Feeling comfortable in your own skin, isn’t that the ultimate goal? I’m sitting here with my bowl of pasta waiting for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to start. I’m not going to starve myself tomorrow, and I’m not going to pass remarks on how “anorexic” some of the girls may or may not look…
Lately I’ve been thinking about how uncomfortable I’ve been feeling in my own skin. It only struck me when I was looking back at photos of myself and I saw one that I liked. I thought that I looked as though I was in pretty good shape and definitely felt happy with the photo. Then I remembered how completely and overwhelmingly self conscious I felt that day. I literally remember thinking that my jeans were too tight, and my thighs were wobbling way too much. When all of that came back to me, I got so angry at myself. What a complete waste of time that was feeling so uncomfortable and self conscious when in all honesty I looked completely normal and the same as every other day.
As young women and girls we put such an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves. I know that tonight there’s going to be thousands and thousands of young girls watching this show picking out every single tiny flaw that they think that they have. I honestly don’t think that it’s the fault of Victoria’s Secret. Those models work hard, train hard, and let’s be frank – are genetically blessed humans. If I looked like that I would own it too!
I think that it’s society today & it is social media. It’s power can be so brilliant and so awful all at the same time. It’s funny, I had this post planned since last week, but just a few minutes ago I caught up on all of my Snapchats. One of my favorite snapchatters, Niamh Cullen, was talking about how she received a really upsetting message from a particularly young follower asking how she can be more like her. She felt really insecure and upset, and reached out to Niamh because everything seemed perfect. The truth is is that everything you see on social media and Instagram is the highlight of someone’s life. You can’t photograph stress or pain or sadness. Or feeling uncomfortable or self conscious. People don’t see that, only individuals feel it, so you need to keep reminding yourself that. To make a long story short, Niamh shared an unedited photo of her imperfections on her Instagram to show that she isn’t perfect and has the same worries and insecurities as the rest of us. I can’t say I would be brave enough to do something like that, but if it helps one person then isn’t it worth it?
This is bringing me back to my point about social media. It has the capability to make someone feel crap about themselves, and constantly compare themselves to someone else. But at least it also has the power to allow that person to reach out to a stranger and ask for advice and help. And then leads to that stranger posting a photo in support, which will help such a huge amount of people who will see it.
I’m going on a tangent here, but I feel like we all need to go a little easier on ourselves sometimes. Life is too short for stressing constantly about how we look. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still eating well and working out most days, my health and fitness will never not be a priority. But I just think we need to also try and take small steps to try and feel comfortable in our own skin first.
Below are a few ideas that I thought could be good starting points… If you have any more ideas, you can snapchat me: niamhos21.
Start practicing this straight away. You can look at someone else’s body and wish it was yours, but you don’t know how hard that person has worked for it or for how long. Spend your time and energy focusing on yourself. If you are unhappy, try and figure out how to change for you. You will never be satisfied if you keep wishing you were someone else.
Treat your body with respect
What I mean by this is, don’t expect to feel happy with your body if you don’t treat it properly. Eating takeaways every night, or drinking crazy amounts is not going to do you any good. Obviously you’re going to have blowouts every now and again but you need to know when to stop. You’ll thank yourself afterwards.
Acknowledge what you are happy with
This is something that none of us are very good at. But I was thinking maybe if we complimented ourselves a little more it would distract from the parts of ourselves that we dislike.
Accept what you can’t change
I definitely cannot change that my hands are bigger than I would like them to be, or that I physically do not have a waist. But sure look, I’ll get over it. These are things that I physically can not make happen, so there is zero point in dwelling on it.
Dress to suit your body
Just admit it, we’ve all bought at least one item of clothing a size smaller to try and force ourselves to get into shape so that we can wear it. Realistically, you’re wasting your time and money. Obviously a goal is great to have for motivation, but I really think that if you love something, get it in your right size and wear it straight away. If it’s too small, it will always feel out of your reach and that’t no fun for anyone. Not to mention if you decide to try and squeeze into it when you aren’t ready – that is never a good look.
Stop looking for validation elsewhere
There’s no point in hounding other people to keep checking in on their opinion of you and your body. Other people’s opinions do not matter, and whether they think you look wonderful or woeful – it’s not going to change how feel longterm. You’ll inevitably come back looking for more opinions the following weekend.
Try and look at yourself from the outside looking in
Try and think of how strangers perceive you. If you have a smile on your face and even try and appear confident, you will come across that way. If you’re tugging at your clothes and looking worried because you don’t feel good about yourself, you will draw attention to your insecurities. That is not what you want.
At the end of the day, if you’re well enough to get up out of bed every morning – then count your lucky stars.
I hope everyone is having a good week!
Photos by Claire Peterson
Outfit courtesy of Asteria Active.