I learned about self-love and confidence from the person I looked up to most growing up, my older sister. Two years my elder, I was a consistent pain in her neck. Everything she did, I did, since I was old enough to walk. I acted in a play because she did. I wanted to learn to read, but only over her shoulder the books that were far too advanced for me. She was a force to be reckoned with, born with innate strong opinions and a captivating speaking voice. She was always encouraging us to sign petitions for social justice causes or arguing political debates the rest of my family knew nothing about.
We had strong differences on personal ascetics, she was a tomboy through and through, and I was a girly girl. Well, we could not seem to match our opinions on makeup or clothing we remained close despite our differences. Throughout high school I watched her develop into a stunning voluptuous woman(think Kim K curves), while I was slowly developing an unhealthy relationship with food which diminished my self-confidence.
It wasn’t till after high school that my sister told me something that changed the way I saw myself. She confessed that seeing me struggle with self-image made her realize that confidence had nothing to do with the size you wear. That she was just going to be confident for who she is and love how she looks. It was her words that helped me shake the shy exterior and start building my confidence from the inside out.
It’s true confidence cannot be built from the outside. Many of the world’s top supermodels have body insecurities just like the rest of us. So rather than looking towards our exteriors to be a source of self-love, why not start building it by loving ourselves exactly how we are. Thankfully there has been a shift, models such as Ashley Graham are at the forefront of reshaping the beauty standard to be a mosaic of diverse body types that encompasses the modern woman. Social media platforms have given women a voice, body positive accounts such as @bodyposipanda promote a healthy relationship with our bodies and celebrate women in their natural form. This change was a long overdue breath of fresh air.
#IHAVEEMBRACED THIS BODY. This soft tummy, these dimpled thighs, these jiggling arms, this bare face. All the parts I never thought I could. Because I realised couldn't spend any more of my life seeing my body as the enemy, instead of my home. 💜 · A few months ago I saw the body positive documentary Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt of @bodyimagemovement and I fucking loved it. I mean, I was crying within the first 15 minutes, but I still loved it 😂 who else has seen it? I wanted to take my own #ihaveembraced picture to keep spreading the Embrace love – this isn't a sponsored or paid post or anything like that, I just think it's important to support bopo projects and this film really hit me in the feels! "Darling girl, don't waste a single day of your life being at war with your body… Just embrace it." 💜💙💚🌈🌞 P.s. I totally cheated and added the writing on this after because the one I wrote was a mess, no shame in my Paint game 😂
So why not love ourselves now? It’s true changing the way you feel can take time, but even the little steps are worth it. My sister’s words were exactly what I needed to hear to get the ball rolling, yet I admit it’s hard not to fall into old patterns. I am lucky to have amazing friends, who love and support each other, and I fill my life with things that promote a healthy body image. Over the last year, our family had the pleasure of watching my sister get married and start a new chapter of her life. I will be forever grateful to have had her as both a sister and a role model. It was her words and example that taught me to nurture and love the most important relationship of all, the one with yourself.