Let's face it, I've never felt pretty. For as long as I can remember I used to look in the mirror and pick myself apart. I noticed every flaw, every imperfection. I took mental notes of all the things I would change if I could. Actually, there were very few things about myself that I wouldn't change, given the chance.
Maybe not change as much as perfect or modify. I wanted to have so-and-so's lips, so and so's great body, so-and so's complexion. I was/am a chronic comparer. I'm constantly measuring myself up against others. This isn't just confined to looks either. We're talking about personality, abilities, experiences, lives. I guess you could just say I felt a lot of the times I got the raw deal in life. Sure, there are people that have it worse then me, but it seemed like so many other people had it so much better. Or they have/don't have something that would make my life almost perfect.
I have a friend though, who taught me something very important along these lines. When I first met her I thought she was the most confident person on the planet. Actually, her confidence bordered on being cocky or conceited. It seemed like nothing and no one could make her feel inferior. I really admired this trait in her. And I wasn't the only one. It seemed every where she went she was surrounded by people; people eager to get to know her and spend time with her. Of course, there were also those individuals who were jealous; the ones who called her proud and self-obsessed. But in reality she was none of these things. She was simply comfortable with who she was and didn't want to change anything about herself. She was perfectly content. Or so I thought....
I remember one day in particular that changed my perception of her dramatically. We had known each other for about 3 months and we were getting ready to go out together. She was standing in front of the mirror, trying to decide what to wear. She looked at her reflection and shook her head sadly. "Nothing looks right on me today. I wish I had better ...." I looked at her, nothing less then shocked. Had I heard correctly? Was the queen of "if you don't like me, deal with it" actually insecure about the way she looked? I was so intrigued that I decided to ask her - "So you actually don't like....? I thought you liked every part of your body." She laughed. "No way! There are plenty of things I would change if I could. But I can't. So what's the use in moaning about what you don't have, instead of accentuating and appreciating what you DO have." I was still baffled "I thought you were confident about the way you looked." "I am" she replied "confidence doesn't mean thinking you're perfect. The secret is not thinking about your imperfections. Then other people don't notice them either."
I was thinking about this friend recently and wishing I could be more like her. But a lot of time has passed since we've seen each other (she lives on another continent) and I developed an ED. Anyone that has an ED knows that it is NOT a confidence booster. As a matter of fact it knocks down any little self-confidence you may have left and locks you in an unending cycle of striving for contentment with yourself and your body. The sad thing is you are NEVER good enough. The thinner you are, the thinner you have to be. Then you get TOO THIN and you know you don't look good, but you feel like you can't do anything to change that. And it's an unending cycle.
I decided that it's time to turn over a new leaf. It's time for me to become a content and confident person. This will not be an overnight process and thinking about it at the moment makes me feel overwhelmed, like it's a goal thats too big and too bold. But in reality I KNOW I have it in me to change. It will take many small steps taken over a long period of time. There will be times I will be tempted to give up because this goes against my very nature. But I'll just have to "fake it till I make it". My friend didn't feel confident 100% of the time, but sure made me believe it. And that's what I'm going to do. From now on I will do all in my power to not let any self-depreciating comments come out of my mouth, regardless of how I do/don't feel that day. That goes for negating compliments as well - something I also have a tendency to do. Not only that, I will look in the mirror every morning and say something positive about myself - "I like ...." If I can't think of anything (and I have days like this) I will simply say "I am beautiful because I am me, and God doesn't make junk". It won't be easy and it'll take a lot of inner strength and will power, but I believe I have it in me.
I was already tempted with plenty of negative thoughts today. I went for my weekly appointment with my psychologist and during the course of the conversation she said "You're face really filled out since I first met you. Your bones don't stick out like they used to, and you have dimples when you smile." Ouch, that was a difficult compliment for me to take. My mind automatically transformed it into "You're getting fat. You're going to be a chubby little fluff-ball by the time this is over". But I fought those thoughts and decided to focus on the next part of the compliment (the one ED tried desperately to block out) "You look so much prettier now then you did then. You have a classic beauty about you." ED tried to distort even that by telling me that classic meant common, that there was nothing unique about me anymore. How stupid is that! It actually make me incredulously amused at how the negative side of my brain can translate literally ANYTHING into something negative. So guess what, I'm just going to shut down and not listen to it any more. I look like a healthy (NOT fat) woman, not someone from a concentration camp. And that is a good thing. Inside me I KNOW I look better now then I did then. So I'm going to force myself to believe it, even if my mind does argue with that fact.
I think I have my goals set out for me. It's not going to be easy, but it will be so worth it. I hope someday my attitude will be so different in regards to myself that I will be literally unrecognizable to some people I knew from the past. I want people to ask me what happened; how am I so different. And I don't want to just act different, but be different.
That day is coming, but for now I will just "fake it till I make it".