By. Danielle Husband
When I was in my early twenties, I joined Weight Watchers to help me gain control over the scale. The best part of the program for me was going to weekly meetings and talking to others who found themselves in the same boat. Through these meetings, I learned a life lesson that has stuck with me. Ironically, it wasn’t about losing weight. Instead, I learned to stop sitting on the sidelines.
Many of the other people in the meetings I attended were older and had already raised a family. So many of the mothers talked about looking back through photo albums only to see that they appeared to be missing from their child’s life.
Why? They always dodged the camera because they hated the way they looked.
So many of them told stories about refraining from swimming with their children or embarrassment about getting photographed. Now that their children were grown, they wished they would have taken part in those activities instead of worrying about their weight.
This made me think about I how limit myself because of fear that I wouldn’t look good enough or that people would question my presence. How many times did I skip an event because I didn’t feel confident? How many times did I avoid an audition (or auditioned for a smaller part) because I assumed the role would go to someone slimmer? How many times was I too embarrassed to eat in public or step into a new store because they might not sell my size?
Life is not going to wait for you, and you may never reach the size you want. Luckily, you don’t have to wait to live your life. You can do what matters to you right now, regardless of what people might say or think.
We are all entitled to be here in this world. Each of us was born a unique person, and no one has more of a right to be here than anyone else. Don’t let someone else steal your moments by making you hide away because your body doesn’t look like those you see in magazines — even if that person is you.
Building the confidence to embrace yourself no matter your size can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it overnight. Just take a few baby steps toward more confidence, picking yourself up whenever you stumble. Overtime, it gets easier.
One thing that helped me was looking at other people who defied my beliefs about my body, such as other curvy girls who were living the life I aspired to live or confidently taking on roles that I thought would be unavailable to me.
Need help getting started? Try these strategies for building confidence:
- Give yourself permission to be yourself.
- Compliment your body every day.
- Make a list of all of the things your body does for you, as well as what you love about it.
- Take the compliments that people give you. (Writing them down is a great way to remember them.)
- When you feel like criticizing your body, remind yourself that no one is perfect, then note something you like about your body.
- Find people you relate to who inspire you to be confident.
- After spending time with other people, consider how often you thought about yourself and how often you thought critical thoughts about others. This should help you see that we are all more preoccupied with judging ourselves than with judging others — so there’s no need to worry about what people think.
Don’t let your life pass you by because you’re not happy with your body. Embrace who you are and get out there. You have to love yourself before you can love your life.