Does how you look on the outside determine how you feel on the inside and your worth as a women?
Body image certainly plays (played?) a pretty significant role in my self-esteem. Especially since going into business on my own, I find that I am reaching for as many confidence-boosting hacks as possible to support me through the roller coaster ride that is being self employed.
Nevertheless, I have been working on being my own body image advocate lately. If my best friend or young cousin said that she was feeling low, insecure and vulnerable I wouldn't tell her to hide her face, straighten her hair and wear heels everyday! I would never want her to think that her only option was to cover up and hide her authenticity.
Being your own body image advocate kind of means you treat yourself in the same way you would your daughter or best friend – with love and kindness.
Was it only ever possible for me to feel my best when I wore makeup? The honest answer was I didn't know, because I never tried.
Enter the #ComfortZoneChallenge: One week of not wearing makeup, doing my hair or wearing heels.
I wasn't honouring the message that I believe in, that confidence and self-esteem came from with in! I wasn't honouring it because I avoided having to live it!
Makeup, having nicely done hair and wearing heels are my go to hacks to boost my self-esteem. I even recorded an episode of BLP TV on it a few months ago.
However, if we let it, our confidence, self esteem and happiness will be solely determined by how we look! I think it's OK to get help from these sort of things but if I was honest with myself makeup represented more than help, it became a condition!
My #ComfortZoneChallenge represented the first of many challenges that would stretch my beliefs around what confidence means and how it can be achieved (I know this will always happen outside of my comfort zone).
I quickly realised that being able to do my makeup and hair represented taking the easy option.
On Day 2 - a Saturday night - I was due to go out. I was thinking wouldn't life be just a lot easier if I was able to put on, even just a little, foundation! I wouldn't have to worry about what people would think when they saw the small spot that has taken residence on my chin.
You see, our brains are hardwired to chose the easy solution.
And that easy solution was not having to face going out into the world without my make up – but it was more than just going out into the world on a an average day. It was a night out when women get dressed up to the nines!
In the past, rather than having to face up to my insecurities I would regularly decide to hide behind makeup. At the time, it was easier than asking myself why I was so insecure.
I now know I felt insecure because I was not certain of what would happen when I didn't wear make up. I wasn't certain of how I would feel or what people would think, what I would think! But the world didn't end and I felt more beautiful than ever.
Our body image plays such a big role in determining our self worth because we let it.
We see it everywhere, especially on social media. They almost had me convinced! But then you see the odd post and it gives it all away - a woman remarks on how fluffy, pudgy or wobbly she is feeling and this means she is having a bad day?
A "fat" day should not mean a bad day, we need to separate these feelings and learn to manage and control them. If we let our bad body image days equal are bad days the only thing this reflects is that we value – too much – what is on the outside and have forgotten that there is life beyond #shamelessselfies.
Women will sweat buckets in the gym to tighten their abs (Ab check anyone? Would ya ever feck off with that one!) in preparation for a night out yet dedicate no visible time to actually developing their self esteem i.e their mental health.
I am going to create a #UnconditionalLoveCheck because that sh*t matters more (and before you say it, no, abs do not hold exclusive rights over your worth as a human being).
I really want to see more women work on their self esteem outside of the gym!
Its not about the makeup!
The one thing that, I guess, got my goat was the barrage of you don't need make up, beautiful without it, clear skin comments I was getting from friends and social media. I was very grateful for each and every comment but at the same time it was also annoying!
It wasn't about needing anything! For 15 + years I have been hiding behind makeup and nice hair (only recently heels) because of how it makes me feel. When I put the war paint on, I literally feel like I can take on anything!
(Have you ever had a day where you forgot your make-up or didn't have your fake eyelashes, eyebrows or fake tan on? I have, and I panicked!)
But this isn't the message that I want to stand for, hence the challenge!
It's about how you FEEL when you are wearing makeup - how this armour protects you from the world! I wore makeup because I felt afraid without it but what I want to be is a woman who wears it because she is empowered by creativity.
I learned that when you make a conscious decision not to wear makeup your mind takes over and you begin to look for and rely on other things to make you feel good. I want the choice to feel this way!
I did my #ComfortZoneChallenge for 8 days and if I am honest with you it was easier than I was expecting but there were definitely a lot of firsts, and that Saturday night was hard! I was self conscious at first, a little shy and very curious of other women.
I noticed other women spending a very long time reapplying make up, taking selfies and fixing their hair. Wasting the company of others because they were worried about about how they looked!
But I wasn't worrying about any of that because there was nothing there to worry about! When you stop being so critical of yourself and worried about looking a certain way you free up a lot of energy that you'll then be able to put to good to good use - like being present and having fun.
Confidence and self-esteem has to come from within!
In order to truly feel it and love your body and life unconditionally you gotta be able to stand but ass naked in front of the mirror and the only thing you need to be thinking is “damn girl, you look fine”.
My #ComfortZoneChallenge brought me one step closer to my goal of unconditional self love. It was totes worth it :-)
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