Over the course of the last few years or so, I, like so many other teenage girls, have struggled with body confidence, with body positivity, and with comparing myself to others. But I've finally come to a point in my life where I have accepted a lot about who I am and what I look like, even though there are occasional down days where I just can't seem to look myself in the mirror. I love myself and I love my body, and its amazing how much your perspective changes once you realize how beautiful you are. Here's some real ways I've gotten to that point:
1. Fake it 'til you make it
This is by far the most powerful strategy I have used for myself. Fake it 'til you make it seems kind of silly at first, since you're telling yourself what you believe to be lies, but eventually you start to fall for it. One day at a time, one compliment at a time, one outfit at a time. You have no idea how effective it can be until you try it.
For me, it was acting like Phoebe Buffay from Friends. Phoebe constantly is pointing out how beautiful she is, or easy to accept compliments which she thinks are "stating the obvious". Embrace your sexiness girl, flaunt it, own it.
When my boyfriend and I first started dating, he would compliment my hair or outfit and I would roll my eyes, and explain why what he said about how I looked pretty or cute, wasn't actually true. I didn't believe what he said and I couldn't see what he saw (as cheesy as that sounds). But then little by little, I would be the one telling him that I already know my outfit looks great today, or my makeup looks amazing, or that I do look fabulous. He noticed it enough to tell me that he saw a big change in my confidence and I use that as motivation when I'm feeling down.
2. You're your own worst enemy
Girl, I promise you whatever you feel insecure about, is not what I notice when I look at you. I can guarantee that for every girl's body you wish you had, someone is saying the same thing about yours. For every little thing you notice and don't like about yourself, maybe your skin or your legs or your nose, you are the only one noticing it! Don't fool yourself into thinking models have perfect bodies--theres no such thing. Just take a look at the #AerieReal models, the new campaign with all kinds of body types that are beautiful and untouched and perfect just how they are. And so are you.
3. Use your own body as a confidence booster
Maybe you want to be the weight you were in high school again, or maybe you want to really work on cardio this month, or maybe you just want to get in shape. You can use old pictures of yourself as a confidence booster for what you are working towards. Look down at yourself and point out five things you like. Compliment yourself when you have a great hair day. Tell yourself you're amazing.
4. Empower others
Accept that you are jealous of other girls at times, that you compare yourself to them, and that you wish you looked liked them. Thats okay, thats normal even. But also remind yourself that they have their own insecurities too and might be jealous of something you have as well. Understand that every girl has self doubts and nobody is perfect. By empowering others, you are not only lifting them up but yourself as well. To them, you are a confident woman and you'll start feeling like one.
5. Give yourself a break
You're going to come to the realization that all the effort, time, and energy put into looking a certain way just doesn't matter in the long run. Who cares? There are so many other things in this life that deserve your attention than having your stomach look a specific way or owning the popular brands. Love yourself, you deserve it.
Please remember, theres a difference between working towards a healthy, happy body, and changing your body in an unhealthy manner. Be aware of the potential harm and risk that can happen with dietary choices, and be aware of eating disorders not only in your own life, but others as well. Know that you are perfect just the way you are and people love you just like that.