A boost in confidence
I’ve lived with insecurities and low self esteem for the entirety of my life. Alongside my depression and anxiety, my insecurities have been enough to make me avoid attending social events that I wanted to go to, have kept me from wearing things I want to wear and have even kept me house bound.
Being unhappy in your own skin is horrible. It is truly miserable.
On many days I hated my appearance, but low self esteem is also about feeling unworthy of good, having negative opinions about yourself and your capabilities, focussing on your weaknesses and having trust issues. This is particularly how my low self esteem and insecurities presented themselves. It was miserable inside my head, and my reflection in the mirror was my enemy.
What caused these self-esteem and insecurity issues?
– relationship with my parents
– the inability to prevent the abuse in my household
– negative relationships with men
– making “wrong” decisions
– feeling negative about myself for having panic attacks and depression
– feeling anger that I could not control my own mind
– issues with friends
– social expectation and celebrity image
– not knowing who I really was
– feeling lost
– feeling lonely
– negative behavioural patterns as well as thought patterns
– feeling like I was different from other people in my school for example having different interests
– feeling like a failure
– aware that I was not reaching my full potential
Recently however, I have felt much more confident, and comfortable in my own skin.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I attended Royal Ascot. For those who don’t live in the UK and don’t know what this is, Ascot is an annual tradition, and is primarily for horse racing, but has become so much more. Ascot is the stage for high fashion for both women and men, and is strict on dress code for all attendees. The best of British fashion, food and champagne is gathered for a 4 day event, and The Queen herself is in attendance. It is truly fabulous.
Anyway, enough about that!
Firstly, attending a big occasion like this with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance like this is usually something that would give me firstly anxiety for the week prior, and then a panic attack on the day of. This time however, I had neither of those. This is the first time I have had a build up of excitement when going to an event, and actually allowing myself to look forward to something. Furthermore, upon getting all dolled up for the arrival at the event, I did not feel nervous, and there was not a panic attack in sight. I was calm, excited and in control. How unlike me! There was a slight fear of the fear itself and I did find myself wondering when the anxiety was going to hit…but it just didn’t! I kept my mind busy and distracted, and I felt free.
Aside from the anxiety, I found myself actually feeling comfortable in my own skin. I dressed up, as is expected, and I felt girly, I felt myself, and I felt truly confident and my self esteem was the highest it has ever been. It was a welcome shock. It was a feeling I’ve never felt before. With that confidence (without letting it turn into cockiness) I feel like I could do anything. I felt brave. I also received compliments from total strangers. Of course, I am aware that the perception of other people on the way you look isn’t everything, and it is most important to be self confident and to love yourself, but the compliments I received yesterday really made me feel more confident. It reassured me that I should be feeling confident and happy in my own skin.
My own confidence success aside, I have spent time with a couple of friends over the past few weeks, and they have made me see how dramatic insecurities can really affect your life. Upon speaking to one friend, she commented that she looks at every girl that she sees and compares herself to them, she worries that people see her with her other half and thinks he is too good for her, she sees herself as not good enough. She hates her body and goes through phases of binge eating and then starving herself. She punishes herself in the gym, and she hates what she sees in the mirror.
My other friend sees her body entirely differently than what I see when I look at her. She is insecure about her weight, and even when complimented by others, both women and men, she won’t accept the compliments as she simply doesn’t believe them. She almost argues with the compliment, finishing reasons that it is not true.
Both of these friends have such low opinions of themselves.
Speaking to these two friends made me realise that even though my insecurities have been crippling in my life, I have never felt as negative as they have. It has put into perspective how much I have grown, and how my opinion of myself has raised over time.
How have I managed to raise my self esteem?
– allowing myself to be who I want to be
– not being affected by the opinions of other people who simply do not matter to me
– putting my wants and needs ahead of anything else
– spending time alone
– indulging in my hobbies
– treating myself. I am a massive girly girl and I love makeup and eyelashes and hair. Allowing myself to pamper myself and treat myself to nice things, even if it is just a face mask and painting my own nails, has made me feel content.
– surrounding myself with people who constantly build me up
– spending time with my dog who loves me unconditionally whether I look pristine or not
– being in a loving, supportive relationship
– recognising my potential and beginning to tap into it
– writing down my successes – there are many!
– taking pride over my appearance
– complimenting others
– writing down my favourite things about who I am, for example my soul is kind, I am intelligent and I am thoughtful…
– spending time looking in the mirror as I used to avoid this like the plague. Even glancing in the mirror a few more times a day and building it up
– dressing how I want to dress and feeling nice in my clothes.
– having a sense of purpose in my job. As I now work for the NHS I feel that the work I do is important and necessary and when I train to be a vet nurse in September I will feel even more purpose and importance
– feeling worthy of being happy, just as much as anyone else on the planet is
– saying no to things I don’t want to do, but more importantly…
– saying yes to things I do want to do
– getting to know myself more
– hobbies such as reading, walking, watching films
– increasing my body confidence by doing more walking and eating better
– writing a letter to my body and recognising all the things I like about it and how wonderful it is just for working every day
– doing new things e.g kayaking that test me
Feeling good about yourself is the most important thing in the world. If you’re happy in yourself, you can take on the world, and that’s exactly what I intend to do!