How To Be Beautiful When You Think You Aren’t
Believing you are beautiful at any size is a constant uphill battle in the culture we live in. It’s HARD because everything you see in the media, tv, magazines tells you otherwise. It’s impossible to live up to the expectations and demands of society. Even family and friends can add to the heartache. So today, I want to open up and share my story and struggles with feeling beautiful. Hopefully, this will help you begin the journey to finding your beautiful.
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Like a lot of women I know, I didn’t grow up feeling beautiful. I never felt ugly, but I knew I was nothing special. I wasn’t popular or part of the “in” crowd. In fact, I wasn’t really part of any crowd. I had friends, sure, but I never really fit into any one category. I was always grateful to receive any kind of compliment, but deep down I never really believed it. I was made fun of constantly for being “chubby” as a kid. I was awkward and sucked at sports. I was the artsy kid, always drawing, daydreaming and living through song lyrics. Then I was a rebel teenager in love with hair bands and motorcycles. I would dream about Prince Charming saving me and telling me how beautiful I was. But, I knew deep down it was a fairytale.
In high school, I met the man who I would later marry and my self-esteem plummeted even more. My marriage wasn’t all bad, but my husband was very controlling. He made me believe that I was never good enough, not attractive, and no one else would ever have me. I suffered a lot of emotional and psychological abuse over the years, not even realizing the harm it was doing to my psyche. My weight skyrocketed after the birth of my second daughter to top off at 275 lbs. The struggle with my weight would be a roller coaster ride over the next 15 years. Every time I would lose 30lbs, I would gain back 40. And so it went.
And then a miracle happened.
I took a job in Nashville at a hospital and met some amazing friends. The following year, we took a girls trip to Las Vegas. I had finally lost some weight and was keeping it off. Also, with the help of these wonderful ladies, I was finally realizing that I was indeed being abused psychologically and emotionally by my husband and I was done with it. Little did I know, this trip would be the jumping off point to lead to where I am today.
I had bought this royal blue Marilyn Monroe looking dress to wear for one of our nights out on the town. I still didn’t feel beautiful when I put it on, but I fixed my hair and makeup, threw on those Spanx and off we went. As we were walking the streets of Vegas, just laughing and having a good time, a lady came right up to me and told me I was beautiful. A perfect stranger!
My mind reeled and my head whipped back. What had she just said to me? Immediately, my inner critic screamed, LIAR!
But, I learned a very powerful lesson in that moment. The inner healing work I’d started on myself was far, FAR away from truly changing how I felt about myself. I was still struggling with the belief that I was attractive.
Feeling Is Believing
Even though I could SEE that I looked good – thank you amazing blue dress! I didn’t actually believe it. Seeing was NOT believing because I couldn’t FEEL it. As a result, today, I know that the better, truer, wiser phrase is “feeling is believing.”
That night was one of those “wake-up call” nights for me. I realized I needed to commit to doing the inner healing work to stop the negative talk in my head because it was clear… Affirmations on my mirror weren’t cutting it!
Here’s what I did…..
1. Stopped People Pleasing!
I made a commitment to myself after that night to live my life the way I wanted! I stopped allowing my husband, or anyone else, the power to make me feel like “less” for sticking up for myself. I learned to say “no” and I started finally doing things that made me happy.
2. Took Control Of My Beliefs
The second thing I did was I started questioning my own beliefs. I would ask myself, “Shannon, why do you believe XYZ?” This gave me a moment to pause and reflect, “Where did this belief come from?” Was I blindly holding onto a belief because it was what my husband, friend, commercial, or celebrity said or believed? Did I (me, myself and I) believe it? Or, was I adopting their philosophy as my own?
This simple acknowledgment of where I’d picked up the idea helped to release the power it had over me. Then I could decide, yes or no, if I truly wanted the idea in my personal belief system. Whew! I spent some serious time cleaning out my thoughts. I put a lot of them in the trash!
3. I Took My Power Back
With these new found beliefs, I took control of how I looked at myself in the mirror. I realized I was the only person with the power to make or break myself. I learned to be kind to myself, and dare I say, love myself? I became confident and sure of who I was and what I wanted out of life. That inner confidence manifests itself on the outside and now there is no comparing myself to others or trying to conform to what society says is beautiful. I took that power back and I will never give it away again.
4. Started Loving My Curves
The most fun part of this brand new me was ditching my wardrobe. Seriously, I threw out everything. Gone were the “mom” jeans, baggy t-shirts, and the oversized black sacks I called my “dress clothes”. I researched what would look good on my body type (I’m an apple by the way). Then, I grabbed a good friend of mine, who I knew would be completely honest with me, and we went shopping. Now my closet if full of figure flattering outfits that can still be comfy and casual but make me feel like a million bucks.
My husband and I did ultimately divorce and it was ugly. But now, he no longer has any control over me. I am the one who controls my life and my beliefs, and I believe I am beautiful.
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I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Why do you struggle with feeling beautiful? And if you’ve broken down the barrier to feeling gorgeous, what did you do to get there? How did you go about finding your beautiful? I’m so curious! And I’ll be here to answer every question.
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