“To me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.” – Ellen Degeneres ✨
Okay, so I was going to do a blog post for ‘Love your body week’ in Maynooth; which was last week. However, exams are soon approaching and I’ve been super busy so I’m a week late in posting this. Regardless, I’m still going to write about it because I think that low self-esteem and body confidence are huge issues in today’s society.
Around the time just before the Leaving Cert I lost a little too much weight. I just don’t eat much when I get stressed. My BMI fell to 18, which is considered under weight. I started noticing that I was getting a lot of compliments on how ‘good ‘I was looking and how nice my figure was. At first I was happy but, the more I thought about it, the sadder I felt. I began to realise that my weight – under weight, was seen as the ‘ideal’ body shape. People complimented me most at a time in my life when I was unhealthily thin and pretty unhealthy in general, both physically and mentally. Our society has constructed this ‘perfect’ body image that is so unrealistic that people have begun to think that being unhealthy and under weight is beautiful. Obviously, I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone and of course, there were lots of people who told me I needed to put on weight but, for the most part, that was my experience and it just always stuck with me.
I’m not really too sure how exactly to love my body. I suppose it’s something that will come with time but for now, it is something that I am still trying to figure out. I think everyone has some insecurities. I, personally don’t believe that there is anyone who is 100% happy with themselves and every feature of their body. I think that’s just normal and a fact of life. Nobody’s perfect, right?
Wrong. Everyone is perfect, or should at least believe that they are perfect, just the way they are. I think that there is always room to improve yourself. Read books, pick up/ improve at a skill or hobby. Be kinder. None of these being a physical change. I do believe that exercise and a balanced diet are important, and are major contributing factors to one’s mental health as well as physical, but I personally think that far too much attention and time is spent focusing on the way we look.
I feel like now I’m not making sense and contradicting myself. I just wish that instead of this huge pressure to be ‘perfect’ looking, that our society adopted a less judgemental outlook on physical appearance and instead, focused more heavily on the aspects of life that really matter.
During ‘Love your body week’ in college, Maynooth students teamed together to make a video telling strangers that they were beautiful and filming their reactions. It was shocking to see how many people had never been told that they were beautiful. I mean, everybody should be told they’re beautiful. Everyone is beautiful, just in their own ways. I thought that it was sad. The fact that you’re not considered ‘beautiful’ unless you’re a size 8 with long blonde hair, blue eyes and an unlimited source of money to buy an unlimited, perfect closet of totally up to date clothes, is ridiculous! I mean that’s like nobody right?
Our society in general is quite unhealthy. From the seriously high numbers of people, both younger and older with eating disorders to the obesity crisis that is rapidly taking over the western world. I think it’s because of the mostly very unhealthy perceptions of the food we eat and our body image. I had to write an Anthropology essay a while ago titled something like : “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” I think that this is the overall mentality of Irish people – What you eat defines who and the type of person you are. If people changed their attitudes more to “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you how to change your diet in a bid to improve your health, strength and fitness in a way that fits your body’s particular needs and requirements”, I reckon our focus would shift a lot more to being a healthy nation rather than a ‘beautiful’ and extremely damaged nation!
Since starting college, I’ve tried to be exactly the person I want to be. I’ve worn all my ridiculous,totally over patterned clothes and not tried to hide things like my undeniable love for Disney and extreme obsession for my dog, Sally. It has made such a difference. I have been so much more comfortable in my own skin than I was in secondary school. I think that could be a huge part of learning to love yourself. Just being exactly the person you want to be and are. Flaws, Quirks and all. Refusing to conform to expected gender norms and societies’ totally unrealistic views on who we should and shouldn’t be, is totally liberating. I’ve found so many people who accept me for exactly who I am and love me for being me. That is a really great feeling! I think that being surrounded by people with a similar mentality to you and a positive outlook is one of the keys to being really happy! It’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive.
I’ve also found that taking even an hour out everyday to do something just for me is so important in helping me to feel good about myself. Weather it’s going for a walk, painting my nails, having a bath or just doodling. I always, always feel great after a bit of me time! Show your body some love.
Being organised also helps so much. I am actually the world’s worst procrastinator. If there is something else to do other than what I should be doing, I will find it. A great example of this is how I have exams in less than a week and an essay due and what am I doing right now? Writing this post and cuddling Sals. I’m also generally super unorganised. Everything from my room, to my entire life is a mess. But on the odd day that I stick to my to-do list and get everything that needs to be done, done, I feel great.
Since I’m not really great at being totally confident in myself yet, I looked up loads of tips on how to be more body positive. There were lots of shit ones but I picked out my favourites. 💅
- Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself. Things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read this list often! Add to it as you become more aware of things you like about yourself. (I know this a lot of effort but you are absolutely worth it!) ❤️
- Be kinder to yourself. If you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts and criticizing yourself how are expected to be happy? Every time you realise that you are being mean to yourself, think… would you say that to a friend? No? well then don’t think it about yourself! – Try not to be too judgemental of others or put them down either. It makes a big difference when you look for the best in people, rather than critiquing the bad. ❤️
- If the weighing scales give you anxiety or make you feel shitty, throw them out. ❤️
- Learn to accept compliments. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s important. Instead of replying with, ‘Awh thank you, but I’m not at all!’ just simply reply with ‘Thank you!’ ❤️
- Don’t let yourself be defined by any bodily issue or limitation you may have. Your strength and self-worth are not dependent on that. ❤️
- Exercise for the sake of feeling better – not to look better! ❤️
- Be critical of the media. So many images are photo-shopped and just totally unrealistic and impossible to achieve. DON’T COMPARE YOUR BODY TO THOSE OF MODELS IN MAGAZINES! ❤️
- Finally, ask yourself, why do you want to change how you look? Is it for yourself? Is it to be healthier or fitter? Or is it to please others? For other people’s attention and acceptance? If you’re not happy with yourself because of what you think others think of you, is it worth the emotional turmoil you’re putting yourself through? ❤️
I know that it’s a little hypocritical of me writing all this when I struggle to take my own advice, but I’m trying! The more I think about it the more I realise how much time and energy I used to spend trying to please others, while putting myself second!
MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS PUT YOURSELF AND YOUR HAPPINESS FRIST.
Kim. X 🌼