Learning to love You

Lately I have been questioning my own life thus far, and reflecting on my self-worth, self-confidence, and body image views.  Reading about other women’s experiences online regarding self-hate, poor body image and current or previous eating disorders, I came to wonder about my own experiences.  I have NEVER dieted, NEVER struggled with eating or my weight, and NEVER fell to the trends that have come and gone in the process.  Then I asked why?

After taking more time to think and read even more stories of other women’s struggles, I realize just how thankful I am.  My parents raised my brothers and I in such a positive, supportive household.  A place where we always felt safe, confident, and were provided with as many opportunities you could imagine.  We were challenged to be our best.  Both my mom and dad supported all of their children equally, regardless of whether it was their sons or daughter.  I have grown up in an environment where women and men are equals and always deserve an opinion.  I have NEVER followed others just for the sake of it.  I always provide my opinion (and become pretty stubborn thinking I’m right!) Thanks Mom and Dad :)

So, then I asked, why have other people struggled with body image, weight, dieting, and eating disorders?

Of course I could never paint everyone with the same brush. but some reasons I will be sharing are common.  I learned this year in my abnormal psychology class that we are all just too worried about what others think, especially in young adulthood.  Our prof emphasized this in almost every lecture.  We are worried what other people think of us, so we feel the need to change to fit into those ideals.  As the outsiders looking in, we are judging and putting pressure on other individuals to fall into a certain look.  Perhaps others have experienced weaker female role models growing up, households where women weren’t provided the same opportunities, or maybe, just females with low self-esteem who dieted in front of their young children.  Kids pick up on everything.  That means those young girls could potentially mature into adults lacking self-worth.

Now, that is not to say that I have never experienced hiccups along the way – or ever doubted myself – but with the strong foundation I have built over the last 22 years, I can tackle whatever comes my way.  Life can be tough.  People can say hurtful things.  People can have hurtful actions.  However, something that Erin Brown, a Girls Gone Strong Advisory Board member, has shared is “their words are not mine to hold onto”.  HELL YES! Ladies remember this;  whether they are positive or not, someone is making those comments from their own perspective and mindset.  Often times, the comments people make or those we make of others, especially the negative ones, are because of insecure feelings about ourselves.  

I pose a challenge for you; try to implement Erin’s phrase this week.  Focus on what you love about yourself, embrace the areas that you think may need some work.  No matter where we are or what we do, we all must learn to love ourselves.  Even if we ever do achieve our goal, if we don’t learn to love ourselves in the process, we are always going to be searching for something more. 

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

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