Guest Blogger, Rebekah Hibbert
I often thought that to write about positive self image I had to be free of negative self talk. I had to be able to provide a story about someone who had risen from the self-doubt and never looked back. I soon realized what I needed to do was provide an honest account of my struggles.
“People need to know that everyone faces struggles from time to time, even happy people.”
The more we pretend that these struggles don’t exist, the more we miss out on the chance to have conversations that mean something, which is a disservice to those around us. They are conversations I think a lot of females want to have but fear judgment, but believe me when I tell you, hiding from it only makes it worse.
For me, it began when I was sixteen years old. That year I had started working at a retail store and had been there for six months when a brand rep arrived at the store to make suggestions on how the store could improve sales. As I walked passed my manager and the brand rep, they asked to speak to me. The conversation that followed would shape the way I perceived myself for years. I was told that my scars, from a recent ACL reconstruction, ‘weren’t in line with what the brand represented,’ and they asked that I wear capris or pants instead of shorts or skirts. No one else received this request. Up to that point, I saw those scars as something to be proud of. I had been injured, pushed myself in rehabilitation, and found the confidence to come back and play the sport I loved. That conversation made me feel as if those scars were just an ugly imperfection; one I now felt ashamed of. Outside of playing soccer, I rarely wore anything that showed my scars for the next several years.
This conversation led to the beginning of self-doubt, self-judgment, and the maddening ability to look in the mirror some days and see only faults. It is not all the time, but it is too often. How can I allow something as petty as physical appearances literally define me at times? It makes me insane, but this false idea of perfection is pushed on females. The ads, magazines, blogs, top internet searches seem to convey that how we look will define our worth. I know it’s a lie, but I still buy it at times.
“It took longer than I would have liked, but I have returned to that girl that was not ashamed of those scars, someone who knew those scars stood for so much more.”
I am thankful that I have gained confidence since that conversation in the store. Age and maturity have definitely helped. There are still times I wrestle with negative self talk, but I continue to learn to focus on the positives instead of what I perceive to be my negatives. I have found when you stop judging yourself it allows you to stop judging others, because you stop the comparing yourself to them. You start to learn who you are without worrying about outside influence. You begin to quiet the self doubt. We have to remind ourselves that when we judge on appearance we are not just wasting our time but also holding ourselves back from sharing our gifts and passions with those around us. I don’t want us to waste anymore time. No matter what anyone tells you, including what you may tell yourself at times, you are more interesting, intelligent, and amazing because of your imperfections not in spite of them.