My 23rd birthday was last weekend. My anxiety makes it very difficult to celebrate birthdays because my mind focuses on what I haven't done since my last birthday, rather than what I have done. I’ve also been struggling a lot lately with my body and having to be in social situations makes me anxious. But let's be real … everyone has insecure thoughts about themselves at some point or another. I don’t think any one of us can say we love our bodies, unconditionally, all the time. So, I’m not going to sugar coat what I’m about to say because connecting with others is all about being authentic.
I’ve gained a lot of weight over the past four years. I’ve spent a lot of time hating my body, hating myself and hating the choices I’ve made. I had a panic attack a couple days ago, on the first day of exceptionally warm weather after a long and cold winter. I was uncomfortable in the clothes I was wearing and I felt like I couldn't breathe anymore. I realized that I had no summer clothes that fit me. My mind was racing, questions were popping up in my head and I had no answers.
Body love is something that’s talked a lot about, especially in the mental health and body positivity community. It’s easy to promote self-love. It’s harder to practice it ourselves.
How do we love ourselves?
How can we accept our bodies?
How can I feel comfortable in a tank top?
How can I wear shorts and feel secure?
How can we practice self-love?
I don’t have the magic answer and I don’t think I ever will. Learning to love ourselves is the hardest thing we'll ever do. So please know that you are not the only person who fights every day to find a way to accept yourself. We're always finding beauty in everything and everyone but ourselves; how ironic is that?