Put Your Best Face Forward

Put your best face forward. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. First impressions are crucial to potential connections. If a first impression doesn’t come up to par, then there’s a good chance you won’t be seeing those people again.

As a child, I was aware of the stress put on appearances. My understanding was that what you showed people, ultimately summed up what you want people to know about you. Physical appearances matter, to an extent. But for little prepubescent and adolescent me, I did not like anything about my physical appearance.

The self hate became a huge negative impact, and it created obstacles in my everyday life. For much of my childhood, I hated leaving the house because that meant people would see my face; they would see me. Meanwhile, no one had any idea that this was the internal battle I was facing. I would wear the wildest printed tights under jean shorts with an even wilder printed top. People assumed that this call for attention was because of self-assurance and confidence… on the contrary, it was to draw attention away from the parts of my body that I didn’t like.

I hit that awkward stage hard. Yet, I tried to fight through it with positive affirmations. I would stare in the mirror repeatedly while thinking positive thoughts targeting a certain body part until I could normalize it. When I learned to accept one part of my body, the focus of hate became another.

Eventually it got to the point where I could leave the house and not focus on worrying about people looking at me. I no longer obsessed with how I would look to other people. Although I can presently leave the house comfortably, I still obsess over nervous ticks. I still need constant self-validation, and I fixate on observing my reflection. It is an endless cycle of hateful thoughts filling my mind and attempting to replace them with positive thoughts through observation. At some point the switch in thinking becomes successful, but it always goes full circle.

In my experience, positive thoughts and self-affirmation became the foundation for my journey in achieving a healthy body image. In the end, I needed a larger influence to change my mental process. I thought that if I started living a wholesome, beneficial lifestyle, I’d be surrounding myself with positive influences. Although I am aware that I have no concept of how I look, I decided to change perspectives. I no longer wanted to fixate on my appearance, but rather on what I’m providing my body and mind.

This is my experience,
Yours truly,
Shayla

 

 

 

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