It can be hard to maintain a positive attitude about your body image when you look nothing like the girls on television, but nothing has ruined my self-esteem more than my first real boyfriend.
I had always been a confident child growing up. I was the only girl amongst four strong-headed brothers, I was not scared to speak my mind, and I never really cared about my body image. Well, not until I started dating.
I was 17 and he was 19. He was my first love, and by far the unhealthiest relationship I have ever had. He was verbally abusive, constantly comparing me to other woman, and would judge me from head to toe. He was unfaithful, making me extremely insecure and jealous.
I had transformed from this over-confident child to a completely insecure girl. I had never felt so small or vulnerable. I hated my body and never felt good enough for him. I needed his approval more then I cared about my own self-respect. If he didn’t like whatever spunky outfit I had on, I’d immediately go change it, which was a nightmare to my fragile ego.
People would ask me why I had stayed with him for so long (three years), and it’s because I honestly believed every horrible thing he would tell me. I was young, naïve, and afraid to lose him.
Finally, after leaving that relationship I made myself a promise: I would never allow anyone to determine how I felt about my own body. I still struggle to believe men when they say nice things to me, after being with someone who destroyed my self-esteem. But I have learned to accept myself for who I am.
If I want to wear a crazy hat (like the one Jessie wore in Toy Story 2), or have seconds or thirds (or sevenths of cheesecake), I will.
It was one of the most liberating things I had ever done. Not only do I have a newfound respect for myself, I have also set a standard for what I would allow in any of my future relationships.
Being with someone should not be a chore, nor should they ever put you down. I am more confident now then ever before and I will never again find myself in a relationship where I can’t be myself