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My Story with Body Image – Abigail McDonnell

A relationship with me, myself and I

The conversation regarding self love has become a popular one. Some smirking at the idea, some faking it until they make it and some unaware that self love is even possible. Self love and acceptance is everywhere on Instagram and Twitter etc that sometimes I feel if I don’t have it nailed down by now, what am I doing wrong?

I have rambled on about my relationship with myself and my body for quite some time now. Every so often I have a revelation about myself and think ‘Wow! Actually I’m good the way I am’ and then return to an unpleasant uncomfortableness within myself.

Abigail McDonnell

This has been an on and off theme with me, some days I am so content within myself and love the way I look and act. Other days it is the complete opposite. I’m sure this might be the same for a lot of people but the ups and downs of it all really got to me. Why can’t I just STAY happy within my body?

I think this has been something that I have realised about myself and my body, it really IS a relationship. Sometimes things will be up, sometimes things will be down. But nothing is permanent. With relationships, you have to put the work in. You can’t expect your relationship with yourself to improve if you haven’t changed how you interact with yourself. I sometimes get down because I have a bad body image day, but it’s important to remember that just like a relationship, everything is temporary. My mood will change and my body will change and my feelings about myself will too!

The one thing I have been focusing on a lot lately is the way I actually talk or think about myself. If you write down everytime you talk negatively about yourself, you would be so surprised. Think about every small thought you have when you look in the mirror, or when you meet other people or when you receive a compliment.

In Ireland, I especially find we have a culture of being overly modest to an extent that we would rather insult and hate ourselves rather than accept a compliment or think highly of ourselves. This culture is so damaging.

If we don’t start to think highly of ourselves, we start to believe every bad thing we think of ourselves and project that.

I started to call myself out aloud when I would say throwaway comments about myself. It’s something small but it’s a start. It’s a start to creating a healthier, less temperamental relationship withbody image your body. Literally saying out loud ‘Actually no, Abigail. You don’t mean that.’ It sounds silly, but it gets you into a rhythm of avoiding negative self talk. Talking negatively about yourself no doubt has a negative effect on you. Think about how people say that we are supposed to talk positively to our plants! It helps them grow better and stronger. Why should we not take that same approach about ourselves?

Another thing I really struggle with is comparing myself to others. Obviously a lot of people can relate to this but I have found it has really been exaggerated for me during the Summer season. Seeing other people in bikinis and swimwear and picking out every part about myself that is different can be torture. Especially suffering from anxiety, these feelings are only amplified. Rumination and overthinking and catastrophizing to the point where I think no one will ever even like me!

And no I haven’t mastered the art of not caring just yet but I’m working on it. I try to remind myself how unbelievably boring life would be if we all looked the same. Think of all the little quirks your friends have, how beautiful they are in your eyes, the same always applies to you! Everyone has their insecurities and the funny thing is, when someone opens up about their insecurities; the response is usually ‘But I love that part of you!!!’. We tend to see the worst in ourselves, instead of the best. I am always shocked when my friends tell me their insecurities because I can never imagine feeling self conscious if I looked like them. Because we are different, we are beautiful.

By avoiding that negative self-talk, we can make progress in creating a better relationship with ourselves.

Prioritising self love and appreciation may seem trivial to some, but I think it is of the utmost importance. You will always have yourself, you will carry yourself through this life, why shouldn’t you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself?

I don’t have all the answers but I do know I will continue to work on this relationship day by day in the hopes to become the best one possible.

Be kind to yourself and your body and you and your body will be kind to you.

If you would like to work on your body image or body confidence through therapy, you can book a sessions with us by calling 01 611 1719 or by emailing [email protected]

These stories are not treatment advice. Every story is unique and the writers speak only for themselves, including what worked or didn’t work for them. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you are concerned about symptoms you experience or if you would like to explore different treatment option.

By Abigail McDonnell Content Professional, Mental Health Advocate and Ambassador for See Change 

 

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