Living For Loving (Yourself)

It’s safe to say everyone out there at one point or another often lacks confidence. It can be the teenager who lacks self image due to bullies in the high school hallways. It can be the result of a diet of magazines and feeling like one is not enough. Or, finally, it could be the result of being in a relationship where your partner (or even someone who is supposedly your friend) would continually work to cut you down. And, while the relationship is long over, the effects of it still remain ingrained in us for God knows how long.

If I’m being real here, I can especially relate to the last one. I had experience with former friends and partners that just continually cut me down. For example, I have an ex that sometimes during a relationship tried to cause me to feel completely and utterly stupid. He would constantly dismiss my love for teen romance novels and say that my writing needed work (I mean I’m not perfect and can take criticism, but I do think it’s offensive for your partner to say that it’s a chore — and really he said that — to read your articles that you work so hard on).

And, that’s only one major example. I’ve had friends insult themselves in front of me, which in turn, helped me question my own self image and myself in general.

Needless to say, that caused me to feel subconscious about myself.  While the relationship is long over and I’m even in a new one, the effects still remain. Every now and then, I question whether or not I’m good enough or pretty enough.

But, I am working on it.

However, I’m going to be honest here. I am absolutely certain that I am not the only one who has or does feel this way. And, there’s a number of reasons why someone would be feeling that way.

With that being said, I do have a message for all of those who do. Repeat this mantra to yourself as much as needed, because I think that this something that everyone needs to hear.

And that mantra is:

You are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are intelligent, and you are an awesome human being. Why? Because you are you. It doesn’t matter what size you wear, or if you’re the top of the class. You are worthy and deserving of love, and wonderful things. And, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

With the rise of social media — in our culture in general — we often lose sight of ourselves. This, meaning that we don’t see ourselves too clearly. I mean, we see thousands of stimuli daily, and it’s bound to create some insecurities about our lives. I am guilty of this. But, we don’t need to be.

Therefore, I am going to work on seeing myself as the wonderful being I am. But, sometimes, I need some help. So, here’s how I’m working to see myself clearly — even when I feel awful upon myself. Hopefully this inspires you to get going as well!

  1. Keep a journal and write in it regularly. You can do a few different prompts with this. One thing that I like to do when I’m feeling down about myself is write a list why I am awesome. Another thing is to write down your feelings. Chances are, the more you do, the better you’ll feel.
  2. Do something that makes you feel good. For me, that’s putting on some lipstick or remembering to wear makeup. Others, however, can have a different approach. For instance, some can wear an outfit that helps you radiate confidence. Whatever it may be, it’s okay to pamper yourself and remind yourself that you are awesome.
  3. Look up positive quotes on Pinterest/Google. After all, it means a lot to see it on your phone. And, you can even download them onto your phone and use it as a wallpaper. The more you see it, the more it resonates.
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NEDA Awareness Week Reminds Us To Take A Real Look At Body Image

February 26 — March 4 is National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Week. The theme for this year’s NEDA awareness week is “Let’s Get Real,” which has a goal of one thing — to “expand” the conversation we have. By expanding this conversation, I think it will help create awareness in our society about the impact that eating disorders have on us, as well as our perception of body image.

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In case you didn’t know, eating disorders span further than just anorexia and bulimia. According to the NEDA website, there are eleven eating disorders. This includes lesser known ones including: binge eating disorder, laxative abuse, and orthoxia (an obsession with proper eating).

Wow, who knew there were so many?

Therefore, what’s really frightening in my opinion is that according to the NEDA awareness page, nearly 30 million Americans will suffer from a “full blown” eating disorder. Many more, the site says, will struggle with a “battle food and negative body image issues,” which can have a permanent impact on our lives without a doubt.

And, despite the magnitude of the problem, there’s still a stigma that exists. Our society is based on appearance and image. This comes from the images coming from magazines and Hollywood — that anyone above a size two is considered to be “fat.”

Well, not everyone can be a size two.

And, you know what? That’s perfectly okay. I am not a size two — I’m a ten. Which is, pretty average. I also am pretty healthy, despite a pretty intense sweet tooth and a love for sugary coffee drinks.

However, I always didn’t feel this way. In high school, it’s safe to say that I was a little heavy. But, back then, I really didn’t eat that healthy nor did I exercise outside of gym class. Bad combo there. Needless to say, I was the subject of ridicule for many of my peers since I was a tiny bit overweight.

In my sophomore year, I decided that was the year I was going to get “skinny.” So, I began to eat lots of salads and worked out for about a half of an hour a day. I soon lost 20 pounds and managed to get down to a pair of size six jeans.

In the process of doing so though, I became obsessed with getting skinny and losing weight — so obsessed that it was unhealthy. And, I wasn’t happy, because every time I weighed myself, it just wasn’t good enough.

One day, I stopped “dieting.” And, I never looked back. And, I’m happy, because I’m healthy and enjoying food rather than being afraid of it.

Now, I want to make one thing clear — while I don’t have an eating disorder nor did I ever — I still think it’s important to recognize that we all have tricky images with body image and relationships with food. I think it’s also important to recognize that we’re all of different sizes and shapes, and as long as we’re healthy and happy, than that’s all that matters.

Therefore, it’s important to learn and become more aware of all eating disorders that exist. It’s also important to recognize that everyone may have a strange relationship with food. We should do this outside of this week, because healthy body image is something that we should celebrate all year long. And, on top of that, we should also aspire to learn the stories of those who struggle with these disorders, and empathize with that they went through and struggle with on a daily basis.

Ignore The Numbers

When it comes to your body, it seems that everything is measured in numbers – how much you weigh, how many calories you burn or consume, and what your pants size is. By using numbers as a method of comparison, it is easy for those to compare their numbers to others.

There is so much self-hatred when it comes to our bodies. When a friend says “oh, I’m fat, because I haven’t hit the gym in a while,” we are quick to contradict them. When we are in the mirror, we begin to notice our own faults, and tell ourselves that we need to hit the ice cream parlor less, and the gym more. Every single bulge and imperfection is something that should be taken care of.

I think we need to translate the words that we tell our friends into a language that we speak to ourselves. Our bodies aren’t perfect. If each and every one of us had a perfect body, then we would be the same.

So, my question is this: Why are we trying to mold ourselves into perfection? Instead, we should fall head over heels in love with the person that we are versus the person we think we should be. We should fall in love with being healthy and treating ourselves correctly, versus beating ourselves up for every single calorie that we didn’t burn at the gym or getting fries instead of a salad with a meal just that once.

Bodies come in all shapes in sizes, and that’s okay. I think as long as we eat everything in moderation, and exercise regularly, than that’s all that matters. If you want to lose weight, do it for your health — not because you want to fit in a size zero.

Instead, focus on how you feel – not on the sizes and the numbers. Eat a cupcake, run a mile – do whatever you need to do to feel both happy and healthy. And remember this: you are wonderful, no matter what size you are. Learn to love who you are, and what you look like. Why? Because you are pretty damn beautiful. And don’t you forget it.