Two words I’ve never accepted for the past 13 years and two words I struggle with on a daily basis. My journey to self-acceptance was a long bumpy ride. Over the years it got better, and I accepted more certain part of my body I hated before but I’d by lying if I said I’m 100% accepting myself. It’s not an easy journey for a lot of women but it’s a difficult one for women who struggle with low self-esteem. With social media, it got even worse. The comparing game is strong and tough to deal with. But we all know we only put our best self out there and the vulnerable part, we keep it to ourselves for no one to see. As a blogger, it’s time for me to be real and share that vulnerable part with my readers.
When my blogger friend, Emily, told me her story, we knew we had a subject in common we could explore together but from two different perspectives. We thought it would be a great idea to collaborate and share our stories. I invite you to check out her side of the story on her blog here.
So here’s mine:
Yes, I’m slim and no, it’s not because I’m slim that I’m okay with myself. I’ve never been. For 13 years, I hated my body. I hated my hips and how curvy I could get if I was at a healthy weight. At 15 years old, I became conscious of my body and started to compare myself to those skinny girls in magazines. I thought if I were skinny like them, I would look beautiful and be happier. I lost weight and became a model.
As a model, I needed to look thin, even skinny looking. I had to be skinnier so they could accept me as one and become successful. But even when an agency signed me, I wasn’t happy with my body. I wasn’t skinny enough; it was never enough. I would pinch myself in front of the mirror, telling myself I needed to lose more weight, my thighs were too soft, my hips were too big, I became what I always wanted to be but still; I didn’t accept my body.
When I went on a downward spiral and gained weight, everything got worse. I hated myself even more and hurt myself while trying to achieve (again!) what I thought was the perfect body. The body that would make me happier. I tried every diet you could imagine of. I became a fruitarian, vegan, raw vegan, went on a juice cleanse, master cleanse, everything so I could achieve the body I wanted so badly.
Did I love the way I looked after all those years? No.
I continued the cycle repeatedly and even gained an extra 10 pounds of top of my weight gain. I was a mess and all I could feel about myself was hate. Over the years, I became more conscious about my way of thinking and I’ve been more aware of this self-destructive pattern. It stuck me in a place of fear and hate and it affected everything in my life.
So, I looked inside me and realized after all those years that going after people’s acceptance wasn’t what I needed; I needed to accept myself first. We don’t need a model agency, a client, casting director, people on the street to accept us and the way we look. We need to accept ourselves and be confident about our bodies. I had to accept my body the way it is and not how the society think it should be. I had to change the harsh view I had on myself and my body and embrace the way I am even if my hips are wider than 35 inches!
Yes, we can eat super healthy, follow a diet and workout 5 days a week, but we have to do it with love for our body and not by punishing us and doing it because we have to look a certain way at the end. It’s all about how we feel about ourselves and not how we look.
”Self-Acceptance starts with loving yourself and forgiving yourself”
How many times did you feel guilty because you ate (or binge!) a piece of cake instead of being strict with your diet? Then, you felt bad about yourself, guilty and ashamed. You get stuck in this vicious cycle until you are kind to yourself and forgive. You can’t accept yourself fully if you don’t forgive yourself. I had to forgive after all those years of treating my body like shit. A piece of cake won’t ruin you and a binge isn’t what defines you. There is a reason they say “Treat your body like a temple”!
”It’s all about how we feel about ourselves and not how we look.”
Like I said in the beginning, I’m not 100% there but I’m almost there. I recently appreciated more my body, but it’s a slow process for me. I know I made huge progress since my modeling days. Here’s a recent example, if it weren’t for my friend (and photographer of this shoot) Katerine and Emily, I wouldn’t have those pictures in a bikini! I wanted to push the shoot further and further away and came up with a bunch of excuses like “Oh no, I will be bloated on that day for sure, I can’t” or telling myself I needed to lose more weight before the shoot. I caught myself in those thoughts and realized I was afraid of showing myself.
On the shoot day, I woke up in the morning at 5h30 am, looked at myself in the mirror and said: “Fuck it, that’s the way I look now, that’s it. Release the pressure!” I felt relieved after the shoot and realized it wasn’t a big thing. So yes, it’s still hard for me to accept my body but as a model who her agency let her go because she gained weight, I struggled a lot with body acceptance. I wanted to write about it because maybe some of you guys can recognize themselves with a certain part of my story and I hope it can help someone out there.
Here are 4 tips that can help you accept yourself and love your body even more:
Remember every day
Embrace the parts of your body you like
It’s better if we’re grateful about what we like about ourselves. We’re more inclined to see the other parts we like less in a more positive way.
Practice self-love regularly
Whenever I let myself go, become lazy or don’t take care of myself; I feel more depressed and feel less happy about myself.
Don’t compare yourself!
I know it’s a tough one but take social media breaks if you need it (I usually do)
You’re unique, you do you!
Let me know how you feel about self-acceptance in the comments down below or on Instagram. Please share your stories and tips on how you accepted yourself and your body so we can all help each other appreciate ourselves more!
Location: Bota Bota (Thanks to Bota Bota for letting us shoot at their beautiful spa!)