Things I’ve Had to Realize to Overcome My Insecurities

Things I’ve Had to Realize to Overcome My Insecurities

For as long as I can remember, there have been aspects of myself that I’ve hated. I know hate is a strong word, which is exactly why I used it. I hated so many parts of myself and was so ashamed of so many things that made up who I was, so much so that it stopped me from dressing the way I wanted, trying new things, and putting myself out there overall. As I got older, I decided that I had to stop letting my insecurities dictate the way I lived my life. It’s important to remember that no one will ever be flawless, but here are some of the ways I was able to take control of my insecurities and live the life I wanted.

Overcoming Your Insecurities

One of the most important things I’ve had to teach myself is that being skinny and being happy aren’t correlated. All throughout high school, I wanted to be skinny so that boys would like me and so I wouldn’t feel insecure when I hung out with smaller friends, not because I cared about my health or wanted my body to function at it’s best. My desire to be skinny was so debilitating that instead of realizing the fun I could have been having with my friends who loved me regardless of how much I weighed, I was always stuck obsessing over my body. I told myself that if I lost X amount of weight it would solve my problems and I’d be happier. The thing is though, some of the smallest people I know are still riddled with insecurity. No matter what your size is, there will still be challenges and things will still come up within yourself that you don’t like. As a woman, body image has been an extremely tricky thing for me to try to be comfortable with since we’re taught that the way we look is more important than the type of people that we are. Like I said, a huge part of me wanting to be thinner was because I thought it would make boys like me.

Of course it’s important to have a healthy, functional body but unless your mind is in the right place and the reasoning behind your weight loss is healthy, it won’t matter what your body looks like because whether you weigh 85 or 800 pounds, you won’t ever be satisfied. Losing weight and changing your appearance to appeal to other people can be incredibly damaging because you won’t ever be able to appeal to everyone. Everyone’s perception of what’s desirable is different, and no one, no matter how small or beautiful you think they are, will ever be the person everyone wants. Being surrounded in people who think you’re beautiful won’t matter and will not make you any happier if you don’t feel it too. (Also, I don’t even think I have to say this but just in case you’ve forgotten, you are so much more than a body and you are worth love and appreciation no matter what you look like).

If you want to look a certain way or accomplish a specific thing, you have to want to do it for yourself. 200It’s easy to want to change yourself to fit in more or to be accepted by people in your circle but when no one else is around, you’re stuck with yourself at the end of the day. It’s great if all your peers accept you but it doesn’t really mean much if you haven’t accepted yourself. Learning to accept the body you were born into and the person you are is crucial to overcoming your insecurities, despite how hard it can be. A big thing for me was coming to terms with the fact that I’m not perfect, and that that’s okay. We’re all human and we’re all flawed which means we all make mistakes, but what’s important is that you’re able to forgive yourself for them. Forgiving myself for mistakes I’ve made both in hurting myself and other people has been a really hard thing but it’s what has helped me to remove any resentment I had towards myself and to accept that even though there are parts of myself I don’t like, I’m still worth loving. Like I said, we’re all human and we all make mistakes, so be kind to yourself.

Sometimes when I have a hard time seeing the good in myself amongst all my flaws, I compare my relationship with myself to a romantic relationship. In relationships, your partner is bound to make mistakes and it’s inevitable that there will be parts of them that you don’t love. One of the most important things in a healthy relationship though is loving your partner beyond the flaws they have. 635705050215510466-1495620514_love-yourselfYou’d never spend time picking apart your loved one for their flaws, instead you’d celebrate all the other amazing parts of them. Becoming comfortable with yourself and accepting the person you are is about loving yourself beyond your flaws and celebrating all the amazing parts of yourself, the same way you would in a romantic relationship. Another cliche, but your flaws contribute to the person you are and the good parts of you wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for your flaws.

Gaining Confidence

I’ve been trying to put myself out there and do things that scare me and as uncomfortable as it’s been, it’s helped me to gain a lot of confidence. Believing in yourself can be a big leap of faith but when you trust your abilities and do the things that scare you, you’re giving yourself a vote of confidence. Vulnerability is terrifying but what’s important to remember is that when your biggest fears are realized, you have nothing left to be scared of. Realizing I have nothing to be scared of has made me see how unstoppable I am. Obviously getting to a place where I’m able to subside my anxieties and do things that scare me has taken a lot of work, and it’s okay to take baby steps. Whether that means you wear clothes you normally wouldn’t or you talk to someone who intimidates you or take a work opportunity that’s out of your comfort zone, baby steps are still steps and any progress is progress regardless of how small it may seem.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that being confident is okay. Of course humility is important too, but acknowledging your accomplishments and celebrating yourself is equally as important. tumblr_oq78zuigmU1wo45z6o1_500Getting to a point where you’re able to love and accept yourself, flaws and all, is a huge thing that deserves self-recognition. Celebrate your successes, whether they’re big or small. Something with myself that I noticed was that I wasn’t ever giving myself the credit I deserved for getting through tough things. Being honest with yourself about how hard some of the things you’ve accomplished have been and letting yourself be proud of yourself is a great way to celebrate how strong and resilient you are. When you reflect on how much you’ve accomplished, it can help you to see how far you’ve come and how much more you can do; once you’re out of your own way, you can do anything.

