Words HURT…or at least that was the case for me. I have always been someone who lived life walking on egg shells to prevent negative criticism. On the outside I’ve heard that I come off confident, a leader even but I have dealt with the biggest doses of insecurities and they all stem from the root of being terrified that I would be talked about and judged. This way of thinking has come out in many ways including secretly refusing to wearing a bathing suit in public. Pull up a seat and let me explain…
A few years ago I was at a pool with an old friend. Mind you I didn’t really like my body so I was wearing a one piece with the back out. Playing it safe right? So we are hanging out and a girl walks by. My friend casually says something to the effect of “you would look like that if you didn’t have a gut.” I immediately felt like the size of a dirty brown leaf floating in the jacuzzi tub. Matter of fact, I would have rather traded places with that dirty leaf.
Oh gosh. Where is my towel? Can I just get as far away as possible? Like Africa?
I don’t think she meant it in a malicious way (I don’t know how the heck she meant it to be honest. Maybe she was speaking some truths) but from that day on I would never wear a bathing suit. Instead, I would make up excuses on why I couldn’t go to the pool although inside I was thinking: I actually think my body looks like Shrek in a bathing suit so no I don’t want to lay by the pool for all of the world to laugh at me like Donkey. That situation seems silly when I think about it but to this day I haven’t worn a full suit in public. Matter of fact, I don’t even own one and even though I’ve lost some weight and steadily working toward my body goals, it still makes me nervous to think about putting one on.
Can you think back on a time where a friend, family member or even stranger said something to you that altered how you saw yourself? I know you have because we all have experienced it. We have all been hurt by the idiotic words of others and as much as we lie and say we don’t care, we secretly do because it reminds us of the own negative opinions we tell ourselves.
For years I walked around assuming that the whole world looked at me the way I felt that day at the pool. Maybe that’s why guys don’t talk to me. Maybe they only like the 6-pack abs, long hair don’t care type of girls and at the time I was very much gutted and bald head (just went natural. YASSS to all the natural girls lol).
I have yet to buy a bathing suit but I learned 3 things that are helping me knock down walls of insecurity and going for it:
- Watch how you talk to yourself – If you look in the mirror and the first thing you say is “ew look at my body, I belong with the whales at Seaworld,” then that will NEVER help you move forward. We don’t realize how much our negative talk prevents us from succeeding. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy which means you are what you believe you are and negative words can really damage how you see yourself. Even if it’s “hey that bang is really snatched today,” say good things to yourself!
- If YOU don’t like it, change it – I’ve always envied people who could just eat whatever that wanted and have abs but I had to accept that it just isn’t how God made me. Instead of looking at myself disgusted any longer I made a conscious decision to work out and eat right (still working on this lol). Feeling good about yourself is so important and is a huge shield for criticism. If there is something you aren’t happy with then work on changing it or learning to be confident about it.
- Believing other people over yourself is a waste of time – If you stand boldly at 200 pounds and love every curve of your body then WHO THE HECK CARES. If you sing and think you sound amazing then tune out the negativity. Life is about living for you and when you are so worried about living for others then there is no way to completely be at peace and give the world your best self. Be open to constructive (not destructive, know the difference) criticism but never let that overrule your opinion of yourself.
You are beautiful/handsome (for my fellas). You are strong. You are the best you there is. So like I always say – own that ish and work on making yourself even better by surrounding yourself with good people and doing things that will benefit your mind, body and soul. The only opinion that matters is what you and God think so make it a goal to dismiss any negativity that comes your way.
And while you are working on that I’ll be working on busting into Summer 2016 with my bathing suit like…