Finding the key to self confidence is a mystery that has eluded me for years, but even more so these last 7 months living in France where I noticed a lot of changes in my self esteem. I was in a relationship which drained me of my self worth and I lost every ounce of confidence in my appearance, my body, and my value as a person. I spent months wondering how I could make myself more beautiful so that he would treat me better. I lost interest in my passions and I was living only for him without regard to myself and my value.
Since leaving France, the last five months have been all about re-discovering my self worth, and rebuilding the confidence I lost. I have embraced a new healthy lifestyle for the first time which has completely changed my outlook on life. Eating the right foods and working out have definitely helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin and the physical changes in myself have been enormous. However what I didn’t realise is that just looking good doesn’t necessarily banish your insecurities, and the only way to feel truly happy is to reach inside yourself, grab the root of the thing which is causing you pain and confront it.
The question is though, how on earth do you do that? For me it was a deeper rooted insecurity which he left. I lost the weight he told me I’d gained, I got rid of the anxiety spots, but what was left was a deeply embedded feeling of ‘there is still something wrong with me’. Despite my mum incessantly telling me there is nothing wrong with me, it has taken me months to come to terms with this, and there are times when I still question myself.
I have found the best way to build my confidence has been to reinvent the person I want to be in my mind and focus on doing things which will enrich myself. Setting small personal goals like this makes me feel like I have something to work towards and feel positive about. For example, I set myself a goal to get a toned tummy and I have been working so hard towards it that I haven’t had time to think negative thoughts about my weight. For the first time I have been seriously thinking about my future and what I want to do when I finish university; looking into masters in Paris, graduate jobs which excite me, and places I’d like to travel to. Filling my mind with exciting opportunities has filled the space that once lingered self doubt. I do things now because I want to do them. I take photos of my body progress and save them just to look back on and feel sexy. I go to the beach and sunbathe topless because I can and because I want to. I surround myself with people who make me laugh and make me feel good about myself – friends I withdrew from before.
Of course it is human nature to have down days and the mind is a complicated thing, but I am devoting this time to loving myself. I try to set mini goals every day to feel productive, even if it is just to go for a run in the evening, or to cook a new recipe. I try and make my mind so busy and full with things I want to do today, ideas, motivations, and aspirations, that there is no room for feeling insecure. One of the hardest things I have found is comparing yourself to others on social media. I try not to look at it so often, and when I see a photo of an Instagram model with the perfect body, instead of comparing my current self to her and feeling rubbish about my looks, I take inspiration for how I could push myself, to pose like them, visit exotic places like them… and I also remember that they probably don’t have the perfect life behind closed doors.
Despite all of this, perfection doesn’t exist. In the eyes of somebody else you are beautiful, and I know that even if I changed everything about myself, there would still be something I don’t like, so you just have to embrace what you’ve got. I might not have the biggest boobs, but I love my bum… it is important to find things you like about yourself!! You can push yourself to improve every day and I can tell you that it has worked for me, but you need to be kind to yourself at the same time. Some days I sleep in til the late afternoon and binge watch Bridget Jones with a chocolate muffin, but that’s okay too.
The truth is there is no textbook way to feel confident, but you can start by just having your own back.