Over the past year, I decided to become the most confident version of myself.
After a traumatic break up, I felt completely rejected and vulnerable. I had my time to mourn until I decided, enough self-loathing, and I set out on a journey toward confidence and loving myself.
This didn’t happen overnight. Distressing memories and insecurities about my personality and appearance kept haunting my thoughts. I used alcohol as an escape, sometimes drinking even to the point of blacking out. I would spend the next day hungover in bed, sick to my stomach from partying too much.
I had to take a hard look at myself and recognize my self-destructive behavior.
In March, I took a trip to India that changed my life. There, I spent time with people who treated health and fitness as a priority. They introduced me to a workout program called Insanity Max 30 with Shaun T. The program pushes you beyond your max with a combination of intense exercises like push ups, lunges, squats, and burpees.
I thought after years of running, I was in shape: NOPE. I remember those first days doing Insanity, when I could barely do a few push ups. But I kept trying, and over time, I felt myself getting stronger physically and mentally. After a few weeks, I could easily complete the exercises that I could barely finish at the beginning. Not to mention, I started to feel, and look, really good.
The amazing results gave me the motivation to dedicate myself even more to fitness. I started working out 5 or 6 times a week because it felt good. I drank less so I could feel good the next day for my workout. I developed a more positive outlook. After all, it takes a lot of mental determination to push yourself beyond what you think you can do.
The change made me face the truth about myself. While I’ve always worked out, my main focus had always been to look better. I didn’t see the full picture. You can’t look and feel better while simultaneously drinking yourself into oblivion every weekend.
The way we treat our bodies is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves.
My drinking habits reflected my willingness to destroy my own body, and I wouldn’t heal properly unless I started to treat myself with care through a healthier lifestyle.
I realized the point of it all. Fitness isn’t just about looking good. It’s a state of mind. A healthy lifestyle should be the opposite of self-destruction.
Rather than focusing on what people think about your appearance, instead focus on how you perceive yourself. Do you engage in self-destructive behaviors like drugs or drinking to escape and feel better? Do you starve yourself or force yourself to throw up to give yourself a false sense of control? Do you overeat when you feel upset?
I have yet to meet a woman who hasn’t struggled with body image. We compare ourselves to the women we see around us or in the media because we’ve been raised to view each other as competition. We hate the women we perceive as more beautiful. We put ourselves down. This comes from our own insecurities as well as the social norms of sexual attractiveness imposed on us.
We have the power to change that, and it starts by looking within ourselves. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we no longer need to attain standards laid out by others, whether by celebrities, magazines, movies, parents, men, or whatever.
I set out a year ago with the intention of becoming the most confident version of myself. Along the way, I found fitness served as a tool to achieve that goal. Not only did I look better, but I was able to confront and take control of my self-destructive behaviors.
While, I still have work to do, I recognize habits that feed my insecurity. Each day I remind myself to love and accept the person that I am. I practice health by eating right and pushing myself to become stronger through exercise. I remind myself that I am a warrior and a survivor of the obstacles thrown at me.
The key is to accept ourselves for who we are today. Each day we must care for our mind and body with healthy habits while also pushing to become the best version of ourselves.
In this way, you will express your individual beauty, not based on the expectations of others, but rather as an expression of self-acceptance and loving yourself. We are not all the same, and that uniqueness is what makes us beautiful. In turn, we can share that positive energy and inspire others around us to shine.
Ready to make some moves to be your most confident self, like Allie? Read this lil piece of positive to get you shining right now.