I consider myself a confident person, and I have for a long time. Actually, one of my favourite qualities about myself is that I have the ability to be as confident as I am. I love the fact that I can muster up the courage to do whatever I set my mind to, and do it with a self-assured attitude. And I’m proud of this confidence because I recognize how hard it was for me to get to a place where I can be bold and fearless.
The weird thing about confidence, though, is that even though it’s a quality that you can nurture and grow, it won’t always be there when you need it. So despite all the effort you put into pouring encouragement and support into yourself, there are occurrences, outside of your control, which can cause your hard work to be tested in a matter of seconds. I like to call these situations bumps in the road.
Sometimes these bumps can be small; they might require an extra bit of motivation to fight against, but they won’t sway your swagger for more than a moment. These bumps can also be large and have the ability to undo parts or all of the work you think you have “completed.”
I’ve recently come to a point in my life where I’ve hit one of those more complicated bumps, and as someone who just was on a confident streak, it feels really defeating to admit that.
Like the majority of smaller bumps in my life, the culprit is my body-image. I’ve gained some weight recently, and I see some minor changes in my body. My clothes are fitting more snugly than at the start of the summer, and my legs are bearing some new stretch marks. A week ago I suffered a gallbladder attack which lead me to urgent care for the evening. I need to have surgery in the near future to have this removed, which is something I’ve never had to do before.
Noticing these physical changes, as well as needing surgery, has evidently wreaked havoc on my mental state. My brain is directing all my thoughts towards my problem area and is prompting me to feel as if my body has turned against me. It feels as though all my nerves end at my belly, like a big sign pointing towards the flaw that needs to be taken care of. With my upcoming surgery, I need to have four incisions in my torso, which means four permanent scars on the area of which I feel most insecure. In turn, I’m not feeling as sexy as I used to.
It feels horrible to admit (it really really does) as I’ve come so far in my “journey” to being happy with my body. I am a vocal advocate for body positivity, so it’s crushing to know that I currently don’t have entirely positive thoughts about my own body. Even though I am aware that my feelings are side effects of how body-image is represented in society and the media, I still feel defective.
Whenever self-love or confidence is discussed, the subjects are surrounded by words like “achieving,” “becoming” and “building,” like being comfortable with oneself has only one direction: forwards. Self-acceptance is presented as a destination.
But setbacks, in general, are a part of life and happen to often not to be talked about, especially in relation to loving yourself fully. Everyone, no matter who and how confident, experiences periods where they are not feeling 100% satisfied with themselves.
We need to accept that it’s okay to doubt ourselves. Instead of adding more fuel to the self-loathing fire, our energy should be focused on healing when a bump knocks us down.
Self-care should be exercised as a daily ritual so that when bumps come along, we have the experience to deal with our lack of confidence. So take some cute selfies, draw a bath, or make yourself feel beautiful in whatever way(s) work for you.
Perform self-care whenever you can because self-love is not a destination, it’s an active practice.