Let me start off by telling you of how much emotion is going to be poured into this post. What I am about to discuss has been a long time coming, and only re-enforced the negative core beliefs that I have against myself. This is not something that come as an easy task to even consider doing, never mind carrying it out.
For over five years, I have suffered from severe body dysmorphia as a consequence to having an eating disorder. As you may already know, eating disorders are well-known for the sufferer being unhappy and disgusted with their bodies, and they fall into a vortex of dangerous habits that will add even more hatred towards themselves. They can often become repulsed by their appearance to the degree, that they turn their backs to any reflection, never look too long in a mirror for the fear of what stands before them. Or they become completely obsessed with analysing their appearance. Pinching, poking, measuring, comparing and hating every single part of themselves.
This was me, until two days ago.
During the lowest points of my eating disorder, I went through both of these phases. Constantly body-checking in any sort of reflective material, to then avoiding ever seeing any part of my mirror image. It was a self-destructive relationship that when on and on in this cycle for all them years. My parents took away the scales and the full length mirror, all in my best interest to stop the obsession consuming my every day. I definitely thank them for it, as there was nothing remotely positive about my mindset at that time.
But as I have grown stronger, in body and mind, I have learnt to look into a mirror with a new set of eyes. Seeing that I am more than my appearance at any shape or size. So with this new found self-respect, it felt right to think about getting a mirror again.
Seeking perfection is one of my biggest obstacles to date, and it is an on-going process to changing this belief system about myself. However, when it comes to body-image, I have finally discovered that every body contains a soul, and it is that soul that people choose to care for, become friends with, be inspired by or fall in love with. There is no doubt that our looks have a say in the romantic context, but ultimately, two people become compatible through their common interest, personalities, likes, dislikes and see beyond their exterior, loving that person for how they are.
So why is it that our appearances matter so much to us?!
Pressure, perfection, control, acceptance, are big factors in why we can’t be happy with our bodies. The ‘ideal’ is always out there being promoted to the world, when there is no such thing. Everyone is unique, special and precious, and that is a beautiful thing. Hating on yourself because you don’t look like another is going to get you nowhere because you are you, and they are themselves.
If someone puts you down, or makes you feel insecure about your appearance, that says more about them than it does about you – trust me. It is not the comment itself that holds the key to your issues, it is how you truly feel about yourself.
Confidence is a massive life lesson to master, and quite frankly I don’t know if it can be mastered. But the pursuit of self-confidence is a journey that you will never regret embarking upon.
We all have so much to offer. That is certainly true. But so many of us actually realise our potential because of insecurities. It is saddening that we all grow through something like this, but it is in times of adversity that we really do become more knowledgable about ourselves, learn from experiences and use them to improve our future happiness. It is why I aim to pursue the dream of proving to others that no matter what their circumstances, their is hope and that they are worthy of love, compassion and care for themselves.
With this in mind, that I finally went out and brought my first full-length mirror for my bedroom, so that every single day I have the opportunity to be thankful for my body. It has fought through everything to get me where I am, saving my life when I no longer thought I deserve one. It gives me the ability to go places, create amazing experiences, gain new relationships, work on building strength and optimal health. Most of all, it allows me to be exactly who I am meant to be and that is the greatest gift.
Next time you take a look in the mirror, or fear your reflection, just take a moment to think about what you see in others, what makes you love them, care for them. It probably won’t be anything to do with their looks. So you need to learn to treat yourself in the same light. See your beauty, see your flaws and embrace them all. They make up you, and you are worthy of being content with yourself.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”