I was tagged on Instagram to post a selfie for the #20beautifulwomen challenge and while I don't usually like hashtags I absolutely love this one. I think it's so important that we encourage each other to be proud of who we are and how we look.
I wanted to share with you guys a little bit (though I'm sure I'll share more in the future) about why body image positivity is so important to me.
Over the course of my life, I have had body dysmorphia, been bulimic, anorexic and a binge eater. I have gone from loathing myself to liking myself to where I am now, accepting myself. You'd think that accepting yourself and liking yourself were pretty much the same thing, but I've learned after having a child, being okay with and actually enjoying your body are very different things.
One day, I stand in front of the mirror half naked and start to pick out all the things I don't like about myself; my nose, my teeth, my skin, my hairline, my stretch marks, my cellulite etcetera etcetera. I'm desperately wishing I could change it all but as you're all probably aware, you just can't change your hairline! I'm thinking, "ah why did I get all the bad features lumped into one? Oh well I guess that's just me" And then my husband walks behind me, wraps his arms around me and says "you're so beautiful", to which I naturally respond with "no I'm not, but thanks for trying". I'd accepted that I was okay but could not possibly agree that I was beautiful. That's the way it went at least once a month.
Another day, I'm helping my mom get ready for some event and she stands in front of the mirror and says something about wishing she didn't look the way she did, and I'm furious, my blood boils with the idea that my mom could think she is anything less than beautiful, bright and blessed in her appearance! I start up, "how could you say that? you're stunning! You're an amazing woman and your outfit is too cute!" then list all of her most lovely features. She hangs her head and says "no I'm not, but thank you for saying that." The woman who raised me, who loved me and so many others, who's joy and kindness shines out of her like the sun, refuses to accept my compliment. I was speaking the truth, every thing I had said to her was completely genuine and yet she wouldn't believe me. I took it as an insult, she thinks I'm lying and I can't do anything to change her mind. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks that it's exactly what I'd been doing.
We beat ourselves up all the time, how can we not expect it to rub off on those around us?
I'd been so unfair with myself, I made my husband into a liar and I'd set a bad example for all those around me.
Now of course it's not my mothers fault that I had eating disorders or anything like that, it wasn't till I was well into hiding my eating habits that I ever got the idea that my mom couldn't see how beautiful she was. But everything around me, tv, movies, magazines and all the rest, had me believing that it was wrong to love yourself. That you must be a bad person if you can't say you hate something about yourself. People will say you're beautiful, amazing, sexy, whatever but as soon as you agree with them they'll say you're conceited, stuck up or narcissistic.
This was a major problem I could finally understand and I decided I wouldn't tolerate it anymore. But if I was going to make a real change so that those I love could happily welcome a compliment from me I'd have to start with myself.
So now I've started, instead of just accepting myself I'm going to try my best to believe my husband when he tells me I'm gorgeous, I'm going to always say thank you instead of "no I'm not" when I get a compliment. I'm going to revel in the moments when I'm actually really feeling myself. I'm going to take more selfies and strut when I know I look good. I'm going to make a concerted effort to learn to like myself and I think it's an absolute necessity that other women/girls do the same.
So ladies, I'm tagging you all! Treat yourself! post more selfies! Take care of yourself and build other people up!
Be like Beyoncé on The View...
Be proud of yourself, who you are and how you look. Loving yourself is a good thing.
Thank you so much for reading this post and listening to all of my thoughts!
P.s for all the males reading this, you should treat yourselves and take more selfies too! Not just shirtless, flexing selfies but pictures of your gorgeous faces and fresh outfits. I don't care if you look like Ryan Gosling or not, you're just as cute. Be proud.