I made a promised vow this year that I’m going to be kinder to myself and to swell my self confidence.
(The only vow I’ll make let’s be real with the speed of my non existent love life but as the saying goes… you have to love yourself first before loving someone else.)
The pledge hasn’t been entirely accomplished yet but we’re only 22 days in to January and it’s still a work in process. And as long as I remember to pinpoint where I’m going wrong, when I recognise self depreciation is clouding that self love, then I’m on the right track.
When I say embracing myself, I mean starting with the outer appearance before moving on to my inner struggles. If I started citing my derogatory thoughts on my self worth it’d dampen the mood immensely, and I want this to be a happy, elevating post! A pro-confidence, a mood booster, a ‘if you feel gorgeous, then flaunt it and remind yourself you deserve to feel great’ memo!
So I’m starting slow, taking little steps at a time.
Now, there’s two sides to me – the no makeup, unkempt hair, rocking the casual but often mistaken for a crisis in need look; then the ultra glamorous, up to an hour spent on perfecting the face and choosing the most showy outfit so I sass stroll down the high street like Bey kind of look.
Up to a couple of months ago, I could only appreciate one of those looks, and even then I would still turn my nose up scorning at a visible spot or a hair out of place, but now I’m putting my foot down and saying enough is enough. I’m here to cut back shaming my naturalness, my flaws, the part of my body and my face that I nitpick and disregard, and I’m switching my negative attitude into some refined praising.
The first step is being comfortable enough to go out in public with no makeup/the bare minimum. I’ve already grown to be more relaxed around this, which was the main issue I had with myself (past tense is the way forward!)
I can approach the public with just a tot of mascara on, I can give myself a nod of approval as I catch my naked face in the mirror, I can take photos without a scrap of makeup on, and most importantly I can shed away the anxieties I’ve always had with paranoia. Yes, I have acne scars on my face. Yes, I have suitcases under my eyes big enough to jet away on a 2 week holiday to the Bahamas. Yes, I look like a 12 year old child. Yes, my eyes are so big they almost appear sunken in with tiredness without any enhancement, but that’s not going to make the world tilt on its axis. People aren’t going to stare with disgust. Everyone is going to carry on as normal, and I’ll just be the person I was assigned to at birth; because after-all, if you can appreciate how cute you were as a child, then you can value the same-but-just matured face!
The second step is to not quash myself when I do feel good. I’m guilty of taking a selfie or polishing my pout after I accomplish my glam regime and initially thinking “YES! I’M KILLING IT!” only to go back on my word almost instantly because I’m finding faults, most of the time faults that aren’t even there. I have to live in the moment and stop sabotaging my inceptive thoughts.
If my highlight is popping, my hair is the desirable golden, and my outfit is both flattering and fitting, then I’m going to welcome it with open arms. I’m going to love myself loudly and proudly, I’m also going to post my face on social media for validation and confirmation that my judgement is right and I do look banging, but I am going to start the concept from within first. By means, it’ll take me a while to stop searching through photos and rejecting them as “ew!”, “nope”, “NOOOO”, but feeling fabulous is fun and it’s so beneficial to take a day off shaming yourself.
The third step is learning to accept compliments. Following on from step two, there’s no point me getting some well craved attention online to then dismiss everything people say to me with kindness and honesty, is there? If someone pays me a compliment, I do say thank you but also instantly decline it in my head because surely they’re just saying it to be fundamentally nice?
I hold my hands up to shooing a comment off shyly and modestly with my brain tearing me down and rebelling against any optimism and I don’t want to do that anymore. I have to listen and put those compliments into practice, because eventually they’ll play a part in me increasing that confidence I strive for.
The fourth step is brandishing my style. I spoke about finding my fashion pursuit and being in touch with my tastes in my recent reflective post and I want to keep up with that, to know what I want to wear, who I am, and what I represent.
Sure, I’m a little bit extra. My choices aren’t going to be relatable to those who prefer the basics, but that’s what makes me, me. I love to follow the trends but add my own unique aspect. I love to dress up wherever I go. I love to experiment and explore. I love to banish the thoughts of not being ~cool~ enough to pull something off, and just going for it. I love putting an outfit together and then thinking YASSSS.
Currently I’m obsessing over everything star print and with this Tie Front Blouse* from Tobi being the staple foundation to my winter astronomy themed outfit, I went the extra mile and layered a trio of stars from my head to midriff. Is it too much? Probably. Do I care? Nope. It was my ideal ensemble, the contrast of dark shades and intricate detailing. I felt sassy. Cold, but sassy. And that’s all that mattered.
