Battling with Self Confidence

I have been doing some research and finding a lot on the subject of self image. Im positive almost everyone has had some sort of body image issue at some point in his or her life. Lord knows I have. I struggled with fully loving and accepting myself for most of my life. I wasted so much time disliking myself and picking myself apart that I lost out on years of love and acceptance. Why? How could I have treated myself so poorly?

When did society agree that your self worth is solely based on the number on the scale, or your reflection in the mirror? When did we start punishing ourselves for being ourselves? This needs to stop.

Let me ask you a few questions:

Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself to someone else? Wishing you had so and sos X,Y, and Z?
Have you ever found yourself thinking, If only I could get down to this size, or have this body, or weigh this much, then Id be happy?
Have you ever picked yourself apart in front of a mirror?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, youre not alone. Im sure we are all guilty of this from time to time. Again, I ask why? Why do we continue to beat ourselves up? Whats the point in all of that? Self deprecation does not lead to self love. You know, in life we will all come across people that dont like us for a myriad of reasons. I dont like him because he got the promotion I wanted. I dont like her, shes pretty. I dont like them because they order the same Starbucks drink as me. The possibilities are endless. There will be people that dont treat you the way you deserve. There will be others that constantly put you down to make up for the lack of love in their own lives. The point is, life will be full of people that will give you a hard time. Dont be one of them! That is not a club you want a monthly membership to. Be in your own corner. Be kind to yourself, and love yourself. No matter what.

About two years ago, during a conversation with my coach, I broke down and told him how much I disliked looking at myself. I would stand in front of a mirror for a while and pick apart every imperfection. Im sure I even fabricated things that werent even wrong with me. Who I saw in the mirror was not the same person others saw me as. Jason gave me an assignment. He told me that every time I passed by a mirror, I was to stand there and look at myself until I could name 3 things I liked about myself. I agreed to do it. The first time I tried this exercise, I literally stood in front of the mirror for 25 minutes trying to come up with three things. I had thoughts like, Well, I like my eyes, but only when I have mascara on, so you can see how long my lashes are. Or, I like my skin, but only in this lighting. This was really hard for me at the time. I eventually came up with liking the color of my eyes, the freckle on my bottom lip, and my collar bones. Hey, you gotta start somewhere! The more I practiced this exercise, the easier it got. Never underestimate the power of positive self talk. This exercise was a huge contributor to my shift in perspective. Its sort of funny, because I never realized it was working, until one day I could pass a mirror and instantly pick out 10 things I loved about myself. Then 20, 50, 938, 234. You get the picture.

Then, I finally saw myself. A sense of gratitude, love, and acceptance fell over me. I saw that I was beautiful and full of love. I vowed to portray a stronger image, not for others, but for myself. In time, I was ready to fully embrace everything that Ashley was comprised of. All of it. I realized that this is a journey in itself, and that there would be no quick fixes. Im only human, but I know that love and acceptance start with me.

I would urge anyone struggling with this sort of thing to practice the same exercise Jason gave me. It isnt easy, and some days may be harder than others, but know that you are worth it. A shift in perspective will also do you good. I believe it all starts with perspective. Nothing will change unless you are ready and willing to work hard for it. A dear friend of mine taught me that. I promise it will be worth it in the end. Hang in there.

Success

In Part II, I will take you deeper into my story and continue to share how Ive overcome adversity.

Stay tuned and join me on my adventure!