Yes, I’m back! I’m not regular with these blog posts, but I finally finished my undergraduate degree at the end of last month. I’m just waiting to see what my results are now – how exciting and scary! It was a pretty tough semester, doing three modules and writing my dissertation, plus I organised a mental health awareness and fundraising event at University during Mental Health Awareness Week in May. Some people will say ‘Did you not have enough to do?’, but when I’m passionate about something I tend to go after it, even if it challenges my organisation (unless I just have way too much on, then I know when to say ‘no’, even if I really want to do it), ha ha.
Today, I thought I would do a little post on body image. It’s something that can affect all of us, any age and gender, and so I thought to write a little post on it. It is a sensitive issue, and if you particularly struggle with yours you might want to talk to someone you trust about it, for example, a family member, a friend, your doctor or a counsellor (I know those latter two might sound scary, but they’re there to help you if you’re struggling, and are qualified). But I’m going to write this like I would to a friend: I’m going to try my best to remind you to appreciate your body. When I was a kid I hated the way I looked, and it took a long time, years, to actually think, ‘Yeah, okay, this is how I look’, and eventually, ‘I’m happy with how I look today’. I’ll admit I still have my self-conscious moments, but I just try to remind myself that I’m me and that’s good enough, and focus on feeling happy.
The summer has arrived, and some people will be feeling pressure to look a certain way (more so than at other times of the year, except for special occasions where self-consciousness can often crop up). They might want to lose weight, or have a tan, etc., and what I wish I could tell them (and you) is that it’s okay to aim for these goals, but please don’t push yourself to dangerous extremes in order to accomplish them. For example: You want to be a healthier weight (this may be an increase or decrease in weight), so you start dieting and exercising. These are good activities, as long as you don’t over-do them, and it’s important that you don’t berate yourself in the process. Thinking thoughts such as, ‘Ugh, I’m so ugly, I can’t wait till I look like this, then I’ll be fine, etc.’ are negative. Instead, try to think, ‘Okay, I have this goal, but this is a process. I’m going to enjoy the activity more than the goal: experience the fun of exercising, and finding new, tasty recipes. I’m not defined by how I look- beauty is subjective anyway’, etc. Do you see the change in thinking?
Some more examples:
- You want to wear a t-shirt because it makes you feel good, though you momentarily think, ‘Will people look at me? At my arms? etc.’? Put it on anyway, then look at yourself and think, ‘Hey, this makes me feel good, so I’m going to wear it.’ It’s about focussing on how you feel, and not what others may think. You don’t even know if they’re thinking, ‘Wow, they look good! I like their t-shirt!’ (Unless they tell you.)
- You want to change your hairstyle? Do it! (Some workplaces and schools have policies on hairstyles though, so be aware of them.)
- You want to try that activity, though you think, ‘Will I look a mess/ strange whilst I’m doing it?’ Do it, you might enjoy the experience and find a new hobby!
Just make sure you enjoy being you – how you look is nothing compared to how you feel. If you persistently feel low/ anxious about your body image though, then I recommend talking to somebody you trust, as I mentioned near the beginning of this post.
Thank you for reading that! I’d love to hear what you think of it, please, and if there is anything you would add?
Have a great day!