Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Little Word in Self Confidence

I am not the poster child for self confidence. It's something that I have struggled with since youth and something that led an eating disorder for a portion of high school and university. Thankfully I was able to turn my life around and start taking care of myself but self confidence is still something that I struggle with and constantly work to improve. 
For years, I spent way too much time trying to compare myself to others (heck, I still do this at times). I would spend my time wishing things were different or that I could change this or that about myself. I had this mental image that 'if only' this were different, then I would be happy with me. It didn't help that for a few years in university, my side job was dressing twig shaped models backstage for runway shows. When they would leave to go on stage all the dressers would go into a frenzy with 'Did you see her...' 'She has amazing...' 'I wish I had...' 
But recently my friend Dorette (aka the oh so talented and lovely photographer who took these pics for me) said something to me that really resonated. 'How can we compare ourselves to others when we were all built completely differently?' Ground breaking news, I know. But the more she discussed it, the more it sunk in. We come in all different shapes and sizes, with a whole slew of personality traits. 

Take my sister and I for example. She's 5'2", dark hair, olive skin, with the best J.Lo booty you've ever seen. She's quiet and reserved, a Betty Crocker in the kitchen, and a natural born mom. I'm 5'8", blonde hair, pale complexion, with literally a flat as a board behind. I'm loud (sometimes a little too loud) and outgoing, I work hard to make an edible meal and holding babies can make me genuinely nervous (anyone else scared that a freak accident is going to happen while you're holding someone else's baby?)
So how can I compare myself to her? No matter how much I try, no matter how many lunges I do, I will never have a behind like hers (believe me I've tried). And she can stretch every day for a year but never grow an inch. So why waste our time wishing and hoping for things that we simply cannot change about ourselves? Why not redirect that effort into bettering who we are, changing what we can, and appreciating what we love about ourselves?
I can honestly say that for the first time in a long time, I'm content with the way I look. That doesn't mean my ego is through the roof and it doesn't mean that I'm thrilled with every aspect of my body. It just means that I've accepted the fact that I, along with everyone else, have certain flaws and that's ok. It also means that I've realized that along with flaws, we all have beautiful features that we should be proud of and confident in. We spend so much time focused on what we don't like about ourselves and too little time embracing the wonderful and beautiful features that we all have. 
I could go on and on about this topic but I'll end with saying that today I'm teaming up with Katie for a photo shoot link up today. I was so excited when she reached out to me about this idea of doing a photo shoot of ourselves to celebrate the beauty in us all. I encourage you to do the same and show off your beautiful self! If you decide to participate, go over to Katie's blog and put the link in the comments!
Extra Reads:
Travel Babbles also has a great post on a similar subject that you should check out. 
Milk + Crown has a wonderful series where women share what they love about themselves. You can see my feature here.

So tell me, what does confidence mean to you? Or what makes you feel most beautiful?