Yes, you. I know you’re reading all of this fat positive stuff, all this self esteem stuff and the general concept seems really wise and kind. It makes sense to you on the surface, after all, generally speaking, that’s how you approach the world right? You see everyone has value and is important in the world, and you don’t care about the size or shape of people in the world around you. What matters is their mind, their heart. How they treat people and how they behave right?
The problem is, I think you’re struggling with feeling that way about yourself. You feel the need to be perfect, to be beautiful, to be confident and awesome and amazing right? But you just don’t feel that way. You’re feeling things like scared, lonely, unworthy, stupid, ugly, not good enough. You just can’t seem to get those old recordings in your head to stop playing, all the times that you’ve screwed up, or someone has told you you’re not good enough, or that they think you’re ugly, stupid, worthless. No matter how much you “get” self esteem on paper, you just can’t seem to grow your own.
Am I right?
Let me tell you a little secret. All those confident people you see around you that you admire but think you could never be like them? You are already like them. Not only because you are taking that step out into the great world of self acceptance and positive self esteem (which is awesome!) but because they feel just the same way as you do. They feel scared, they feel like screw ups, they feel like imposters, they feel ugly, stupid, not good enough. The difference is, they know that those feelings are normal to have, and that they’re not always accurate depictions of themselves. They acknowledge those feelings first, and then they examine why they are feeling them. They realise they’re usually because of stress, because of carrying around other people’s behaviour and attitudes, because of tiredness, because of worry. Sometimes they’re chemical – lots of us suffer depression and anxiety.
There are lots of things that you can do to help work through these feelings of inadequacy. Surround yourself with positive people who value you for who you are in your heart and mind. Engage in self care – be it a good night’s sleep, a swim or some yoga, a night out with friends, or a long hot bath. Whatever it is that makes you feel good. Fill your life with the things that inflate you, not those that crush you down. Throw away those magazines. Stop watching TV shows and movies that engage in fat hate or criticism of women over their appearance. Don’t give media that engages in bullying your time and attention. There are plenty of other fantastic things out there you can read, watch and do that build you up, rather than tear you down.
But most of all, you need to know this: You don’t need to be perfect. Or beautiful. Or pretty. Or even confident. You are valuable right now, as you are, with all your flaws and imperfections. Because we ALL have flaws and imperfections. Every single one of us. Perfection isn’t compulsory, nor is it possible.
Start to see yourself as other people see you. When they tell you they love you, for whatever reason they love you, there is your evidence of your value. Turn off those old recordings from the past. They are just that – the past. They no longer matter. What matters is who you are here and now. Learn from and fix those mistakes as best you can, and value who you are now. It’s never too late – whether you are 16 or 96.
Something starts to happen when you do this. It takes a long time, but you start to see those qualities in yourself. You may not recognise it when it starts to happen, but you will feel it. You’ll feel brighter and lighter. You start to see yourself as the amazing human being that you are.
And you are an amazing human being. I can see it already.
Lots of Love