Sarah Hawkins is one of the most beautiful and friendly people I know. She is a genuine ray of sunshine in my world. You would never guess this beauty has battled with self-image woes. Here is a little piece of her story... I hope this inspiring and heart-felt post encourages you today. You are all beautiful from the inside out.
Love Heids Xx
All my life I have believed that physical beauty is what matters, something needing to be acquired and maintained in life. If I am beautiful then I will have friends, I will have love, and I will be happy. I don't remember a time when I did not worry about looking good, and this relating to what people would think about me and whether or not I would be loved. I must have been very young when I learnt this lie. I don't know how it came about, but with everything around us shouting out how we are supposed to look, I have a bit of an idea.
Like most little girls, my all-time favourite toys were my barbies. Barbie is beautiful, and always dressed in the latest fashion. She's got Ken who follows her around like a happy puppy, and all her friends adore her and sing her praises. She lives in a pretty pink mansion with a swing out front, and drives a hot pink convertible. Heck, she even has a horse! And a jet-ski. Barbie has it all. And as a little girl, I wanted to be just like her. Perfect.
Throughout my childhood I loved to dress up in pretty dresses matched with shoes, hats, jewellery, little lace gloves - the whole lot, including my mother's make-up - so that I could be pretty. I distinctly remember one Sunday, I must have been around 5 years old, getting all dressed up for church so that I could be admired. I wonder if perhaps this thought is so clear because it was the start of something that became the norm for me - believing I had to look a certain way in order to be loved.
It was around this age that I started calling myself fat. I was bigger than other girls... they were all so 'straight up and down' and I was all 'round'. In high school I discovered that it wasn't just 'puppy fat' as I'd been told, some kids in my grade confirmed I was indeed fat. Add to that braces on my teeth (metal mouth) and an acne problem, well the outcome was a very insecure, low self-esteemed, depressed and unhappy teenager. How could I measure up to perfection? I wasn't Barbie. When my skin was at its most severe with acne, I believed I was ugly, and all those insecurities I felt made me shrink back. I would cover my face with my hair, so ashamed to even lift my head in class. I hardly spoke to the opposite sex because I 'knew' they didn't want to speak to me, let alone look at me. I felt alone and that no one understood what I was going through. I had suicidal thoughts every now and then, and overall I thought my life pretty much sucked. And all this because of my physical appearance.
A few years ago I signed up for the gym. I worked hard to lose weight and change my body shape. I found a confidence in myself that I have never felt before, or since. I actually started to believe I was beautiful. Things were looking up for me, in that aspect at least. Then after a while I started to put weight on again, and all my insecurities flooded back.
It has only been in the last few months, because of reading the blussh blog, that I have had a shift in my thinking. I have had a fresh revelation, and I can't tell you how freeing it is!
I felt convicted after reading one particular post 'The Mum Stays In The Picture' which talks about mums avoiding photo opportunities with their children because of how they feel they look and although this isn't my exact scenario, I went away and thought about some similarities and how I can relate. I realised I was comparing my life to everyone else's seemingly perfect life through the eyes of Facebook and Instagram. My world had become all about looking good in pictures - I felt I had to post my 'prettiest' photos and delete any 'ugly' ones that friends had posted of me because I still believed that beauty was what mattered most. So I stopped engaging with these social spaces for a while and honestly, I didn't missed them. It was refreshing, to not worry about my life looking less perfect than someone else's.
It is an ongoing battle that I am going to win one step at a time, one thought at a time. The wisdom and advice I receive from blussh is teaching me to live a healthy lifestyle - in all aspects of the word, and to love myself, as well as being positive about my body including controlling my thoughts (because I know that I am my worst enemy).
I was reading through the 'posits' section a month or so back and found your quote:
This struck a chord with me. It's exactly what I'm battling with, realising that what's inside is what matters. I wanted to do something so I could remember this and reflect on it... What better way than to put it on my mirror. So now when I see my reflection everyday, I am reminded of what is really important.