Some friends were talking about whether we feel attractive or not. One friend said she had a
core belief from childhood that she was ugly and awkward. Now, as an adult, she still absolutely believes it. Another friend said she couldn't relate, as her mother always told her that she was beautiful. We talked about how whether now, as independant adults, we feel 'pretty' and 'beautiful'.
It got me thinking, how do I feel?
I'm a self professed selfie addict. An actress. Never in my life have I shied away from a camera. I've modelled, acted and entertained: on stage, on TV, film, catwalk, photographic. I wear makeup every day, dress as best as I can with the clothes I have and the weight I am. I do the whole girly hair and makeup thing for big events. I smile, I appear confident, I obviously respect and care enough about my body to try to lose weight.
I must have a pretty healthy confidence about myself, hey?
I am fat and ugly and I am a pig.
Why do I say this? Because truly, on the inside, at my core, I believe this.
Don't feel all sorry for me and tell me I'm not. This is just something I believe. This is the light bulb moment I had this afternoon. I've been called fat, ugly and a pig so often, and have told myself this as well, that it is now a firm belief.
Yeah, it is pretty sad, I know.
But what we chatted about today, is how do we change this? When the belief is so ingrained in us?
I'm not 14 anymore so don't draw fat/ugly/pig picture of myself in my diary with arrows pointing out my fat/ugly/pig bits and angst-y entries scribbled across the page: "I am fat and ugly". I don't dwell on it, in fact, I don't even think about it. It's just a belief. I go to work, I rehearse, I sleep, I eat, I socialise, I train, I'm fat, ugly, and a pig. It's just there, underneath, just a part of me. I don't tell myself this bad stuff anymore. I just know it. Because I was told it so often.
They say you are what you eat, well yeah maybe, but even moreso, you are what you are told. And this doesn't have to be someone saying this stuff to you, we are more than capable ourselves of instilling beliefs.
A few years back, one of my friends started calling her little daughter "Piggy". It was a term of endearment - she ate a lot and my friend thought it was cute. But I was horrified and tried to suggest that she doesn't. Because I don't think everyone realises just how much words can impact, for long after the fact.
Sticks and stones and all that.
My friend from this afternoon said something really smart, and I asked if I could quote her:
"It made me realise that beauty is how you feel about yourself. If you think you are some way, that is how you will carry yourself in this world - regardless of how your actually look on the outside. You will shrink and the things that you don't like about yourself will get less attention. So by thinking your ugly you will actually make yourself ugly. You will not be kind to yourself or your body. You will choose clothing to cover up rather than accentuate your body."
Smart woman, my friend, hey.
It makes me wonder how much I have limited myself because of this belief I just happen to have. I don't ever think about it, it's so ingrained that I just know it.
I don't have any answers here, and I don't know how to fix it. But maybe my friend is right. Maybe if we start to think differently, we will believe differently. Well I know that is true, but maybe it would work for this. Like the whole "If you believe you can or if you believe you can't, you are right" type of thing. Like 'fake it till you make it.' Like the new Dove commercial. Like the experiment of the water jars, where the one labelled as 'ugly' goes brown, while the 'beautiful' one, stays gorgeous and clear.
It's food for thought, if anything.
And as much as I truly mean that it doesn't affect me, maybe it should be a bit of food for action for myself as well.