In high school, every time I heard the phrase “confidence comes from within”, my blood would boil - especially when it came from rich, beautiful celebrities preaching on social media. It was so easy for them to say that; they had what I wanted. I wish I knew that they were right.
I felt insecure about my body for most of my childhood. I always compared myself to the other girls in my school and believed there was something wrong with the way that I looked. There a few instances of my peers making mean comments about my appearance forever burned into my memory.
I had a persistent feeling of being trapped in my body, wishing I could wake up one morning and look completely different. Just one bad look at myself in the mirror was enough to ruin my mood for the next two days. My body image issues prevented me from taking photos with friends and family, enjoying the tropical vacations I was fortunate to be on, and expressing myself with fashion - three things I so badly wanted to do. Most importantly, however, it damaged my mental health and my relationships. By the time high school came to an end, I came to the realization that I had completely wasted my teenage years not living life to the fullest due to my insecurities. If I didn’t make a change, I would spend the rest of my life miserable because I didn’t like the way that I looked.
Now, I’m 20 years old, I’ve lost a bit of weight, but that is not the reason why my life has changed. When my weight loss first became noticeable, my anxiety was at an all-time high, and the “compliments" I received from people saying I looked “so much better” did not make me feel as good as I had thought they would. It turned out that my appearance was not the only cause of my self-esteem issues. I wish I knew that the most important thing when it comes to weight loss is getting your mind healthy first. If your mind isn’t right, it doesn’t matter how much weight you lose - you will never be happy. I used to place my value in what I looked like, how many compliments I received, and how many boys flirted with me. I didn’t understand that in order to truly be confident and love the skin that you’re in, you have to learn to love who you are as a person.
How did I really gain confidence? I embarked on a journey of self-reflection and awareness. I now keep a gratitude journal; I do not shy away from social situations; I watch self-help videos; I read more, and work hard in my job and education. Carrie Fisher once said, “You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow”. Now, when I feel too insecure to wear a piece of clothing, try fun makeup, or approach someone new, I do it anyway. I choose my attitude and my outcomes, and I choose to be proud of my accomplishments. I impress people with my brain, my character, and my achievements - not whether or not I won the genetic lottery.
I definitely have more room to grow in my body confidence journey, but I finally understand that I don’t have to be a masterpiece in order to be a work of art.
Written By: Gaby Morovati