Confidence. Self-acceptance. Super easy, right?
No, not quite.
We haven't all been in this situation, but I think as women, many of us have in some capacity. Those moments of ruthlessly hating yourself for no apparent reason, or those daggering thoughts of, "why can't I look or be more like her"?
It's not always easy to appreciate our beautiful selves for the way we are. For many, many years, I struggled with accepting myself and my body. I was only able to be truly at peace once I learned to love who I am and respect the differences in all of us as women.
I have a few moments in my life that I remember so vividly - some of ones that shaped my body negativity.
Flashbacks to 5th grade, and the 6 boys that called me fat on separate occasions. (Yes, I remember every moment and no, I will not forget your names).
Flashbacks to 7th grade when I'd stand in front of my mirror, crying and cursing my curves while praying to God that he could someday give me the slender shape and long legs I so badly thought I wanted.
Flashbacks to 11th grade, when I was unhealthily jealous of every other woman I saw, just because I was so unhappy with myself.
Flashbacks to 12th grade, when I decided I wanted to love myself in every way, shape and form, and I promised myself I would work at it every day until I could wake up at peace.
Finally, flashbacks to college, when I was at my heaviest weight, yet somehow still happier than I was in previous years.
My life changed when I decided to accept myself, flaws and all. It wasn't an easy journey, and it didn't happen overnight, but it happened.
I truly believe your happiness in life is dependent on how much you love and accept yourself.
I'll be honest, I still have many days where I'm not as happy with myself as I should be. "Why can't I just be chill? Why do I have to care so much about even the smallest details?"
I think about my personality. I think about every negative trait I have. It happens. But then I flip the situation and try to find the positive.
Sure, I care a lot about seemingly minor things, but that just means I'm a passionate person. I would go to the ends of the earth for the people I love and the things I believe in, and I'm going to write that off as a positive trait. It makes me who I am, after all. (Look up the traits of a Scorpio and it'll all make sense).
What I'm saying here is that it's completely normal to have instances where you aren't super confident. The important thing is that you've trained yourself to quickly come back to reality. We all get down, but you are more than capable of picking yourself back up.
I hope some of my story will resonate with even just one other person out there who might need to hear that they're not alone. Keep reading for how you can gain more confidence in yourself!
Tips for Gaining Confidence & Accepting Yourself
These are the things that worked for me in the past, and I hope they can help you, too!
1. Follow Positive Role Models (& Limit Any Negativity)
It's so important that you seek similar voices, shapes and colors that you can resonate with in a positive way.
When I was younger, finding models or women on TV with curves was not the norm. This sounds crazy, but once Kim K became famous, it started a positive movement for curves and allowed my young, impressionable self to see that there were beautiful shapes other than being "skinny". Representation matters through skin color, body shape, everything. I slowly started to appreciate myself more as I saw a curvy body in a positive light.
Although, OK, maybe Kim wasn't the best example of a positive role model, but hey! In a world full of Paris Hiltons, she made it acceptable (and envied!) to be a Kim Kardashian!
Along with following what you consider to be positive to your situation, it's important to limit the negativity, and by that I mean anything that makes you feel negatively about yourself.
That could mean a number of things, but for me, it meant bloggers, models, anyone or anything that made me feel inadequate. During a time I needed to heal myself and get back on track, this was the right move for me. I wasn't in a place to appreciate others without hating myself, and I needed to back away from the negativity. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others (in a detrimental way), try to limit social media for a while and just focus on you!
You will get past this point as you work on yourself and understand the beauty in all of us as individuals.
2. Make a List of Your Best Qualities
In the notes on your phone, write down three things you love about yourself. It can be about something you've accomplished, your relationships, your traits, (physical or not), just write down three. You need to look at this list every single day, read them out loud, and remind yourself of these things that make you special, unique, and beautiful. Never stop reminding yourself of the great qualities you possess.
3. Make a Positive Playlist
This seems silly, but music can play a big role in our moods. Make a playlist of songs that make you feel confident (or pumped up)! I would listen to mine every morning, or before any special event for a confidence boost! Some of my favorites are "Who Says," by Selena Gomez, "Dancing Queen," by Abba, and "Radio Gaga," by Queen.
4. Speak it Into Existence
I fully and wholeheartedly believe in speaking things into existence. It plays off of the idea that you need to "fake it til you make it." Even on days you don't believe it, you must tell yourself that you are worthy and that you love and accept yourself. Look in the mirror and speak it into your soul. You'll get there - it takes time, but you need to train your mind to see the good.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Put in the Work
Look, I'm a believer in loving yourself for who you are without having to change. That's what this is all about! But I also believe you need to put in the work. Some of that work involves following the above tips. Other parts of that work still may include getting healthy, whether that be mentally or physically.
Finding an outlet or a professional to speak with about your thoughts can be an incredible, beneficial outlet. Eating well and exercising can be just as valuable. Think of your goals, what you want to achieve, and put in the work. I just ask that you be realistic and love your underlying self for who you are. Believe it or not, it's possible to still love yourself while putting in the work to better yourself!
What Can I Do to Help Others?
Be a shining light. Lift up anyone else whenever you can through encouraging words, or even just a smile. The most miniscule acts can make someone's day and boost their entire mood and confidence.