Whenever I meet new people and spend a little time with them, I always get asked the same question. For some reason, they always end up asking me how I manage to be confident. Honestly, of the many times I have been asked this question, I can’t remember a moment when I actually answered it head on. It’s not because I don’t know why, it’s just hard to explain for me. Now you may be wondering why it is difficult for me to explain, I am not exactly the typical lean, sexy, pretty girl which I believe is the most common standard of beauty we have nowadays. I am one of those girls who’s got all the curves they need and more…I know that this is an issue that a lot of girls go through right now, so I thought I’d share how I personally rose above it, and stayed happy and confident.
This step, I think, is the hardest for me and the most important as well. Let’s see, I always knew I was a ‘big’ girl, and I always knew that most of my peers aren’t, so technically I was different. To be quite honest, people around me were very accepting, and the children I grew up with didn’t really mind. I understand that it is a totally different playing field nowadays. People nowadays can be extremely mean and obnoxious, even the kids, and bullying is not uncommon for us. It kind of actually hit me as I entered high school because you know it was the time when the kids become adolescents and become more critical of how they look. I heard all sorts of things from family, to classmates, and even from complete strangers who just happen to have something nasty to say about a chubby teenager who just wants to do well at school and go on about her own way. Don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t really care. I was so busy with school, writing, reading, competing, and travelling that I couldn’t care less about their comments on how I look. I also learned that I had hormonal problems and I took medications which also made me get bigger at that time. During my first 2 years in college, I lost weight, and started to feel really good about myself. Then I started gaining the pounds again and started to feel uneasy again. I heard the nasty comments again; sometimes just downright mean words like pig, elephant, or comparing me to the size of the door and stuff. But then I started to think, “Will dropping down dress sizes be the only way I can feel good about myself?” I hated it. There were nights of crying, of feeling down, of trying so hard to contain my anger, that it really took an emotional drain on me.
Acceptance is the key…
Then I thought, well this is who I am, and people will either like it or hate it. It came to me that I am my own person, and what other people will think about me should not dictate my happiness and how I see myself. When I look at the mirror, I see a curvy, plus size girl. I don’t fantasize about being skinny, because that is just insulting and wrong. In a way, I gradually accepted who I am really, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I respected who I am as a person. Accepting who you are is respecting yourself, and that will make others respect and accept you as well. Before, I never talked back because I didn’t know what to say and maybe at some point I agreed with them. But now, I don’t and actually can make casual jokes about it because I respect myself too much to let myself go into that puddle. And if there are still a few who choose to try and degrade you, just think, YOU are the bigger man (or woman) and try to understand their little minds.
You are loved
I was blessed with a wonderful family, one that supported and continues to support me all the way. They were people who accepted me no matter what, and though sometimes they joke around our weight (we are quite a BIG family) I know that we will have each other’s back no matter. As I was struggling through those times, it was they who held me together. The same goes to all of you out there as well. A family does not always have to be blood-linked. You may have your parents or your extended family (like in my case), or your friends or your co-workers. People who love you are family, and they will help you, tremendously. Always remember that no matter what others say, your family will always matter more.
You are loved, and that is all that matters. Knowing that you are loved and that you have a place where you belong is very uplifting. Surround yourself with the people you love and who love you just as much. And if you’re still looking for that place, here is a big fluffy HUG from me 🙂
One thing that came with accepting myself is also recognizing my gifts. One reason why I took a hiatus from writing is that I really didn’t feel good about myself. And though I know that you lovely folks cannot see me as you read what’s in my cluttered mind, I still felt quite embarrassed. That was how extensive my insecurity was. Now, obviously, as I have accepted myself better, I started doing the things I love again. I’ve always known I had a knack for words. I loooooove reading, but I love writing just as much. I have always said that my only true best friends are my family and my pen-and-paper tandem. That is how you are reading an article from me:) I also love to sing and cook and to be honest, I am not at all bad at them either. So find your strengths and use them. Do them and feel good about yourself doing them. There is always that sense of pride and accomplishment in doing what you love and doing a good job at them.
You are talented
Share these gifts and watch yourself make everybody around you smile. At the end of the day, even if no one else notices, you can always give yourself a pat on the shoulder and say “Good job!” (I do that, not too much though ‘coz that would be really weird). You do these things because you love them and they make you happy, not because you are obliged to do so. Having people appreciate them is wonderful, but that is just a happy bonus.
No one is like you
You are unique… so celebrate it! You are here for a reason. You are no accident. God has created us different, but equal, if that makes any sense to you guys. Claim it and start feeling good. You can do things others can’t. They need you just as much as you need others too. Don’t be afraid to break out of your nutshell.
Feeling bad is natural…
Of course, you are still human, and being sad or down is natural. So don’t be afraid of that. I think this keeps our feet on the ground. There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance and feeling a pang of pain humbles us. There is nothing more unattractive than an arrogant person. Don’t panic if you start to feel bad again, it’s natural and will go away. Just make sure to wake yourself up from being down okay?
Remember the first 4 🙂
Talk to someone. This is one thing I find hard to do and I am really working on doing it much more. I have this wall I built around myself which I am still working on loosening up a bit. However, I always have my good old trusty pen and paper so I think I’m good. However, for you guys out there, I really, really suggest to talk to someone you trust. I did this a few times and it helped me lots. Go call your mom, or your dad, or your best friend. Cry, out loud if you wish it, it will help you release whatever nasty feeling you hold in your heart. I let myself cry once in a while. You are not alone in that darlin’.
It takes some effort
Now, feeling good will need some effort from your end too. You don’t expect people to accept and respect you if you are looking all kind of funky do you? Just recently, I started paying attention to my face, my nails, my hair and other stuff that I am not really very finicky about. I started painting my nails (which is really fun!), and putting some color on my face, and giving my hair some love (dyed it, yey). I’m still trying to get myself to groom my eyebrows though, haha! Always look clean and neat. Personally, I like a very natural yet clean look. Also, I always need to smell good. Big girls (and boys too) have this reputation of smelling funky at the end of the day; luckily I never had to deal with that issue. However, if you do have that issue, try and address it as soon as possible. It will make a huge difference on your mood, trust me.
Finally, I want to say that this is a gradual process. It will not happen overnight. I am still on this process of acceptance and confidence and I am proud of it. I still feel bad sometimes, and maybe tear up a bit as well, but I always manage to rise above intimidation and go on smiling. Don’t be scared to go out there and chase your dreams. Remember what the wonderful Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
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