For my wedding I wanted to be able to show my guests a photo album of myself and my (now) husband, in our relationship, over the last 20 years. Because we’d been together so long before actually tying the knot, our wedding was an anniversary celebration as well. So, in the weeks leading up to the wedding I was trawling through photo albums and our online folders with old photos.
It’s funny, there were so few photos of us as a couple although there were lots of us individually with the children. But it wasn’t that, that had the most impact on me; it was memories of how I felt about myself when those photos were taken that got me thinking about my clients and YOU and how we feel about seeing ourselves in photos and in the mirror.
Do we really see ourselves as we are?
What really struck me was how slim I was in many of the photos, particularly compared to my body now, even in those where I was pregnant. But I remembered how I’d felt about my body at the time the photos were taken. I remember thinking I was fat. Hating the extra pounds I carried that now, I can hardly see.
I remembered how, in some of them, I only allowed myself to be photographed so that I didn’t pass on my insecurities and body hang-ups to my girls. And my heart broke, there and then, for that girl, thinking about the wasted years, the pain, the heartache and the futility of it all.
I thought of the years I’ve spent feeling insecure, fat, ugly and unlovable. Wishing my body was different and feeling utterly miserable and now, looking back, recognising how beautiful, shapely, sometimes even slim, I really was.
What makes it worse is that I know, had I not been so worried about my size all those years ago, I may have stayed much closer to the size I was then – maybe a 10-12 rather than the 16 I am now. (Although I’m actually more body confident now than I’ve ever been before).
It’s not just me.
But I know that I’m not alone. It’s not just me saying and feeling all those things, unable to see past your own insecurities, unable to see past a little wobble, unable to see your beauty because of perceived imperfections and non-existent flaws. I know, because I hear it all the time, not just from clients but from friends and family.
And I know that the reason that I got married as a size 16 is because I was never happy as a 10 or a 12 or a 14. I was always looking for the way to get back to that elusive size that I ‘used’ to be. And that everything I did to try to achieve that is what has brought be to where I am now. Yet, at this size I’m the happiest and most body confident I’ve ever been.
Are you good enough?
It really was heartbreaking. I realised that, no matter what size I was, it was never small enough, I never felt good enough. And that’s because body shame and lack of body confidence really isn’t about your size, it’s simply about being good enough, being lovable enough and being accepted.
When you learn that you are good enough, when you realised that your body shape and size don’t define you, when you realise that you can be healthy, happy and a good person exactly as you are, whatever your shape or size then you can leave behind that need to be accepted.
When you can learn to love yourself, exactly as you are, right now, you don’t need the approval of others. Getting there may feel like a pipe dream now but it can be your reality with a little bit of help and support which is what I can offer.
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