.

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  1. Body confidence is definitely a hard thing. It's different by the day for me haha still trying to work on it:)

    1. I hope that it gets easier lovely! It is a hard thing to deal with! x

  2. I love this post so much!! Having confidence in your body is so hard for so many people to do, including myself! I can't get over this nasty pudge of mine but I'm working on it!! lol Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you so much, lovely! Wishing you all the best! x

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