While getting ready to go to dinner last week I looked in mirror and felt great, I loved my dress, my make up and my hair. It’s crazy to me that there was a time where I could barely face looking in the mirror and when I did, I hated everything that glanced back. Changing an outfit 75 times wouldn’t be uncommon.
Why was it that all I could see was my “flaws”, all the bits that I didn’t like? In those moments, I had a lightbulb moment -if I was skinner my life will be perfect! Genius right? This led me to obsess about everything I ate and as I lost weight did my life magically transform? No, if anything it made me worse, I was full of hate towards myself for not being “perfect”.
I felt so guilty all the time. I had a great upbringing, full of love and support so I hated that I felt the way I did about myself. I knew there were people with much bigger problems. My parents separated 3 years previously (when I was 14) so I guess that affected me more than I believed. There’s a lot of uncertainty that surrounds you when a family breaks down. As a teenager you’re dealing with so many changes as it is, throw a separation into the mix and you are bound to retaliate in some way . I don’t dwell on those times though, I’m a stronger person because of it today, and I’m grateful to still have my family close to me.
I’ve read stories of Body Dysmorphia sufferers, that they can become very introverted and uncomfortable leaving the house. I was singing in bands at the time, so I believe this played a great part in building my confidence up (though it took me years to realise this) and I had a great circle of friends who supported me. I remember one of my friends telling me to write a daily journal of my emotions (way before its time, right?) I’d let him read it and we would talk about it! I would advise anyone feeling this way to be vocal, there is no shame in these things!
I know age is a big factor in this. I turned 30 this year, so I naturally felt more confident than 18 year old Aimee. I have the most supportive “partner in crime” who stands by every decision I make and constantly pushes me to give my all, whether that be in my day job or training/fitness.
I’ve said it many times but immersing myself into the world of health and fitness played a big part. Lifting weights was a huge breakthrough for me. It allowed me to celebrate the great things my body can do! It helped me see myself in a different light. I no longer focused on shape or size, I just wanted the numbers on the barbell to rise. Crossfit and Weightlifting gave me the confidence I spent years searching for.
My best advice; find something you love, something that makes you feel alive and repeat it. That dance class you loved as a kid or surprise yourself with something you never had the confidence to try. Just do things that make YOU happy!
People comment on my positivity a lot, and I feel when you’ve had dark days in your life, it’s not a negative, they don’t define you, they’re just life lessons. It’s important to look back and appreciate the journey you’ve had. The steps that have taken you to the present.
There are days when self doubt may try to worm its way in and that’s OK, it doesn’t mean you’re back to square one. When it happens treat yourself to something nice, show yourself some self-appreciation.
Every step forward starts with self-belief. In this digital age we can easily compare ourselves to others and feel less worthy, but that needs to stop. Have you ever looked back and reminded yourself of all the great experiences you’ve had, great times with family and friends? All that can be forgotten about when you constantly compare yourself to others.
When you grow to accept yourself (warts and all) there is a beautiful sense of peace that comes with it. It takes time, love and nourishment. It’s important not to chase the finish line, take baby steps daily and remember to breathe.
One of my most honest musings I hope you enjoyed, if you ever want to talk to me on this subject I’m always available on any of my pages or pop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.