Take Care of Yourself!

I can not stress how important self care has been for me. I know people tend to make fun of it, but being able to listen to what you need can make a huge difference in your happiness. Self care is something that’s really individual, so what will help you to take care of yourself will be different from what helps someone else. You have to listen to your body and your mind and to what you need. Self care can be anything that helps you to feel okay and part of that is sometimes needing to be selfish, and knowing that it’s okay to do so. I had a hard time understanding that being selfish doesn’t make me a bad person, but what helped me to be okay with it was deciding that I was important enough and worth being taken care of. Putting your own needs above the needs of others can be conflicting but you can never be in a position to take care of anyone else if you’re not taken care of first.

Yes, it’s important to get outside of your comfort zone and to do things that scare you, but be realistic with yourself and take things at a pace that works for you. Like I said, baby steps are still steps. Not every day will be easy, and things will shake your confidence from time to time. There are days still when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, and times where I struggle knowing how many mistakes I’ve made even though I’ve come so far from them. It’s okay to have times where you don’t feel confident, and it’s important to be kind to yourself during those times. Having bad days is part of life and it’s okay to need to reassure yourself and take a step back before you feel 100% again. Don’t force yourself to do anything that’s beyond your means.

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Is Your Friendship Toxic?

Is Your Friendship Toxic?

How to tell if your friendship is toxic, what to do to fix it, and how to know if you’re the problem. 

How to Tell If Your Friendship is Unhealthy

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell when a friend has made you compromise yourself. Other times though, it’s hard to recognize that a big relationship in your life isn’t good for you. In my experience, I’ve been able to tell by how the person I’m friends with makes me feel about myself. Do I like myself when I’m with this person? Am I being true to the person I am? Do I act different when I’m with this person? Does this person make me feel insecure or judged? It can be difficult to ask yourself those questions and come to terms with the answers if you love the friend in question. But like romantic relationships, sometimes love is not enough of a reason to maintain a friendship.

A toxic friendship will often control your life in ways that are not as obvious as the way a toxic relationship would, so they will often go under the radar. Here's How To Recognize A Toxic Friend!For example, your friend may get mad at you for not replying to their texts (within reason), or get angry when you have something come up and have to cancel plans, or make plans with another friend. Taking care of yourself sometimes means visiting an old friend, spending a night in with a glass of wine by yourself, or shutting your phone off for a night and catching up on some reading. It can come off as charming that a friend likes you so much that they want you all your time to themselves, but don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself first.

Opposite of that though, sometimes a toxic friend doesn’t take up any of your time at all. We have all had a flaky friend, but when does it become too much? An important marker of a good friend is reliability. If you are going through something tough, like a breakup or the loss of a loved one, you should be able to count on your friend to be there for support. If you are in need of a shoulder to cry on and your friend is no where to be found, it can be a red flag; especially if it has happened more than once. Sometimes this may be a sign that you and your life are not a priority to that friend anymore. You are important and your friend should never cause you to question that. It can be tough to tell why a friend is being distant though, because taking a step back can also mean they are going through something themselves. If your friend isn’t normally distant but has become flaky, make sure their distance isn’t because they are going through something themselves before you think of planning your friend breakup.

If you often hear things like “Ew, you’re wearing that?” Or “You want to go there? That place is for losers!” From your friend, it can be a clear sign that they are judgemental. A friend who judges you relentlessly is disrespecting your values, taste, and other aspects that make you, you! Friendships are founded on mutual respect, and if your friend doesn’t respect the person that you are it’s probably time to show them the door. It’s important to have people in our lives who challenge us as they can be extremely helpful. Your friends should want to criticize you and help you to become your best self, but there is a fine line between constructive criticism and imposing their values and wants onto you. Be open to the criticism your friend is giving you, but know when it’s going too far. Feeling comfortable in your skin is an extremely important thing, especially around your close friends.

mean-girlsAre you partying more than what’s healthy? Are you interacting with people who you shouldn’t be? A big sign of a toxic friendship is if you have recently started doing things you wouldn’t normally. In the past, I have had friends who have gotten me into drinking significantly more than I should have, more often than I should have. If your friend is getting you to do things you wouldn’t normally do if they weren’t present, maybe it is time to take a step back. Some friends will encourage you to do things you wouldn’t normally do that are positive as well, like working out or eating healthier, so just make sure what your friend is encouraging you to do isn’t compromising who you are.

