This article is part of Conturve’s #MyTrueSelf campaign, featuring the personal stories of three remarkable women. It’s time to start having honest conversations about our bodies.
In a world where people want to be perfect, we often compete with our clothes size. Whoever has the smallest number is the winner, but what’s the reward for having a small size? Do we get a trophy or a cash prize if we reach size zero? Does it guarantee happiness or perfect mental health?
Society and social media pressure women to have the "perfect size" and create a stigma around weight. However, perfect size doesn’t exist because everyone’s body is unique, and beauty has various forms.
“My 5-year-old daughter asked me why my stomach’s bigger than her dolls. Instead of feeling bad, I turned it into an opportunity to tell her my story. I showed her my stomach scar and told her how my body changed after having her and her sister. I told her- ‘I love my body’, something I wish someone had told me when I was young. Although my stomach is still my biggest insecurity, I don’t want to pass my self-doubt onto her. I encourage all mums not to criticise themselves or their bodies, ESPECIALLY in front of their kids, as they are always listening! I remember how my mum talked about herself, and it made me feel sad and repeat the same negative things about myself. As kids grow older, it becomes more challenging to influence them, so share your story with them and teach them that every single body is beautiful and perfect. Our self-acceptance will change their lives.”
Society teaches girls to feel unhappy with their appearance from a young age. Our negative body image often stems from media influence and the fashion industry- telling us we are too heavy, short, or not petite enough. However, beauty standards and the ideal body type constantly change with time and our culture.
The reality is that your size does not define you.
You can ease the burden on yourself by seeing your size as merely a number, not a measure of your beauty or value.
“Loving yourself is a journey that can be different every day. Some days it's easy. On other days you need to work harder on your self-esteem. For me, it's about choosing myself every moment and avoiding negative thoughts by saying, "I choose my body". Try to find one thing you love about yourself every time you look in the mirror!”
If you want to know how to embrace your body regardless of its size, you must remind yourself: You are not a size XL; you wear a size XL. The difference is in your mentality.
Next time you’re trying on a dress that doesn’t fit right, don’t think, ‘I’m too broad/short/tall to wear this’; change it to: ‘this dress is the wrong size for me’.
“It's easy to post your flattering angles on social media, but it's tough to show how you look when natural and vulnerable.
In the past, I used to avoid posting photos where my stomach rolls were visible because I was ashamed. However, I've come to accept and embrace my imperfect body. I recognise that I may never have the ‘ideal body size’, but I am grateful for my health and body's ability to function correctly. The number on the scale doesn't define me. Beauty exists in all shapes and sizes; nobody should ever feel inadequate for being themselves. Self-acceptance plays a significant role in improving body image.”
It’s high time we love ourselves for who we are, just as we are.
What’s your truth?
Share your journey to self-love and confidence with us @conturve. Your story of how you overcame body dysmorphia could get a feature in one of our posts and inspire someone! Let’s strive to banish body shaming and encourage body positivity by starting the change within ourselves. You’ll be surprised how you glow when you love and accept yourself and your body!
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