I would like to celebrate a milestone with you all today. Something that I never thought would ever happen… but it did!
Someone called me ugly, and I didn’t believe them.
I know for some people, this might not seem like much, but for me, it is an incredible victory; one that celebrates significant personal growth and self-love.
How the War Began
Like many young girls growing up, I have experienced my fair share of self-esteem and body confidence issues. I would go far as to say that my past was, unfortunately, defined by my lack of self-worth. My teenage years and very early twenties were hindered by my depreciative outlook of my own person.
My family’s lack of awareness and education resulted in an upbringing that didn’t exactly nurture my individuality and worth. Body image issues naturally came with puberty but the downfalls of social media deepened the roots of my insecurities. I also suffered from severe cystic acne that left me with both physical and mental scars. All of these factors were perpetuated by my tendency to compare and criticise.
Calling a Ceasefire
The battle began forever ago and it’s been ongoing ever since. Today, we called a ceasefire on a war that seemed like it was never going to end. There is hope.
Someone called me ugly, and for the first time, I didn’t believe them!
The reason why this idea is such a big deal to me is because back then, whenever someone criticised my appearance, I would have actually believed them. I would have really believed them to the bottom of my heart. On the surface, I would act as if their comments didn’t affect me at all. Yet deep down, the last remaining light of any self-worth were flickering dangerously as if they were about to die at any moment. I would spend the next few hours, sporadically checking myself out in the mirror. Searching for all of the reasons why.
The True Ugly
Unsurprisingly, this pulled me into a downward spiral of self-hate, anxiety and feelings of unworthiness. My mind was in torment and it manifested in my actions. I became a highly self-conscious, shy and timid person. When a friendly stranger looked at me, I would quickly look away because I didn’t want people looking at my face. But then I remembered that I didn’t like the look of my side profile either, so the best option? It was to look down.
The worse thing about being self-conscious and insecure, in my opinion, is the fact that we do end up being ugly ourselves. Ugly in the sense of our personality and our demeanour towards others, because we start to project and manifest our insecurities within our actions. It becomes an endless and unfathomable cycle that starts to mask the good person that we are.
There were a few ways I tried to cover up my insecurities. I started to engage in a lot of consumerism. Buying clothes and make-up on end and starting a wish list that detailed all of the designer handbags that I wanted to buy. It wasn’t even that I liked nice clothes or enjoyed the art of make-up, it was just pure consumption to distract myself from what I was truly feeling.
The worst part of all though, was my internal justification to being a mean person. I was anxious about what people thought of me and I felt defenceless when I thought that I was being judged. So I started to be on the offence. I judged others first before they could judge me. Picking out someone’s appearance before they could pick out mine. Unbeknownst to me, I really, truly became an ugly person.
Someone Called Me Ugly
By the time I came to this realisation, I had gone a little too far to undo this overnight. Slowly but surely, over the past years as I matured, I started to see my own self-worth in the mirror. That I was pretty and beautiful. I knew this, not from the recent comments on my Instagram post or Facebook profile picture… or even from my fiancé, but from myself. I was genuinely happy and content with my appearance. Of course being the realist that I am, I know that I look nothing like Lauren German or Kaia Gerber (both of my absolute girl crushes)… but I don’t care because I’m utterly and truly happy with what I look like.
The best part of it is the liberation I feel when I scroll through my Instagram feed. No longer do I start nit-picking, judging or comparing myself to other girls. My feelings are neutral with positive inspiration. I’ll be posting a more in-depth article about positive inspiration soon but the gist of it is the ability to appreciate someone’s beauty, take inspiration from it without needing to dislike your own.
But I Know I’m Beautiful
There is no denying that this battle will continue to go on. I will have days where I don’t feel too good about myself and other days where I feel great. But for now, someone called me ugly and I didn’t believe them! Why? Because deep-down, I know that I’m beautiful and no one can tell me otherwise.