I have always been a big person. I wouldn’t say fat, because that’s not a word I like to use to describe myself, or anyone else for that matter, but I’ve always been on the bigger side. This didn’t really effect me until my early teens and from there it has gotten worse and worse. I compare myself to other people, both in real life and on social media (horrible, I know). I don’t really put myself down by telling myself things like “You’re fat.” or “You have big hips.” I do something I consider much worse. I sit there and go if I did _____, I’d be happy. Or if I looked like her I’d be happy with myself. From there I put immense pressure on myself and beat myself up when I don’t achieve it, when really it’s unachievable to begin with.
You know the saying, “Don’t be so hard on yourself”? I have had numerous people say this to me, and yet for some reason, I don’t listen. I continue to be hard on myself. Does anyone else have high days and low days? Some days I’m like “Yes girl, you look so good!” and other days I make myself cry because I feel so shit about myself and how I look. I know my brain is beating me up and that it is not good for my mental health or self-esteem but I continue to do it. Throughout the years I’ve done diets, healthy eating, exercising, running programs and even joined a gym, all in the hope I could “look better”. But why can’t I just be happy with the way I look all the time, because on my good days I am extremely happy with my body and I don’t want to change a thing because I am happy being me. I’m obviously on my way towards a healthier self-esteem because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have good days, so I just need to keep climbing and pushing and swimming my way through life and one day it will just click. I hope. One day I hope I can honestly say, “I don’t care what you think of me, because I am happy and that’s all that matters.”
If you’ve been following me from the start of The Bear and Me (click link for original post), you will know I suffer from anxiety. My anxiety causes me to think “What will they think of me?” I care so much about what people think that I let if affect me, I become a people-pleaser and I can’t make decisions. This happens to the point where some days, I don’t feel good enough. Good enough for what you ask, basically I don’t feel good enough for anything. Just a little side-note: this isn’t something that happens everyday, but it does happen fairly often, maybe not the whole day, it might even be a few minutes. All I’m saying is that it happens. My brain basically runs this script – ‘There are people who are better at my job than I am, there are dancers I teach that are better dancers than me and there are so many people who are more beautiful, funny, witty or confident than me.’ Yet, when I snap out of it I know that it doesn’t matter, because I know I am beautiful, I am unique and I am loving. I am so many wonderful things to not only myself but so many other people. I just need to remind myself of it.
Who reading this, has at some point whether it is regularly or just a once off, stood in front of the mirror and picked out all the things that are “wrong” with their body? Does this sound familiar? I do it. I won’t lie to you. I do it because I compare myself to how I looked this time last year, I compare myself to my friends and I compare myself to people I see on the internet, even though I know for sure they have taken the same 30 photos I have so they can post the best one online. What you see online is a highlight reel. It is the best of everything. No one is going to post a selfie after they’ve been crying about a bad day at work. No one is going to post a photo to show how bloated they are because it’s that time of the month. They’re going to post the photos at the right angles, where they look their best and when they are going out so they can make you subconsciously think, “Why can’t I be like her?” Sorry I keep using female pronouns. I know males struggle with self-esteem issues too, but I am writing this as a female because, well obviously I am one! I wish it was as simple as just flicking a switch in my brain so I could stop comparing myself to what I see online, but I know it’s not that easy.
I am currently doing the Ambitionista #30DayMassiveAction Challenge and one of my goals is to improve my self-esteem and how I see myself. I aim to slowly change my mentality and stop comparing myself to others. I have the whole month planned out so that I can see each day what I need to be doing to help myself. Tomorrow, I will be starting my own challenge, ‘The Bear and Me Love Yourself Challenge’. Keep your eyes peeled for it because I want as many people involved as possible!
Now, I am sorry I can’t really offer any solutions to those of you who are reading this and also suffering from poor self-image but I really encourage you all to take part in my little ‘Love Yourself’ challenge starting tomorrow. We need to stop letting media, social media in particular, dictate beauty standards. Beauty is not a weight, or a size. Beauty comes from within, (cliché I know) but it is true. If you are confident in yourself I believe your beauty will radiate to the people around you. Believe in yourself. I am beautiful. You are beautiful.