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.
1. People aren’t going to bed worrying about how you looked today
I used to be super self-conscious. I would be at an event or out on the street and all I could think about was how I looked to everyone around me. Is my hair untidy? Is everyone laughing at my long size 8 feet? Am I the biggest in the room? And most of all, can they all see my huge stomach? My stomach was my main issue; I am the QUEEN of sucking it in! I know some of you ladies can relate. Before I lost weight and my stomach was bigger I would spend 90% of my day walking around holding it in. I used to think that everyone was staring at my pouch thinking “Yuck she’s so fat” but when I look back now, I realise how stupid I was.
First of all, when you’re out and about, people are usually too busy enjoying themselves, talking, eating and scrolling through their phones to be checking you out in detail. Sure, when we walk into a room people have a little stare and as humans we notice people’s appearances but generally ‘aint nobody got time to be zooming in and counting your fat rolls. Think about it, can you tell me what your colleague wore to work last Tuesday? Could you draw me a picture of the size of your Pastor’s wife’s arms? Do you remember the size shoe of the ladies in your gym class? My point is, we look at ourselves and critique tiny details such as the size of our ears and the colour of our elbows but these are things that people actually do not notice. Your friends are not spending time in the evening thinking about how you looked today and if they are then they are not your friends. You have to realise that there are more important things to think about in life than your flaws and instead of focusing on them and worrying if everyone is noticing them because they’re probably not.
2. Life is short; enjoy it!
When we spend all of our time at an event making sure our hair is blowing in the right direction or that our bellies are sufficiently covered with our clutch bags we actually waste time that could be spent having fun. There is a lot of pressure placed on women to look amazing when we go out nowadays, mostly due to the amount of pictures we take for Snapchat and Instagram so we always want to be photo ready because we never know who is going to snap us. We spend ages searching for the perfect outfit and then another eternity getting ready but then when we get to the actual event we end up just sitting around posing but not actually having fun. I mean, it all looks fine and dandy on ‘the gram’ but behind the lense were you actually having the time of your life? Did you even enjoy that meal that you posted or did it just mean you had to suck your belly in more afterwards? Did you actually spend time getting to know the people on your table or did you just spend the time taking perfect pictures for social media?
Life is too short to spend time worrying about how we look. The best moments are usually those that are off camera, when you’ve kicked off your expensive uncomfortable shoes and you’re having a great conversation, actually eating your meal whilst it’s still warm or shaking a leg with your friends. I missed my school prom because I kept worrying about how ugly I would look and couldn’t find a dress that I liked. I was more concerned about how I would look than the fun I would have. I might have missed some amazing moments on the dance floor or great conversations on a boat on the Thames but all I cared about was finding the perfect dress so I missed out.
Likewise at a wedding a few years ago my friend wouldn’t dance because her shoes were uncomfortable but she wouldn’t take off her shoes because she didn’t want anyone to see her feet. I said to her, “What colour is that girl in the blue dresses’ nail polish?” and she couldn’t answer me. My point was if you don’t know what the girl across the room’s toes look like chances are she’s not worrying about yours. And who ends up having more fun? The girl over there in the midst of the electric slide whilst or you tending your bunions alone in the corner?
Focus on what really matters; spending time with good people and having fun. When you’re 60 you’ll look back and think about the great memories you and your friends shared; not the dresses you squeezed yourself into or the eyelashes you spent ages gluing on. Last month I had an amazing time travelling around Thailand and when I look back at the photos, they don’t even do the trip justice. My posed shots on the beach do not represent the amount of jokes I had on that trip. The best moments were spent hiking in the rainforest, laughing in a wooden hut with charcoal on my face or talking with my girls half asleep in a hotel room. I don’t have any photos of those moments. Fun cannot be captured in a photo; fun is found in the moment so embrace the moments and not how good you look in them.
3. God doesn’t make mistakes
When we realise that we were hand crafted by God we understand that it is a total disrespect to think of ourselves as anything but beautiful. How can you believe that the Creator would make you ugly, stupid or plain? Would a loving Father really do that? If I believe that God is awesome then I need to believe in the power of His creation. To doubt my worth and value is to doubt God’s capabilities. He has told me in His word that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) so who am I to reject that?
God’s opinion should be the only one that matters and when you fully embrace that it is truly a relief! You no longer worry about the social pressures of looking perfect because you understand that whilst God wants you to look decent and represent Him well, His love does not depend on what brand of weave you buy or whether your dress is from Boohoo or Zara. I’m still working on finding my ultimate confidence in God because I know that once I get it through my head that God loves me and values me more than any man or woman on this planet does then I will rock any outfit with confidence and peace, knowing that the opinions of others cannot dull my shine because it is God-given. Being able to look in the mirror with content because I believe that I am made beautiful is something I have been working on for a while and God has definitely helped with this.
Ladies we need to embrace our beauty, flaws and all, and stop wasting time worrying and criticising. Our purpose on this earth is far beyond what we see in the mirror so let’s focus on the things that matter and get out there and show the world what we’re about!