I came across photos the other day of when I was in my running/no eating/restrictive days (see below) and my eyes instantly teared up. I looked at these images, I looked at that girl, and all I felt was an overwhelming sense of sadness.
Sadness because that girl right there ^ was so, so, SO little, yet she thought she was fat. She was stressed about everything in her life, and her grades and general learning suffered because of it. I teared up because she was beyond unhappy and tried so hard to hide it or mask it with something else. Overwhelmingly sad, because if that girl didn’t burn X amount of calories in a day, her whole mood shifted to a negative space. I looked at these photos, nearly in tears, because that girl thought she was the complete opposite of what I see now.
And that breaks my heart.
We are raised in a society that tells us if a girl thinks she’s beautiful or loves herself in any form, she is the next Regina George or Gretchen Weiners… And that is so fucking wrong. Confidence does not equal bitchy/narcissistic or image obsessed, no. Confident means being accepting and comfortable in your own skin, and my god, that’s a beautiful and admirable thing these days.
Which is why I feel compelled to tell you this… If I were to give you anything to take away from this whole blog thang I got going on, this is it ladies.
Practice loving yourself and appreciating your body through all stages of your life.
Not just the ones where you think you are an ideal weight and not just the ones where you are ‘comp lean’ – I’m talking everyday. Whether that is 5kgs heavier than what society thinks is suitable or 4kgs lighter. While you are growing a small human or while you are nurturing it in your arms. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the stage of life… When it comes to self love and your body image, those circumstances and those stages are completely and utterly irrelevant.
Take a minute to just think about this – at the end of the day it doesn’t make sense to NOT love yourself. Fast forward 2, 3, 5, even 10 years from now. Do you really want to look back, just like I have, and think about how you spent X amount of years hating your body? I can 1000000% guarantee you don’t. It just doesn’t make sense, right?
What I would give to turn back time and just talk to that girl. I would tell her that she is so much more than what she gives herself credit for. That she is more than a number on the scale and more than others opinions of her. I’d promise she doesn’t have to fit societies ordeals and swear that she doesn’t have to look like anyone else but herself. I would tell her that her family and friends deserve to see her happy, just as much as she does. I would tell her that she is made up of so many unseen components, and these are the things that people end up loving her for. But most of all, I would tell her that she is absolutely, downright, boot scootingly, freakin’ beautiful.
Because I am.
And so are you.
Its never too late, nor is it ever too early to tell yourself these things. Treat yourself with kindness, treat yourself with affection and every single day, treat yourself with that warm gooey, disgustingly corny, love that you would give to a family member in a heartbeat.
Because if not today… When will you?
To all my ladies who get judged because you own who you are and treat yourself with the same love you show to others… Keep being you, please. You are setting a brilliant example.
And finally, to the following 4 ladies who I asked to write about something they would tell their younger self for this post, I adore you all and can’t thank you enough. You guys have the stories that need to be shared and brains that other women need to adopt. You are all so uniquely beautiful and I’m so glad I’ve had this opportunity. Thank you.
“Honestly, I don’t know if there is anything anyone or even I, myself, could tell ‘past me’ that would have shaken me out of the mess I was in. I had to experience it all myself; suffer, grow, and choose to change, myself. I can never take back the times I shut out my family and friends for trying to help me. I can never take back the awful things I mentally told myself about how hideous/fat/ugly/weak I was. I can never take back the time I ruined a weekend coast trip because it was my fourth day without food and I was in a miserable mood. I can never take back the time I brought my little brother to tears because he ate MY measured 30g of Cheerios in a hangry fit.
What I can do now, is realize how pointless it all was. Self-worth and self-love are two of the utmost important things a person can have in my opinion. Since abandoning old practices and transforming my views, my life has opened up in ways I never could have imagined. I am happy, healthy, strong and actually love the person I am, both physically and mentally. I can’t take back any of the things I did or the time that I wasted, but I can do my best to make up for them now by living the rest of my life the way it was meant to be lead – full of brilliant experiences, fulfillment and healthy relationships with food, people, and most of all, myself!”
“Dear Old Me,
Step away from the scales. It doesn’t matter if you weigh yourself once, twice, or 157 times in one day – you are still the same person. What you look like on the outside is not a reflection of who you are on the inside. You care 750 BILLION times more about your appearance than anyone else – stop worrying about what they think! They don’t care about your hair, they don’t care that you’re not tanned and they certainly don’t care about your cankles! YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. You are spirited, talented and BEAUTIFUL. You are uniquely you. Forget about all of the things you’re not and celebrate all the things that you ARE. Your body will change, that is a certainty. Embrace it! How blessed you are to experience your whole, fully functioning body throughout the different stages of your life. Stages of life that are denied to many. Be thankful, be brave and let go. Life is too short to be anything but happy.”
– Katie Flask
“If you are fueling your body predominantly with foods that nurture your soul, and you are doing a variety of training that brings you joy, then you need to learn to accept and love the way your body adapts as a result. Whatever that looks like. You can’t be lifting heavy weights every day and beating yourself up because you don’t look like a runway model – it just doesn’t make sense.
You will be able to find this acceptance by learning to love yourself as a whole just the way you are. This will mean you will have to find the courage to peel back layers of pain and sadness. The courage to be raw and still in the face of whatever rises as a result. The willingness to begin, and to move through.
The secret will be not to struggle against the pain that arises. By simply being open and present you will learn to release your past pain and start the process of self-love and acceptance.
It’s not going to be easy but you know what? It will be worth it.”
– Myffy Galloway
Until next time…