A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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Body confidence is something which I've always wanted to address more in this blog; I feel like its an issue which can reflect how people feel and their daily routine. I honestly wish that body confidence was something that was viewed as being okay; it seems as if anyone who may hate something about themselves is automatically categorized and may be seen as weaker than others who don't show their negative feelings and thoughts. I view body confidence as being comfortable and happy with yourself; not necessarily the showing off of skin, changing your body, being outgoing or bragging. The rest of this post will involve sensitive and mature content, my personal experiences with body confidence and how you can improve the way you view yourself.
My personal experience
Right now, I'm only 15 years of age but I know that teenage years and childhood are one of the toughest battles for many with body confidence issues. Since I was 9 years old, I've struggled with having confidence in my body and sometimes days have been unbearable because of it; other times I've gone months without a single negative thought. I vaguely remember when I was younger looking into the mirror and stepping on the scales to see if I'd gained or lost weight; I was merely a child of 30 kilograms. I was small, slight and shouldn't of had to worry about my weight at this age. I don't specifically remember what influenced me to feel uncomfortable with my weight, but I do remember that at the time I was a huge fan of models and music artists who all had a specific 'skinny' look about them. But I felt that in order for me to be cool like them that I needed to eat less like they did. I think at this time, I was majorly influenced by other people's actions so would've easily been influenced by celebrity role models and t.v advertisements to try and lose the extra weight I didn't have. Having a negative opinion about your body can make you feel sad, quiet and like your carrying a huge extra weight on your shoulders; I'd often break down in tears and sit in the dark for hours. This body confidence issue eventually stopped after I had a discussion with my Mum about how I was feeling. She told me that there was no need for me to be trying to lose weight as I was perfect the way I was. At this age, her words mean't so much to me that I felt positive and that I was going to live up to being my perfect self by not changing who I was.
Between the ages of 9 and 15, I've definitely had many different views on how I look. A lot of the days I'd hate my nose, hair and my skin, looking back as a stronger person, there was nothing imperfect about those features. I guess I was just adapting to my body and minds changes, causing me to feel insecure about features I'd never really paid attention to before. How I now feel about my body has changed tremendously after two major issues with my body confidence at 9 and 13 years old. But to this day although I feel positive about myself and proud of my bodies accomplishments, some days I'll look at myself and think 'I don't look strong enough, my skin looks awful or I hate my boobs'. But soon after thinking these things, I'll look myself dead in the eyes, smile and say "you are enough, embrace your insecurities, what can possibly go wrong".
Body confidence issues
If you aren't sure what having body confidence issues are then I'll explain for you. Body confidence is being happy with the body you have, having a positive attitude towards the way you look, and giving yourself motivating and encouraging messages involving your features. Not having these factors can mean having issues with body confidence, causing sadness, provoking mental health issues and feeling negative about yourself. Having problems with the way you view yourself can be triggered by stressful situations and emotional changes (parents divorce, bullying, abuse etc.) but it can also be triggered by social standards which are cast upon society today by the media, celebrities, opinions of others and advertisements. Unfortunately, the ideal image of Women and Men surrounds us daily on our phones, t.v's and anywhere we look; there's bound to be images of 'perfect' people with their 'perfect' bodies. In fact, this just makes having confidence a lot harder! There is nothing wrong about having problems with the way you view yourself or if there is nothing you like about yourself, the only reason you dislike something about yourself in the first place is because of the negative image you've set for yourself based off the deceiving images and unrealistic standards of others.
Improve the way you view yourself
In this final paragraph, I could tell you that naturally as you grow that things will get better and you'll exit this phase. But I'm not going to say that as for many, having a negative image about yourself can last for a long time. Even when you think you're completely confident and loving yourself truly, there will still be some small slip-ups in your mind which could cause you to feel negative for a split second. Learning to deal with negative thoughts is the best way to learn to love yourself. If you can find a way to distract and turn away critical thoughts, you can tackle many more obstacles in your way. Some things which have helped me to think positively about myself are:
Thank you for reading this post, I hope that whether you're dealing with body confidence issues or not that this post can you help you or somebody you know. For further information regarding help with any of the subjects above, feel free to drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.