*pin this for later!*
If you know me at all, you know I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic and an inclination towards the colorful. This tends to cause one to stick out from the crowd and sometimes draw attention, good and bad. But that’s never stopped me from wearing rainbow sweaters and living out loud!
-Get the Look-
The way I see it, you could live your whole life trying to fit in and suppressing who you truly are, or you could embrace all that makes you you and strut it with a smile. There will always be someone who doesn’t approve of you- your size, your style, your personality. But the truth is, there is really only one you in the world, so why not give it your best.
There are many things that caused me to garner some negative attention growing up, my size and my love of trendier fashion being a few. We all know kids can be cruel and growing up in a small town where diversity isn’t necessarily encouraged only seems to intensify the problem. But don’t worry. This isn’t a pity post about my childhood woes. I only mention these things because I came out on the other side, still me. No matter who we are, we’ve all had a time where we wished we fit in more. And sometimes we even try to change parts of who we are to make that happen which only makes us even more unhappy. We leave high school drama behind hoping that adulthood will offer some type of sanctuary where we can fully be ourselves without fear of ridicule only to realize that adults can really just be grown up children. I feel you. I’ve been there. Done that. Mean girls oftentimes grow up to be mean women, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in that shadow your whole life.
Society makes it so easy to hate ourselves but very hard to look in the mirror and love what we see or who we are. Everyone’s highlight reel is on display via social media (including my own) and it’s hard to take a step back and realize that’s not their real life all the time. We’re only seeing the good points, not the low. With plus sized model sizes starting at a size 10, which is laughable to think a size 10 is plus size, girls are increasingly concerned with a stupid number on a scale. Not to mention how the majority of pictures we see of models are then retouched on top of their already slender frames. When will the madness end? No wonder we’re afraid to be different when we’re sold the same scenario over and over again.
*Side note: I do realize this is getting better as more attention is drawn to the subject, but we are far from reaching a healthy view of diversity or body acceptance as a whole.*
So to help lead us towards a better path, here are my secrets to loving myself and loving others:
1. Daily Affirmations
My love language is words of affirmation so I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that I needed affirmation from my own self. I used to do this daily (and I should probably start back for good measure). Stand in front of your mirror. Look yourself in the eye and compliment yourself. Tell yourself you have worth and that you are loved just the way you are.
Sound too cheesy?? Try it for a week and get back to me. Our words have power and speaking positive affirmations over yourself will bring change. Trust me.
2. Crush Comparison
You’ve heard it many, many times before but comparison is the thief of joy. This works both ways. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others whether it’s in a degrading way to yourself or in a bragging way. Be content with who you are and where you’re at in your journey. (I’m preaching to the choir on this one for sure!)
Like I said, your words have power. So if you find yourself comparing yourself in a negative way to others, stop and go back to tip #1. If you find yourself comparing yourself in a bragging, self glorifying way, stop and speak a positive word for that person. There’s enough to go around for everyone, so there’s no need to gloat when you’re doing “better” than someone else.
3. Encourage, encourage, encourage
Everyone is at a different level of self discovery and acceptance. You might have gotten to a place where you’re more comfortable with yourself than someone else. Take that strength that lies within you and bless someone else with it. Share your tips to a healthier mindset or even just tell them you enjoy them or like what they’re wearing that day. If everyone took the time to encourage just three people in their daily lives, the world could be a much happier place.
Now it’s up to you to be the change in your own life, so wear that rainbow sweater if you want to and live out loud!