Recently on Instagram I’ve noticed a new challenge which women and even some of my closest friends have submitted themselves too. #selflovebootcamp
I thought I’d share with you something I wrote out a few weeks ago, which like most things stayed concealed in my phone notes. When I wrote this I had no intention of sharing it with anyone, but by just writing it all down and not expressing it the thoughts and feelings still continued to run through my mind. So, I plucked up the courage to send it to my boyfriend. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in the most supportive relationship with someone who has given me so much confidence in myself and my dreams, encouragement and love in my life.
With the new #selflovebootcamp challenge happening across May I thought I would take an even bigger step and share my own feelings towards my body it with you.
Here’s my real talk:
For as long as I can remember I’ve always ‘liked’ edited/filtered pictures of women on social media. Their tanned, toned bodies being a constant reminder of how I should look & want to look.
Social media is a powerful place and whilst it dictates many young people’s lives, I’ve began to realise recently how much it dictates my own. I am just one of the thousands of girls who scroll through their feed comparing myself to others. Picking out my own faults & highlighting a strangers assets. Since leaving high school the amount of exercise I did dropped rapidly. Whilst I continued to play netball at uni, I’ve slowly watched my muscle turn to, what I call ‘flub’.
As each summer has come around, I’ve always tried to brush off how I feel about the way I look. Cellulite on my legs, no boobs, bad skin and a wobbly bum. Even though I kept telling myself ‘you are who you are & you should be proud of you’ that mindset doesn’t really seem to be working anymore. I’ve become far more conscious about the way I look, than I have ever before. I never thought I’d let the ‘expectations’ of women & girls today have such control over my feelings towards my own body image & body confidence. It was only the other night I went out in a dress & I was constantly thinking about my wobbly legs and how other people thought I looked – it’s a horrible feeling, one which constantly goes round & round in your head.
Now I’m not one to openly express how I feel especially when it comes to my own insecurities. And I also don’t want to be controlled by #bodygoals or #thinspiration. We are all far more than our appearance, this is just a tiny part of who we are. Whilst the media may rally to insist a certain body ‘trend’, we’re telling millions of other people they’re body is wrong. Immersed in this vicious circle of filtered & edited photos, you’ll constantly find it hard to love the way you are. But whilst trends soon go out of style, body confidence will never go out of style. We should be celebrating every body type, and learn to just be in love with ‘all the bits’. Don’t restrict and shape yourself to something you’re not because you’re not going to find another Alice like you. Support each other, share your love, make everyone feel fabulous.
But remember, as we give out words of encouragement be sure to give yourself a few words of encouragement too – this is where I fall. I try to help others but never take on board what I’m saying for myself. I may come across as a happy, smiley person. Tall and athletic. And whilst myself or the stranger you saw put back that lovely floral dress may appear perfectly fine on the outside, never be to quick with your judgement because they may be feeling just like you.
Through reading other peoples posts and writing and talking about my own feelings towards my body I’ve come come to learn that if you can do anything, always be kind. Whether it’s smiling to a stranger, giving a compliment or even sharing your cookies. That one small gesture is such a simple way to tell another who’s struggling that there is love. And whilst it may only be for a fleeting moment, you could bring a smile to anyone’s day.
Photo inspiration from Katie Chili