Hi guys, it's been a while. Happy Sunday! Hope you're all well :)
I just realised that I never actually posted the blog I wrote for YoungMinds in full. So, without further ado, here it is.
"When I was four days old, I was diagnosed with a rare skin condition called ‘Incontinentia Pigmenti’, or ‘IP’ for short, which comes with a lot of health complications. Luckily enough, I didn’t inherit those complications, but it did cause patterns to develop on my skin. These patterns faded over time, although that isn’t always the case for others like me. Growing up, I was bullied a lot. I was already made fun of in primary school, and when I was 13 years old, boys in my class hissed at me and body-shamed me whenever I walked into the classroom. I always stood out from the crowd and I hated that element about myself because I thought that if no one could accept and love me for who I am, then I couldn’t either. I hated the way I looked. I hated everything about myself, and because of this, I know exactly what it’s like to hate the body you were born in. And this was the darkest time of my life.
However, one day, I looked into the mirror and rather than focusing on everything I disliked, I realised how lucky I was, standing there, alive and well. And this is where everything changed. From being someone extremely insecure about my appearance, I discovered myself and turned into someone who started loving the patterns on my skin. I started to embrace my flaws because these are the things worth loving about ourselves, as they are the treasures found within us all that make us unique. I learnt how to enjoy living in the body I was born in because at the end of the day, you are going to live in this body for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not. You either come to terms with it, or go against it and suffer. Either way, it is what it is.
One habit I have adopted that has improved my body confidence is not going on social media as often. I find that social media really does a lot of damage to my self-worth and can be a drain of our self-love. We often make judgements based on people’s appearance online without knowing what they are struggling with behind closed doors. Even people you think look perfect struggle sometimes with self-confidence.
This is why during my own self-discovery, I lived life offline for six months. Even though it might seem like a short period of time, this helped me immensely with coming to terms with the way I looked, especially since I wasn’t bombarded with photos of models with the perfect bodies every day. This really prevented me from comparing my body to others’ – which again, ties into self-love. No one should be in competition against other people for the “The Ideal Body” trophy, since there is no such prize.
Once you feel an ounce of negativity about your body, it can be easy to start to overthink everything, which can lead to you wanting to change yourself in order to feel loved. Yes, by all means, change yourself for the better, but do it for you; don’t you ever think of changing yourself for other people’s liking. One person can come up to you and tell you to lose weight, while the other one tells you that you’re too skinny. Everyone has different opinions and they have different views on you. If you’re really planning on changing yourself each time someone says something different about you, wouldn’t it be so exhausting?
My task for you today is, go to a mirror, look at your body and give yourself compliments - whether they be compliments on the way you look or your personality. Anything works. Really look at yourself and realise how beautiful and blessed you truly are to have come this far, living in your beautiful body, whatever the height, weight, shape and colour. The more you say these beautiful things, the more you develop self-love and believe in it. After all, you deserve to."
YoungMinds was founded in 1993. It's a mental health charity whose main commitment and target is to improve the wellbeing and mental health of the youth around us. They are easily accessible at www.youngminds.org.uk, where you can reach out to mental health professionals, learn and enlighten yourself based on any other sorts of advice and support from other young people like you, who have battled and overcome issues that have circled mental health topics such as bullying, coping with anxiety, academic worries, advice on how to take care of yourself during times like these, the pride community, racism, etc. Hope you guys can use this time to educate yourselves on a deeper level on what's happening around us in today's society and how we can work together to improve mental health conditions for each other. This is something vital, especially during times like these when most of us aren't at our peak.