Yesterday I read a post over on Hannah Gale's blog about how we need to change the way we think about our bodies, which really struck a chord for me. She wrote about a lot of issues that I could really relate to, and when I finished reading the post I was left with a small trickle of tears that had welled up in my eyes. If you haven't read her post I would definitely recommend you to get your bum over to her blog and read away.
To start off, I have a confession to make.
While I always try my best not to judge anyone by their looks, I find it really hard. Like, really hard. And there was a time when I wouldn't even try; just like Hannah, I too used to shake my head at girls who wore crop tops and such.
I was the girl who nudged my friends shoulder to snicker at the girl with electric blue hair and really short shorts… and the brutal truth is that sometimes, I still am.
It's not something I'm proud of, but if I see someone in the street who doesn't fit in with my idea of 'beautiful' or 'perfect', my mind starts racing with a load of horrible, horrible thoughts about how that person looks. On the other hand, if I see someone who does fit in with my idea of 'beautiful' or 'perfect', my mind starts racing with a load of horrible, horrible thoughts about how I look. And so this vicious cycle begins, of either someone else looking ugly, or me looking ugly.
It's not helpful, and it's not healthy.
I would much rather be the girl who compliments people on how beautiful their smiles are, than the girl who laughs at how ridiculous that crop top looks on that girl. I would rather be the girl who seeks beauty in everything, rather than seeing flaws.
But it's so hard.
The Love Yourself Challenge is a tumblr blog run by siblings Scotty and Rae Smith, which has helped me realise that my body is precious- even though it's not perfect. They often post uplifting and (mostly) Christian songs as well as pictures and messages inspired by experiences that they have lived through, all with the aim of creating a safe haven in the internet to give hope to those who are battling with their bodies.
Just over a year ago, when I was really struggling with body confidence, I found this quote on this tumblr blog which inspired me to keep going, and to give my body a little bit of TLC rather than wanting to rip it to shreds every time I looked down at my muffin top.
"Lies have infiltrated my self esteem, and at times I aligned myself with the enemy but I'm learning that if the greatest weapon in this war is for me to be kind and gentle with myself, and learn how to be on my side"
Beauty standards are so high and obscure, so it's okay if you don't fit in to the narrow gap of 'perfect' because nobody does. In fact, it's more than okay- it's beautiful. Let's start turning the cycle around. It's time to find the beauty in other peoples bodies, and in ours.