I am very lucky; I grew up in a family full of strong, confident role models who taught me not to give a damn about what anyone else thinks and to always be myself, and whilst this certainly hasn’t always been the case, as I’m growing up, I am finding this easier to do.
But in my opinion self love and confidence shouldn’t be things that appear and grow as we get older, I don’t believe that we should ever have to go through stages of dislike towards ourselves because of who we are. And I also don’t believe that there is any one factor that can be pinned down and blamed, there are too many to count, which is incredibly sad (and slightly terrifying?).
Whilst, like I said, I definitely don’t believe that growing up should have any impact on the confidence that we have in ourselves, I do understand why it does (or at least why it did for me). Let me explain: at school it seems that there are unfortunately always going to be cliques. For whatever silly reason, certain groups of people will always be seen as ‘better’, and therefore are more well-liked and popular, than others.
No-one particularly wants to be disliked and so, as my housemate so rightly put it when I complained to her about having no clue how to write my feelings into this blog post, everyone tries to act the same. If standing out means being disliked, or looked down upon, people don’t want to do it and so the main goal for so many ‘kids’ at school is to be the popular one, or, if you can’t be them, be just like them.
However, when you leave this setting and go to work, or university, there’s suddenly no cliques and no ‘popular’ crowd – how could there be? There are tens of thousands of students at the majority of universities in the UK and who the hell has the time or desire to pit them all against each other until someone comes out on top? – and you have the chance to completely be yourself. I definitely think that this is a huge reason as to why I’ve done so well since leaving school, and I also think that the fact I can say and believe that about myself speaks volumes, too.
So that’s more-or-less how I feel about confidence and self-love, what about body image?
As a young teen I was near-on obsessed with the ideals that are promoted online, in magazines and, as it sometimes feels, in every damn place we look, not realising that the majority of these are highly edited and therefore completely unrealistic, unobtainable and unfair. Nowadays I’m forever grateful that I got over that stage and know for sure that pie and chips/Indian takeaway/cake (can you tell I’m a food lover?) every once in a while is not going to destroy everything because, let’s face it, who the hell cares anyway? Not me!
It might have taken me a long time to realise but I know that there is so much more to me, and to anyone for that matter, than appearances, and that is something that I always try to remember whenever I’m having a ‘bad body image day’. You know those days where you put on an outfit which last week looked incredible but today makes you feel like a potato? You’re not alone!
As hard as it is to overcome, this notion that the way you look, the way you dress, the size you are has an impact on who you are as a person truly is complete BS. But being bombarded with it day after day by ad campaigns, magazines and all kinds of social media doesn’t make this an easy thing to realise.
Social media especially is so easily accesible and, due to absolutely staggering numbers of users, accounts, posts and images can go viral in a matter of hours. So, never wanting to go back to the stage of feeling guilty for missing a gym session after seeing multiple posts on how that could ruin my entire lifestyle, for me it is so, so important to ensure that my social media feeds are full of positivity, self-love and most of all, honesty! (CHEESE ALERT.)
If you’re interested, I’m going to leave a few links to my absolute favourite people online for you to go and have a nosey:
Grace F Victory: Plus size blogger and absolute QUEEN, I have been reading Grace’s blog and watching her Youtube videos for what feels like forever and she always leaves me with a smile on my face.
Dorkface: Gemma is amazing. She’s funny, wonderful and her blog is so much fun to read. She’s also a truly lovely person, a great illustrator and she designed my blog header for me!
Vix Meldrew: I am relatively new to Vix’s blog but I love it all the same. She’s hilarious, sassy and provides the absolute honesty that we all need on the internet!
Ryan Reynolds: Obviously not someone I know personally, but Ryan Reynold’s twitter account cracks me up.
J.K. Rowling: Incredibly smart, honest and funny. What more could you want from an online presence?
So, there you have it, a very rambling blog post which I hope made sense and which probably didn’t cover even half of the things that need to be said about such an important topic which sits very close to my heart.