The saying can’t be true enough that ‘”you are your own worst enemy“. You can also be your harshest critic. Body confidence is one of those things where negative thoughts can get trapped too easily. Your inner voice turns against you and now you’re stuck in your own negative thoughts. You focus on parts of your body you don’t like. Body flaws that you believe you need to change. It’s emotionally draining, it feels like a constant attack on your self worth and self esteem. You’ve let yourself get the better of you and insecurities have gone into overdrive. It’s a downward spiral. That might sound far fetched but for some it isn’t far from reality. Maybe not all the time but every now and again it can creep up on you…sometimes it creeps up on me too.
For me, my biggest flaw was my belly. I never liked how it looked. It stuck out, it has rolls, it’s jiggly! I’m probably still scarred from when hipster jeans were a thing growing up too and this only accentuated my dreaded ‘muffin top’. When I was younger, I was the type of person who would go to a friend’s house, sit on their couch and use a pillow to carefully cover my belly to hide my rolls. Fast forward years later when I had to confront those same rolls again starting back at me front and centre. I recently did a lingerie ‘Angels’ photoshoot, and that’s when my insecurities came creeping back at me. They had laid dormant for the longest time. I didn’t think I had problem with my body, I accepted it was mine.
But when it came to look back at the photo results for the first time, all I could see was those rolls, I wanted them hidden. I even asked Linda Blacker, the photographer if they could be hidden, ever so slightly. When I started asking people what they thought about the lingerie photoshoot I participated in, whilst I focused on the worse part of my body – my belly, they didn’t reduce me as a person to my rolls, but saw the beauty in the whole photo. It made me realise, maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought. As humans we seem to nitpick on what isn’t perfect. We can all blame the media trying to use advertising to appeal to our self esteem to sell products, and portraying women and men who have been airbrushed to perfection, peer pressure from our families, and ultimately ourselves.
But the thing is, no one is perfect. Being bombarded by social media, billboards and magazine covers of perfectly retouched humans can get too much. And the lines between what is real and what isn’t are blurred. Until we realise this, attaining perfection will always be an ongoing struggle.
So how did I pick myself up from this? How did I find my confidence? I really listened in to my insecurities and tried to dissect why I was feeling the way I did. And the way I found my confidence, was just by owning it. I looked at the photo of me again, and saw my flaws, this time with a different mindset. It was almost freeing. I didn’t mind that my belly was so exposed for all the world to see because this was me, my truest version of me and I’m proud of it. Because it doesn’t change who I am, I am not a lesser person because of it. I am reclaiming my power. Confidence is a state of mind. It’s how you think, and it’s how you feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I still sometimes have my bad days where I don’t feel quite myself. But it’s that thought process where you try to understand your feelings that helps. Change that mindset to be your own cheerleader, be your own best friend. Instead of focusing on your flaws, focus on your strengths, what you love about your body, and stop being so hard on yourself. Because that’s what confidence is, accepting yourself as you are and believing in you.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.