The fifth step is coming to terms with my body. Mind, shape, skin, soul. This is at the forefront of my development, as I evolve into a person I’m proud to be. There’s nobody harsher on their body image than me. There’s times I’ve sat and cried, even when working hard to reach those desired standards but truthfully, you need to attain the body confidence before the body.
Bodies aren’t there to be repulsed, to be picked apart, to be mulled over, to exist solely to be altered. Your body is yours and yours only, there’s nobody else in the world with the same one. They’ve been through both adventures and grief and only you hold the attached memories on the journey its been on.
I’m so quick to dwell on the defects I can’t stand, but I forget how strong my body is and all that it’s endured – both good and bad.
Everything stands for something. All your features tell a story.
Those bags under your eyes? Late night laughter with friends. That bloated stomach? Indulging in a shit load of pizza in your happy space of films and comfort, stumbling in after a night on the town ordering a kebab and encountering those inevitable deep, drunk conversations that make the situation all the more special. Those legs you think are chunky? They’ve walked miles, carried you to your favourite places, allowed you to experience and breathe in the essence of life.
And that’s what life is about, that’s what you were put on earth for.
Sure, my hips are wider than I’d like them to be. My inner thighs touch. My belly is more round than hollow, especially after a carb heavy meal. My boobs are pretty much nonexistent. My bum is wobbly and covered in cellulite. My hands are tiny, my nails are short. My skin is overly oily, I have random dry patches, my torso is covered with moles, I have prominent scars, and stretch marks.
But, do you know what else? I still manage to wake up every morning with only half of that body functioning. My body has fought off mental and physical illness since I was a teenager with even less self-esteem. I am a survivor. A stroke survivor. I crashed to the bottom, and then rose to the top again. My brain has damage, my left side has a loss of feeling, my body withstands often intolerable chronic pain and yet I’m still able to hold my head up high, and I think that’s pretty amazing.
So, yes, I would like a flatter tummy, smaller thighs, toned abs, more of a cleavage, silky, smooth, long legs, a flawless complexion, tanned skin, a beautiful, straight, white, bright smile, and a perfectly symmetrical, womanly face. I’d love if my mind allowed me to rest, to stop thinking the worst, to stop killing my motivation, and to stop zapping me of energy. I’d love if I wasn’t exhausted after one simple job, or movement, and I’d much prefer a fully, working body but I’m embracing what I have.
My body has failed me at some hurdles, but it’s also wowed me. It’s let me down but it’s battled constantly. It’s allowed me to participate in nearly 25 years of wonderful worldliness and it’s reminded me every day that I am brave, one of a kind. That it isn’t an easy ride, and you can’t predict your fortune or your future. You just have to live for now. That turbulent relationship may have been rocky along the way, but there’s room to be calmer, more at peace, and towards the end you’ll realise it was worth it.
The sixth step is embracing them all. My insecurities, my vanity, my newfound confidence, and the things that spur on that radiance. What does give me confidence? A glowing tan, false lashes, a flowing dress that cinches in all the right places, a funky pair of heeled boots, a curly blow dry, some vivid lippy, being told I look pretty, the right lighting, exercise, and those moments I smile on the outside and inside.
From now on, I’m going to take all the efforts I put into hating myself, to transfer over to place utter focus on those steps I’m taking to love myself and to concentrate on what does make me feel great. I’m going to learn to love what I have, encompass my imperfections, my insecurities, and my flaws, and aim to become the paragon of virtue when it comes to erasing the idea that you can’t wholly champion your own persona.
You can, and you will!
Being your own enthusiast is bound to help in the long run. If you only talk about yourself as ugly and worthless, that’s how you’re going to feel about yourself. You’re going to be suffocating in self loathing and it’s really going to get in the way of your personal growth and the notion to building a healthier self image.
I am fed up of this nonsense and boring perspective from modern society, that self confidence instantly means arrogance and obnoxiousness, and that it’s a bad thing to love yourself. If you believe it, don’t hesitate in embracing it till your heart’s content. Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, and not the idea of what you feel you have to be to make everybody love you.
As Carrie Bradshaw would say…
There’s no room for demons when you’re self possessed.
*Items marked with a * were sent to me for review purposes. Please read my disclaimer for more information.