I am not summer body ready. I’m not even spring body ready because these arms have seen better days and shaving my legs requires so much effort. I’m not in the best shape I’ve been in, especially compared to last year and for the first year in a while I don’t have a holiday booked. For the past few years, I’ve been motivated by the sunshine to get into shape so that I can walk around my chosen destination with confidence. I’m not the crop top type of girl and I only started wearing sleeveless tops about two years ago but hating your body whilst on holiday is one of the worst feelings ever so before my recent travels I worked hard to make sure I felt great bopping along the beach and skipping through the markets. But this year it’s a different story.
Self conscious, shy, ambitious and longing to be loved.
Here’s what I wish I could tell her:
I don’t know if I’ll ever be the most confident girl in the room but I’ve come a long way. I still have days where I panic over what to wear and feel like I look the size of a killer whale but I’m getting there. I used to think that once I lose weight I’d immediately have loads of confidence and basically feel like Beyoncé but I didn’t. The weight loss did help but ultimately I had to change the way I thought. Confidence is not a physical thing; it is all in the mind and sadly like myself many women let the voices in their head and pressures from other people and the media doubt their capabilities. I mean, it took a lot for me to even post a photo of myself in this blog post and for what reason? My silly doubts, criticisms and what-if’s. I’m still growing and learning and here are three things that I’ve learnt along the way that have shaped me so far that I hope can help you.
On April 9th 2016, Love Your Temple Ministries held the ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ event. This event was about looking at women and self confidence through God’s eyes and how we can display our beauty and confidence through our appearance.
The event went really well! We had a discussion, some amazing speakers and the lovely ladies in the audience made great contributions. Thank you so much to all of the speakers and the host and also to everyone who came and supported. Subscribe to this blog to keep updated with the next Love Your Temple event. Here are some photos from the day:
So right now I’m in the library sipping on a green smoothie, typing up revision notes and trying not to panic about my upcoming exams and the conversation on the table next to me inspired me to write this post. (See my Staying Healthy during Exam Season post).
Side note: Please don’t come to the library to gossip about boys and show each other photos of vixen weave. It is very distracting and annoying and there are other places for such activities; the ‘chicken shop’, costa and maybe even the bus stop. The saddest line in their whole conversation? – “I wanna pass my exams but I love man too much!”
So these college aged girls (16-18 years old) are showing each other photos of different girls and asking, “Do you think she’s pretty?” and the others will respond “Nah she just takes good photos,” or “Nope, it’s the lighting” or even “No, she just has good eyebrows.”
The amount of time they’re spending gazing at each photo is worrying; is a selfie that serious? Will analysing another girl’s photo and finding a flaw make you feel prettier? Is being pretty important? Sadly, for some of us the answer is yes. For some girls, being pretty is the ultimate life goal. I know, sad right? But I think most of us have gone through a phase, some longer than others, where all we wanted was to be pretty. We wanted other things too, good grades, the latest Primark jeans and the ability to eat anything we wanted without gaining weight, but being pretty was towards the top of the ‘goals list.’ Here’s why I look back and see how silly that was:
Meet Ashleigh Taylor-Greaves, a 21-year old Pastoral Theology Masters student, a Youth Worker and a Tutor. I took some time to talk to her about her experiences relating to self confidence, body image and what makes her feel beautiful.
What were you like as a teenager?
When I was 14 I didn’t really know who I was; I wanted to stand out a bit but I also wanted to blend in. I was a bit chubby and I didn’t really consider myself to be pretty or anything special.
By the age of 18 I was more confident but for all the wrong reasons. My confidence came from the fact that I knew people would look at me if I dressed a certain way. I knew that if my outfit looked good or if I tried a new hairstyle I would be admired and so my confidence was not from anything internal such as my intelligence but simply from the fact that I knew how to present myself. View Post
Today I’m having a Fat Day. You know the ones? When you feel bigger than you really are and your outfit doesn’t look right and it gets you down, or maybe you’re just a bit hormonal and you don’t feel good about yourself or maybe you’re even having a bad hair day (or bad hair week in my case sometimes!) It’s totally a mental thing and most of the time we look perfectly fine but here are some things you can do on one of those days:
“Yeah but that’s why I feel fat in the first place, my new bodycon makes me look pregnant.”
Then don’t wear the bodycon. Wear something else that you KNOW you look good in and most importantly feel good in. When we feel comfortable and like what we’re wearing, we tend to have a good day because that positive feeling translates to our attitude and mood. Put on your favourite outfit, whether it’s a comfortable hoody or a nice dress and catwalk to your destination, even if it’s just a uni lecture or a trip to ASDA, it’s about you and your feelings today. Looking good isn’t just for parties, photos and birthdays; feel beautiful every single day.
Sometimes, on the tube or at work or at Church, basically everywhere, I look at other girls and I think “Why can’t I look like her?’
“Why can’t I have hair like that?”
“How come her stomach is so flat and mine isn’t?”
“I wish I had legs like hers.”
And don’t get me started on Instagram. I’ll be scrolling through my timeline thinking,
“Oh wow her abs are so defined, how come mine aren’t? I’m so fat.”
“Look at her spicy tomato quinoa, her meals are so much better than mine, she’s going to lose more weight than me.”
“She goes so hard in the gym! And I gave up after 3 sets, I’m so weak.”
It sounds so silly but I know for a fact that other girls do it too. It’s so easy to look at other beautiful ladies and compare yourself but it is so dangerous. Comparison is my biggest weakness but I’m slowly beginning to see how unhealthy it is and I am teaching myself to love myself for who I am. Here’s why:
Sometimes, when I’m sad, or annoyed, or frankly just bored, I pop over to Tesco Express and browse the shelves to see what will cheer me up. Most of the time it’s a cinnamon bun or maybe it’s the 3 for £1.20 chocolate deal or sometimes if they’re on offer it’s the Thorntons Mini Chocolate Caramel Shortcakes. I get home, stuff my face, end up feeling bloated and sick and then sit there and tell myself how naughty I was.
I know someone out there can relate.