One tends to immediately associate the concept of self-confidence with one’s appearance. In my eyes, it can come from many other things. I’ve often felt a lack of self-confidence due to my mental health, especially during my third year at university. As a woman who struggles with depression and anxiety, my self-esteem has been pulled down numerous times. While I wasn’t too upset with the way I looked, the way I felt internally affected my self-perception, as well as how I let others perceive me. My biggest struggle was dealing with self-hate – many times, my mental health got in the way and I pushed myself further and further down. Teaching myself about self-love and self-worth was incredibly difficult when I saw myself as my biggest enemy.
With that in mind, there have also been many moments where I haven’t been happy with the way I looked. Growing up, I was on the curvier side and was compared to my sister who was slimmer than me. I struggled with my weight as South Asian culture stresses that a slim woman is a beautiful one. Something as simple as wearing a bikini gave me a lot of anxiety – I was afraid of the way people would look at me. It took me so much time to accept my body and my weight the way it is, and I’m still learning, but I’m come so far.
To all the girls who are struggling with weight issues or depression and anxiety, just know that you are not alone. It’s so important to realize that beauty comes in various shapes and sizes and that your weight doesn’t determine your self worth. Skinny is beautiful. Curvy is beautiful. Your body is beautiful. It’s the only one you have. Embrace it. Learn from it. Take care of it. Not only your body, but your mind too. Please be gentle with yourself, support yourself, and love yourself. The most important love is the one that comes from within.
Smrithi is from California, grew up in Cincinnati and studies Psychology at the University of Cincinnati.