Learning to love yourself more and change the image you see looking back at you in the mirror
It is easier than you think
You know you have actually never seen yourself. Even when you look at yourself in the mirror you are actually seeing an image that your brain created of what you look like. In many ways it is accurate to what other people see when they look at you, For example, brown hair, blue eyes and plus sized. For many people the image looking back at them is inaccurate or they do not like what they see. Everyday is a struggle with the mirror showing you everything you don't want to see.
Do these thoughts start with us or with other people? In my case I am pretty sure they started with other people telling me how I should dress and how my body should look. When I was entering middle school I weighed the same amount as my 18 year old sister, granted we were the same height but to my parents this was a big concern. It started an endless battle with them telling what I could wear to hide away my body or how a plus sized person should dress and an obsession with everything that I ate. They gave permission for my brother to bully me about my weight in hopes that it would encourage me to lose it.
The picture above was taken my freshman year of high school and it was the longest I had stood in front of mirror in years and it was the last time I willingly stood in front of a mirror for a long time for many years to come. Every time I saw myself I wasn't seeing me I was seeing their expectations of what I should look like, how I should dress and act.
Then towards the end of high school and into college something else got added. The things I should do with my body. I was taught that plus size was undesirable and here I was encountering situations were is was fetishized. The mirror reflected the guilt and the shame that came with just wanting to be loved for me and thinking it would never happen. See I was attractive enough for guys to sleep with me but they didn't want to be seen with me in public. At least for those small moments I was loved.
Being used, abused and treated poorly was apart of my life. I didn't have to look at the mirror and face myself because I had grown accustom to avoiding it.
Then a bunch of really bad complicated things happen and my college roommates were there to pick me up. They taught me about self worth, the value of faith and god. It was in that semester that I found god and started healing and making peace with my body. That was 6 years ago and it has been a long process.
When I was at the beginning of my journey it was important to me to find other people who stand up and speak out about body positivity. I need to see the end goal and know that it was possible, that it was okay to be plus sized and happy and loved. I spent a lot of time on YouTube listening to slam poetry while I did my school work.
Step 1: Stop sleeping with random men and look for a committed relationship complete. I no longer degraded myself with random men who did not see my worth.
As time went on I realized that being with a someone (I branched out from men) did not mean I was beautiful. I did not need someone to tell me I was beautiful. I spent so much time, energy and stress looking for the right person that I stopped taking care of me. I know I look good when I dress up or even when I am cuddled up on the couch in the middle of a Netflix binge.
How do you break that cycle though? You make sure your social media filled with body positive or positive messages . For me I follow a lot of plus sized models, but I also follow a lot of tiny homes and van life. I started restoring a 1973 VW bus to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. It has been a rewarding experience and has made me feel accomplished and proud even though I have so much more work to do.
If you need help finding some body positivity I would suggest starting with eff your beauty standards.
However, it is not an overnight thing. It took me 6 years and there are days were I am still struggling with my body. There are things you can do to help though.
Positive affirmations: I did this for an entire year. You come up with a phrase and everyday you say that phrase. I wrote mine on a sticky note and attached it to my bedroom mirror and everyday when I woke up and went to bed I would look at myself and say it. I choose I am all that I need confident and strong.
Find ways to make yourself feel strong and empowered. I enjoy working out it makes me feel strong. I also enjoy dressing up, so on a day when I am feeling really bad about myself and I do not have a lot of energy I will put on a dress to make myself feel just a little bit better.
Realize that everyone out there has something that they want to change about their body. You are not alone, ask around and see what other people do to help become more comfortable in their skin.
At the end of the day you should work on loving you because only you can love yourself more. You know what you have been through, you know your struggles, what keeps you up at night, your success and triumphs.
You need to love yourself more because you are survivor. People have told you how to act, how to dress and how to behave your whole life. You need to love yourself more because if you don't love you then you are giving people the power they do not deserve.
You need to love yourself more because if you do not see yourself as deserving of love then who will. Do not get me wrong we all deserved love but if you do not set the standard for that love then the chances of finding it in the wrong places is substantially easier.
You need to love yourself more because you are the only person you can depend on. You will always be there for you, don't give up on yourself now.