Do you love your real self? Do you accept your imperfections and find beauty in being different? I think our world would be a much better place if we all allowed our differences to bring us together instead of setting us apart.
From elementary school to college, I have been aware of the physical traits that set me apart from other girls. Whether it was my curly hair, freckly face, or wide hips, my differences were acknowledged by others. I wanted to change my appearance to look like everyone else and tried very hard to do so.
When was the first time you remember being self conscious about your appearance?
For myself it was in second grade when a little boy called me “Four Eyes” after he noticed I was the only child in class with glasses. He chose to comment on the one thing that set me apart from everyone else. Glasses, a tool used to help a seven year old see the chalkboard, were turned into an insult.
I often think of his comment as a seed planted within me, ultimately growing a stem with branches to hold more insecurities throughout my adolescence.
In my efforts to fit in, I ironed my hair straight, wore contacts, and starved myself to fit into smaller jeans. I reveal a certain nickname in my high school bullying story about my feminine shape that haunted me for years.
What I’ve learned since then is that I let the observations of others become my imperfections and insecurities. For a very long time I didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror because she was different. Our society called thin, straight haired girls beautiful and I felt everything but that for not looking exactly the same.
What were your insecurities growing up?
Wearing my glasses for a prolonged period of time always stirs up uncomfortable emotions. Recently I had an eye infection forcing me to wear my glasses in public for almost two weeks straight. Now I know the world doesn’t look at me differently if I wear glasses, but I still wondered if people were whispering “Four Eyes” behind my back.
Out of sheer curiosity, I asked my Instagram followers if they understood my insecurity with wearing glasses. This led to a question box allowing people to share their teenage insecurities. I. was. shocked. at the number of replies.
This list of insecurities is shocking in length.
The number of people who hated a figment of their appearance during high school is overwhelming. I can’t help but imagine what our teenage years had been like if we all just accepted our imperfections. What if we allowed our differences to bring us together instead of set us apart?
I’ve come a long way since high school, finally loving how I look, but even more so since I became a Mother. I witnessed my body transform in magical ways to carry two miracles of life and bounce back to it’s regular form. Pregnancy and postpartum wasn’t an easy journey, and the physical changes were beyond scary, but I am empowered for surviving it all.
How can we inspire others to love their real selves?
Spread the message! Why can’t we all acknowledge imperfections as beautiful pieces of our real selves? Compliment others intentionally about their strength, creativity, personality, etc. If you focus on encouraging others to love who they are, it will spread naturally within your circle.
As a Mother of two little girls I am very conscious of what I say and how I act in front of them. If I am having a bad hair day or feeling frumpy, they never know as I keep it to myself.
How can you teach a child to love her real self? Lead by example. The key to raising kids with high self esteem lies within parents demonstrating a positive attitude toward themselves.
If you’re looking for ways to inspire a positive body image in your children, check out “Her Body Can” by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke.