At some point in our lives we all feel a little insecure about our bodies. We are all different with our own little flaws; we are not exact copies of each other, nor do we look like those airbrushed photos that are shared in the media.
From an early age we are all exposed to what, we think, we should look like on social media, TV and magazines; it’s not surprising that we feel insecure with our bodies.
The flaws on our body are what makes us. They are our make-up.
They tell a journey of life.
Many women have marks on their body that show a journey from a girl into a woman.
I have stretch marks, like many women, they are a reminder of how my body adjusted in order to grow my three wonderful children.
For years I suffered fighting my own demons on how I thought others perceived my body image. I was always worried about what I looked like, lacking confidence and having a low self-esteem of myself. I may be small in size, but I hated not having bigger breasts and don’t get me started on my hips/backside. I didn’t see what others saw although, I thought others saw worse.
Looking back I had no different flaws to any other person, I just wished I didn’t waste my time and energy in telling myself that I was no good. Looking back to how I used to feel makes me realise how normal I was.
I have a choice; feel bad about my body or learn to accept ‘I am who I am’. I am not model but I am perfect to my children and family, that’s all that matters.
I used to question my partners attention to other women;questioning my own looks and figure but never my personality. That is something I have never had a problem with. I love who I am on the inside it was what was on the outside that I struggled with.
In order to love my self I have to let go of that ‘socially ideal image’ that I see as perfect and accept who I am.
It is taking time but I am getting there.
I need to shut out all of the negative thoughts and feelings about my body image and focus on the positive ones. I need to recognize my strengths as well as personal value and worth.
A year ago I had bowel surgery to remove a tumour, this has resulted in me now having a permanent stoma. It’s not something I like to talk about. I don’t see having a stoma as a bad thing but I believe others do. People, in general do not understand what others have been through, they see it as weird and un-natural to have a bowel opening on your abdomen. I am learning to accept my body once more. I have my moments where I struggle to accept this ‘thing’ on my tummy. Some days I hate it. Some days I accept it. One thing for sure, is that I just wish I could tell my younger self to not waste time in torturing myself over my body image and to appreciate the health that I had instead of putting myself down all the time.
Having Cancer and two major surgeries have made me realise how precious my body is. How precious life is. It’s too short to worry about how I look like and how others see me.
I need to find me again, from within. I am trying to gain a positive outlook and to focus on my unique qualities instead of what I see in the mirror. Finding my identity that isn’t based on just looks or a body image.
I am building my confidence up focusing on improving my self on the inside as well as the outside. Last year I enrolled on a course to better myself within my work. I have joined a gym, which adds to having a positive body image; leading an active lifestyle and making healthier nutritional choices. And, I am teaching myself, as well as my children, meditation and yoga.
But, most of all I have set myself a goal. I will no longer have the body that I had pre-operation (pre-cancer), I have learnt to accept that no amount of exercise will reduce my post-op swelling and no scars will disappear. I am learning to see me for who I am. I refuse to fight the demons anymore. My scars tell a journey of my existance and what I have fought.
I have overcome many challenges over the past couple of years and I am sure there will be many more. I have found confidence from within and my own ways to cope with social situations.
By sharing my experience I am hoping that it will encourage others to believe in themselves.
Self-acceptance is hard but it is possible with the right mindset. I understand where my weaknesses and strength lie. It’s accepting who I am, not who I think I am supposed to be.
I am not quite ready to share a body image of myself yet. But you never know, watch this space…