by Stacey Bell
Note: This post originally appeared on athena collectiv. and has been cross-posted with permission.
New Years’ resolutions: I’m convinced they exist solely to make us feel inadequate.
Every year people worldwide, myself included, step into the new year with such great expectations. For me it’s always losing those extra pounds, dusting off my running shoes (again), banishing carbs and cocktails for carrots and kale, and not forgetting those French lessons I’d always promised myself I’d take. But this year, I decided to go rogue. Instead of focusing my energy on everything I’m not, and everything I want to be; self love and appreciation were my resolutions. I’m fast approaching 30, and I figure, I’ve been criticising myself for years and it’s never worked, so maybe I can try loving myself for who I am, not who I could be. The likes of Ashley Graham, Kristina Yeo and Sarah Tripp are just some of the body positive activists who inspire me and millions of girls with their confidence and unapologetic posts showing themselves, their real selves, irrespective of size or weight. Confidence is sexy.
As teenagers we were bombarded with image after image of perfect bodies in the media. We still are. Images so extensively filtered and retouched, that it’s only now, fifteen plus years later, I realise how unobtainable they actually were. These are our formative years. Our bodies are changing, we’re discovering sex and relationships, and daily, young women are exposed to articles suggesting that anything other than those images in the magazine is not beautiful. This coupled with the shamefully unrealistic portrayal of women and of sex in porn, it’s no wonder only 11% of girls worldwide would consider themselves to be beautiful (Dove; Real Truth About Beauty Campaign).
So, how can we change this?
How can we inspire our daughters to smash through glass ceilings, when we ourselves are haunted by what is reflected in the glass in front?
I’m a confident woman. I’m bold, opinionated and headstrong, and most importantly I’m
unapologetic with it. However, one shouldn’t confuse self confidence with body confidence. It’s so easy to hide your insecurities behind self deprecating humour and a big personality. I’m still working on my body confidence and realistically I always will be. But for me, it’s not about liking what you see in the mirror every single day, but rather how you deal with the days you feel less than your best self.
Health is not just about what you’re eating. Mental health is equally as important as physical health. Sure, some days I’ll eat that salad and go to the gym, but other days I’ll stay in my pants, eating a cupcake, watching Gossip Girl reruns on Netflix.
Life is about balance.
I’ve stopped focusing my energies on what other people are doing. Peonies and sunflowers look nothing alike, yet no one would say one was any less beautiful. Instead
it’s all about the things I do love about my body, the things I love about me, my accomplishments, and wishes for the future. It’s equally important to lift each other up. Seeing beauty in others is easier than seeing it in ourselves. They say if someone hears something negative enough times, they start to believe it. This works both ways…
So wear that bikini to the beach. You already have a beach body! Tell your friend she looks hot. Accept compliments, and believe them! Be naked (a lot) and enjoy it. Become reacquainted with your body. Sleep naked, eat naked, have sex naked!! You don’t need validation from anyone to feel good about yourself, and realistically, the men worth being naked with really aren’t focused on how your tummy may curve a certain way. So Wear the nice lingerie, take all the selfies, and be confident!
As I get older I’m learning to love my body. It’s not perfect, but then whose is?!
I’d rather make an impact on your heart and your soul than your eyes. I’m a thoughtful, intelligent and attractive woman. A fiery heart and a wicked brain, that happens to
come in a pretty nice package.