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August 16, 2011 12:15 am / takingbacksingle

Learning to love yourself

I can’t stand the body bashing competitions that movies and magazines have turned into a requisite for girls night. A moment stands out to me. Me and my friend R were crashing at our friend E’s house after having gone out. R, a little drunk, started out by complaining about how she is hairier than most girls. I honestly had never noticed this, but when she made us look up close at her chin and stomach, I thought that maybe she was a bit more hirsute than normal. Not that I really ever looked so closely at other’s body hair. Then E said that her torsoe was unproportionally short as compared to her body. “Oh, I never noticed that, but now I can totally see that,” exclaimed R, as if she had been the first one to find the treasure in a hunt. As the night went on, the body flaws became more and more obscure. And I just sat there, listening to their self confidence deteriorating to nothing.

Until my friends pointed out these ridiculous flaws I had never noticed them! In being self confident we are often our own worst enemy.  Because it’s so easy to be unhappy with your body we continue hating. When I was in high school, a friend once told me that I had the “perfect body.” I was baffled, I hated my hips and stomach. How could I be perfect?

But that’s the thing, anyone, no matter how good looking can find flaws with herself. Look at Hollywood, filled with gorgeous girls, yet it seems every other day some celebrity is diagnosed with an eating disorder.

From an early age, we are bombarded with media that tells us that there are countless ways we need to improve our bodies. Curl “taming” shampoos, make up, Spanx, plastic surgery. Seventeen magazine (which I by the way read somewhere is targeted to twelve year olds) features ways for teenagers to minimize their “flaws.”

So it’s not weird that girls find that self confidence wise, the starting point is very low. Maybe we have a good hair day or get a compliment and feel better for a day, but the next day we’re back to square zero, feeling like crap. Our starting point should be feeling good about ourselves, not bad. 

It takes effort for us to get out of this rut. I’m in my twenties, and most of the time, I feel like I’m in the right place. But it does not all come easy. I have to remind myself that I’m not the same person I used to be. I literally have to tell myself that I’m happy with the way I look, to go through my mental gallery of compliments and high confidence moments to last me through the times.

So what can you do to feel more confident?

Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Do it no matter how ridiculous it feels. Say it out loud every morning. Say it to yourself whenever you feel yourself thinking a bad body thought. It takes time, but after a while, it starts working. And when you’re having a bad day, remember the other day you felt good, when you were standing in front of the mirror looking at your body, thinking “Wow I’m hot!” I can guarantee you’ve had at least one of those moments.

Christina got it right with this song!

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4 Comments

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  1. Life without mascara / Aug 17 2011 10:18 pm

    So true. And by being so self-critical we only encourage other women to do the same (and judge them if they don’t or if–God forbid–they actually like their bodies).

    –Nicole

    • takingbacksingle / Aug 18 2011 10:14 pm

      Yeah that’s so true, we should try to make our friends and feel happy about their bodies too, not bring them down. I’m really wondering why it has become a bad thing for women to actually like their bodies. It’s a very strange and unhealthy societal attitude.

  2. lafeminista2 / Aug 19 2011 3:08 pm

    I completely agree, too many times I’ve walked into a room just to hear another body shaming session with a group of girls. It can get to be almost like a competition to see who can point out the worst aspects of their bodies (when in reality there is usually nothing wrong with them). I think it’s important to encourage a positive self-image for yourself and your friends, however it’s time we start demanding corporations to take responsibility for the images they create. “messages [in the media] are so pervasive and powerful that even the most loving support of those closest to us provides only limited protection against them.” It’s time to demand truth in advertising – no more photoshop.

    http://jezebel.com/5832048/supportive-friends–family-cant-shield-women-from-media-fat-shaming

    • takingbacksingle / Aug 19 2011 11:45 pm

      Yes, the whole shaming session is so self destructive. What is so weird is that girls do it even though it only hurts them, and if someone does not want to participate they are seen as antisocial.
      The media definitely plays a huge role in this issue. It’s hard to feel happy with your body when all around you, there are only huge ads of airbrushed, starving models.

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