Finally, if you are really unsure of your friendship, ask other people in your circle. Avoid talking badly about your friend of course, but ask people in your life if they have noticed any changes since the addition of that friend into your life. Sometimes when we care about someone, we can become blind to the effect they have on us and our lives. The people around us though will not be blind to those effects, so if you’re worried about a friendship, ask your close family members or other friends if they have noticed any concerning changes since you’ve become friends with the person in question.

How to Fix a Friendship That’s Toxic

Sometimes, a friend may have a negative effect on your life without ever knowing it. If your friend is going through a hard time as previously stated, it can make them distant. 95% of the time, your friend is not trying to hurt you by being clingy, distant or getting you to hit the bar with them three nights a week. When you realize that any of those things are not healthy for you though, it’s up to you if you’d like to proceed with the friendship or not. Some of my favourite friendships have been toxic, so I know first hand that it can be extremely hard to cut them off cold turkey. If you decide you’d like to keep your friend around but aren’t comfortable with some of the dynamics of the friendship, the easiest thing you can do is talk to your friend about the way you’ve been feeling. 1Like I said, most of the time your friend is not trying to hurt you and they may not have even noticed that the way they’ve been acting isn’t good for your friendship. Be sure to address your friend in a way that isn’t throwing their mistakes in their face, but in a way that makes it clear that you want the best for both of you and your friendship. If they know that you care about the friendship you two have and want it to be the healthiest it can be, they will most likely agree to work on things with you.

This can be complicated because you can’t ask people to change who they are, so be sure what you’ve asked is reasonable, i.e. Please respect my alone time and other friendships,  can we hangout without drinking as often? You can’t expect mountains to move overnight, so again be sure your criticisms/requests are reasonable and that you’re giving things time to work out. Once you have given things time to change but everything has remained the same, it may be time to consider taking a step back from the friendship. When you tell someone what you need from them and they don’t make any effort to take any of it into consideration, it can make you feel unimportant and like they don’t care about you in the way you need them to. Unfortunately, a lot of the time it does mean they do care a lot less, and I can definitely say from experience that trying to maintain a friendship with someone who has stopped caring is like beating a dead horse. It can be hard to let go of something that was once a huge part of your life, but it will do you more harm than good keep something toxic, even with all the good memories it may have attached to it. If you have gotten to this point, have that conversation with your friend. Explain that the friendship has gotten past a point of repair for you, that you wish them the best, and move forward. After you’ve grieved the loss, it will feel like a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. And yes, it’s okay to miss someone even if they were toxic. Just remember that missing someone doesn’t mean that they should have a place in your life again.

What if I’m the Problem?

Sometimes, we are the toxic friend we’re worried about having. If you’re being too dependent on your friend, or could stand to be more accepting and supportive, you could be the reason your friendship is crumbling before your eyes. It takes a large deal of self-acceptance to be able to take a step back and edit yourself, so I promise if you’re at the point where you’re able to see your own faults, you are not a bad person. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and neglect friendships that are important to us. If you have recognized this within yourself, the first thing you should do is ask yourself why you’ve been acting this way.

If it’s because it’s been a busy period at work or you’ve had to give more to other parts of your life, explain that to your friend. Admitting that you have messed up takes a great deal of humility, and swallowing your pride for someone can show that you care. If the friendship is something you’d like to keep in your life, work on the things you’re doing to make the friendship toxic. If you’ve been relying on your friend too heavily, consider seeking a different outlet, and don’t forget that your friends didn’t enter your life to be your personal Dr. Phil. It’s important to remind friends ever so often that even though sometimes life pulls you in opposite directions, you still love and care for them. Don’t forget that even though you didn’t mean to, your toxic behaviour may have hurt your friend and they may need space before they jump back into hanging out with you again. Once you’ve given things time and have gotten to a better place with your friend, offer to take them to their favourite coffee shop or plan a wine night for you two to catch up.

If you’ve noticed you’ve been neglecting friendships and it’s not because of work or other normal issues, it may be time to ask yourself if you’re in a position to be the friend you want to be. Sometimes, when we’re dealing with personal issues, like mental or physical illnesses, it can make it hard for us to focus on anyone outside of ourselves. Like I stated previously in this post, we have to take care of ourselves first. Sometimes taking care of yourself means that you need to take a step back from friendships to focus on recovering so that you can be in a place where you’re ready to be a friend again. If this is the case for you, be honest with your friend about what you’ve been going through. It’s not bad, and is often helpful to take a break from friendships when they’ve gotten to this point. If  you need to, and if it’s okay with your friend, plan to revisit the friendship when you’re in a better position to the be the friend you want to be.