Thursday Thoughts – A Letter to My Younger Self

I’ve had a lot of thoughts this week. I’ll try to keep it short and simple. No promises.

This week, something big happened. I scheduled an interview for an internship… meaning I am almost through with my degree… meaning I am growing up.

This week, I was reminded of the times when I was younger and my best friend and I would play in her basement. We LOVED pretending that we were getting ready to be married or playing “house” and being moms taking care of our baby dolls.

We couldn’t wait to be big and grown up.

We didn’t know how hard it would be. Especially being girls in this world.

A friend told me that she heard about a study where girl’s “peak body image,” or the time they feel the best about themselves is age 9 and after that their view of themselves starts going downhill. 9 years old. When I was 9 I was mostly concerned about the band Click 5 (I was convinced that I was just the girl they were looking for.)

Why is this? Body shaming at 9 years old? Why can’t girls be girls? Why does the world put so much pressure on being seen as the perfect size with the perfect clothes and the perfect hair? Why do we judge ourselves so hard and compare ourselves to others too often?

Hey, I’m guilty of it. In fact, that was the reason I started running. I wasn’t confident. I wanted to be thin like all the other pretty girls.

These sites offer a few interesting, and frankly sad, statistics about how we view our bodies, and I don’t think that this body shaming only applies to teenage girls. I think that often times that is where it begins, but the world does not all of a sudden stop promoting this “perfect body image” once you’re no longer a teenager. I mean seriously, look at celebrities like Jennifer Aniston – she’s almost 50 and looks fantastic! (Almost as good as my mom!)

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem

http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics/

http://selfesteem.dove.us/Articles/Written/What_is_body_confidence.aspx

I wish I could go back and write a letter to myself. I can’t, so I’m writing a letter to all of you, no matter how old or young you may be.

  • First and foremost, you are enough. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.
  • You don’t have to stop comparing yourself, just stop comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday; how will you be better today? What will you do today to reach the goals you have?
  • You’re allowed to have insecurities. We all do. Use those to fuel your fire and desire to do better and succeed. You can (and should) work to create those insecurities into strengths.
  • The little things are little things. When I was in high school I always got soooo self conscious when I had a zit or if my bangs wouldn’t cooperate in the morning. Those mornings, Momma always said, no one will even notice and if they do they won’t care… once again momma was right. Don’t stress over the little things like that, they don’t define you.
  • You decide what defines you. You have the power to choose how to show yourself.
  • “Her” life probably isn’t as perfect as Instagram shows it to be. If it is, then that is great and she is lucky! Now take a few minutes to look at all the great things in your life. You have a beautiful body capable of doing great things. You have friends and family who love you and would do anything for you. You have a clothes on your back, food in your belly, and a beating heart. You are blessed more than you realize.
  • Be genuine, both to yourself and to others. Be true to yourself.

I believe that the way to combat this body-shame epidemic is to change our own perceptions first. First, be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Remember your worth. Be kind to others and together let’s start a self love movement.

Compliment someone today. Compliment yourself today. Find a way to spread the love.

Together, let’s work to tell the world that we are all enough, we are all beautiful, and we should all love ourselves. Let’s put the body shaming to rest. Show the world (and click 5) you’re just the girl they’re looking for.

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