The worst fight I’ve ever been in wasn’t with my parents, it wasn’t with my younger brother, it wasn’t with a boyfriend, it wasn’t with my best friend… The worst battle I ever fought was with myself. And it’s a fight I continue to have every day of my life. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about; it’s the struggle of not feeling good about yourself. Not feeling skinny enough, pretty enough, fit enough, smart enough, creative enough, rich enough, not enough – for yourself or anyone else. Confidence issues are different for everyone, but for me, insecurities have shown up mainly when I look in the mirror.
I can still remember so clearly the first day I felt insecure about myself. I was in sixth grade, walking through the hallways of my middle school. Walking in the other direction was one of the most popular, beautiful girls in my grade. I remember looking at her and thinking she was just so… curvy. I looked down at my flat chest and pudgy stomach and quickly wrapped my cardigan around myself to hide what I had deemed right then and there as imperfections.
From that day forward, it was my perception of myself as not skinny enough that has dictated my life. Weight struggles seem to run in my family, so it’s never been easy for me. I was always jealous of my friends that ate junk food all the time and still looked like my definition of perfect, while I would look at a cookie and gain weight. The thing is, I’ve never once in my life been overweight. I just always looked at myself in the mirror and wished I was skinnier. I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. Despite people telling me all my life that I’m perfect the way I am, it doesn’t change the horrible, negative thoughts that run through my head about my body every day. And it’s a mindset that I’ve struggled to change for seven years. While it’s seemed to be improving a little more recently, I’m still not 100% happy when I look in the mirror. Not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not fit enough, not enough.
This past summer, I hit rock bottom. Some of my really great friends invited me to spend the day on the lake with them. It’s always been a struggle for me to feel comfortable in a swim suit, but for some reason that day was worse than the rest. I sat on my bedroom floor and sobbed, too self-conscious to even leave the house. I was going to miss a day of spending quality time with some incredible people, doing something I absolutely love, because I couldn’t get it out of my head that I thought I was fat. But thank God for Mama Alexander, who knocked some sense into my head and pointed out exactly what I would be missing out on, and told me I was beautiful. It was that moment that I decided I would no longer let a silly conflict in my head dictate the rest of my life. That day ended up being one of the best of the summer, and to think I almost missed it because I hated how I looked breaks my heart.
Since then, confidence has still been an issue for me, but it’s slowly getting better each day. And I know I’m not alone in this struggle, so here are five of my best tips for feeling better about yourself instantly:
1. stop the negative thoughts. I know, easier said than done, right? But something that drastically changed how I feel about myself was when I stopped picking apart everything about my body. When I look in the mirror, I try to tell myself that I’m beautiful right now and push away any thought that says otherwise.
2. drink water! Well you should drink water no matter what, but if you’re feeling down about yourself, it’ll flush out excess water weight and staying hydrated is just good for you. Not to mention, it actually makes your skin glow!
3. wear something that makes you feel good. This can do wonders for your self esteem. Feel good about yourself right here and now.
4. get out and do something. Yes, you’ll probably be worried about how you look for a little while. But if you’re with people you love doing something you love, you’ll quickly forget and just enjoy yourself in the moment.
5. get plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep at night drastically improves your mood, and yet we seem to not prioritize it. Try putting down your phone at night and getting some sleep!
I wish I had all the answers and I wish it was an easy process, but I can say from experience that it’s not at all. It’s a long, difficult process. But I’m here to tell you that you’re capable and worthy, just as much as everyone else is, of feeling confident and being comfortable with who you really are. Remember that you are enough.