BODY IMAGE AND SELF CONFIDENCE- How are they intertwined?
Coming out is about embracing who you are, self-pride and freedom. As becoming aware of your sexuality usually takes place in your ‘formative years’, it is a time when you are still figuring everything else out about yourself. I see a lot of younger people suffering not only from their confusion or discomfort with their sexuality, but their body image and confidence as well. Quite frankly, you’ve got enough on your plate, and there is no point in worrying when there is not a problem.
We are all a product of the society we live in. The media scrutinises people’s bodies to a ridiculous extreme, so it’s no wonder that teenage girls are crying because they think their thighs are too big or their stomach is not flat enough. I think we all need to look at the word ‘fat’. What qualifies as fat? And what exactly is wrong with being fat? Except being unhealthy, but that’s your choice, and does not equate with being unattractive or inadequate. Everybody has fat on their bodies, so does it really matter exactly how much everyone has, and where it is?
I believe that if being skinny and beautiful (in the conventional sense) is your main goal in life, you are probably not happy and confident in yourself. And if you think that if you reach your ‘ideal weight’ then suddenly you will just love looking in the mirror all the time, and will go out feeling like ‘I LOOK GREAT’ every day, then you’re wrong, because confidence comes from inside.
I don’t need make up and a thigh gap to feel good about myself. It took a long time to get there, but I did it.
I remember when I was with my first girlfriend, I used to look at her and couldn’t believe that someone as beautiful as her could fancy someone like me. I used to compare myself to her- a very dangerous thing to do. She had perfect skin and soft straight short blonde hair that looked hot whatever she did with it; things that made me feel inadequate. Every time she flirted with me or told me I was beautiful I would get overwhelmed because I just couldn’t believe that anyone as perfect as her could think that about me. When she broke up with me I almost justified her appalling behaviour, because I believed that she was too good for me and I’d been lucky to ever have her. As fit as she was, it wasn’t a healthy relationship, it was intense and everything moved way too quickly. Yet it took me a long time to see that, and realise that I deserve someone who makes me feel good about myself. This is why you should not waste time with people that don’t give you everything you deserve!
Honestly, it was my next relationship that properly sparked my self-confidence. I loved her, loved being with her, and thought she was completely beautiful in every way. Once I complained to her about something I didn’t like about my body, and then after that, every time I was with her she told me that part of me was beautiful. It was cute, and it made me happy and comfortable around her. When you find people that make you happy you should hold on to them. Dating someone who is emotionally mature and so confident with their body and sexuality helped me to be the same.
Do things that make you lose your self- consciousness, and increase your confidence. For example, things like going to gigs, dancing, sex, laughter, and love – all healthy things that are good for your soul. Coming to terms with your sexuality is hard in that you’re also coming to terms with the fact that you’re different. But it’s not a reason to hate yourself or feel that you are any less, you’re just you.
As a child I never felt different, or was aware that I was. It was only when I got older and definitely hitting secondary school that I realised that how I felt was different to how most do. In hindsight, I was the only girl who wore a tie to school when it was optional for girls, wore it every day until the last year, when I remember looking around and suddenly thinking no one else is wearing one so it’s not cool, so I chucked it. That fear of being different and of what people thought of me takes time to overcome, and you have to work on loving and appreciating yourself.
I realise now that my life may not be on the straight and narrow. There are some things about me that aren’t ‘typical’ and I’m ok with that. I believe positive thinking and confidence is the key to life. As someone with her head permanently in the clouds sometimes it’s a dangerous thing, because high expectations can lead to disastrous disappointments. But I believe if you want something, then you should have the courage to at least try to get it. Evaluate what you’ve got to lose and remind yourself that if it all goes wrong it will probably make a very funny story to tell.
Remember, you are strong, beautiful and independent and nothing can stop you.
A young persons perspective on the day to day battles we have with our own bodies, but are they with our bodies at all?
Thank you xx The Outing xx
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