As a female with acne-ridden skin, curves, stretch marks, fat rolls, and cellulite – one would think I’m insecure as hell. Well, I used to be. In fact, I almost always shied away from anything that would make me feel uncomfortable in my body: social calls, outings, meetings, dates, dresses, leggings, the list could go on forever. Then came a day where I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself: “why do we worry so much about beauty anyway? Aren’t we all humans?” and so I embarked on my journey of body-confidence, but, the train came to a halt when I realized, confidence isn’t just physical. For years upon years, I was convinced I was hard to love, I was told I was “too” intellectual, “too” bitchy, “too” intimidating, “too” careless, “too” angry, “too” deep, and just a generally heavy person (no pun intended). Then I slowly started to realize that these qualities people saw as flaws were my tools for survival. My environment makes it difficult to be delicate and pretty, or even somewhat calm and steady. I came to the conclusion that I ain’t no sea. I’m much more hellfire, and that is okay. Here’s how I took my self-confidence and life back.
1. Mirror Mirror on the Wall, I’m glowing just like them all
Literally. We’ve all been taught that mirrors are our biggest critics; within them we see ourselves, but you CAN turn your mirror into your #1 supporter. One night three years ago, I grabbed colored markers, a stool, and climbed to my knees on it in front of my vanity mirror. I started filling the mirror with words and phrases, “you are beautiful”, “strong girl”, “knowledge is your power”, “progress love, not perfection”, “human, aspire to be human”, “your intellect makes you sexy”, “take a deep breath”, and more. My mirror for 3 years was a sacred object in our home, no one was allowed to touch it, I could barely see my own physical reflection in the mirror, all I could see were positive affirmations for me, reflected back at me, in a stunning array of color. Exactly a month ago, I cleaned up the mirror and now there’s only one word on it, “human”. Seeing positivity reflected back at you every time you look at an object that used to terrify you brings you so much confidence. You become utterly convinced that everything on it is true, you create a better version of yourself, and for the rest of your life, you will remember these words and phrases whenever you look at any mirror. You will glow. Trust me.
2. OHM your way through it
Dealing with your overthinking is incredibly difficult. It’s a rough and painful battle – no, a war – that you mostly fight in silence. There is nothing more difficult than battling your own self. But what if there’s a way to create peace? What started as my pre-exam anxiety exercise turned into my confidence booster:
Breathe in for 7 seconds through the mouth, hold it for 3 seconds, then release it loudly through the mouth, and repeat till some part of your brain starts throbbing. Slowly, start talking to yourself, “my vulnerability isn’t weakness”, “my fear isn’t a hindrance”, “my anger is not invalid”, “my abuse is not justifiable”, “I will not be controlled by my past”, “I will not be a victim of my own mind”. Start letting out a loud “OHM”, stretching it out as much as you can, over and over, longer, louder, till you feel a part of your brain buzz and vibrate. This exercise literally massages your brain.
3. “I control my mind, my mind does not control me”
Imagine your mind is a computer, with a negative file and a positive file. When the negative file is triggered, it releases all negativity within it. When the positive file is triggered, it releases a small portion of the positivity within it. Why? Because your self-loathing is in control of the keys and triggers, and that’s only ONE part of you. Your mind should be controlled by your conscious, not your subconscious. Train yourself to recognize who is in control, allow your consciousness to reach out and open the positive, shut out the negative, and/or mediate at the very least. Personally, I wake up every day and say this phrase to myself 21 times, and do the same in bed before I go to sleep. So far, it’s helped.
4. The Root of All Insecurity
The root of all insecurity in this day and age is the desire to be loved – I think. There is no emotional nutrition, there’s social media love, there’s over-the-phone love, there’s easy communication, but there’s no depth for these exchanges. If anything, poet Salma El Wardany summarized it pretty well: “I’m waiting for a love that never leaves me on two blue ticks”. I’ve always asked myself how someone can love someone else when they do not love their own selves. Working on yourself, taking care of yourself, loving yourself, satisfies your natural need for love and appreciation. You become self-sufficient, you start to attract love, and instead of attracting toxic feelings, your energy will call out for healthy love. Do not concern yourself with others – concern yourself with you. Fight for you. Grow for you. Work for you. And also love for you.
5. Stop Fearing Your Light
Sometimes, we fear happiness, we fear success, we fear confidence. We are scared of attaining these things because they will fade away. But sadness fades away too. We’ve become so used to this idea that once you find happiness it’s forever. But that’s not true. Life is a rollercoaster, there are ups, there are downs, there are turns, there are curves. It’s one big mess. That’s how it will be your entire life, sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s sad, but always remind yourself to be grateful. Stop fearing the fleeting happiness, stop fearing “letting your hopes up”, stop fearing becoming someone. Stop telling yourself: “who am I to be gorgeous, powerful, and light?” but really, who are you NOT to be?
I’m only almost eighteen, I could be wrong. These tips could be temporary, and they may or may not help you. But I’ve always believed in the power of making friends with your own mind – or manipulating it to think a certain way for the betterment of your own health. Remember, all human beings are beautiful, we are all different, and thus, we are all the same.