An open letter to all women, you need to read this…

85%.

The number of women saying they ‘opt out of important life activities, such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones, when they don’t feel good about the way they look.

7/10.

The number of girls with low body esteem who say they won’t be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision if they aren’t happy with the way they look.

9/10.

The number of women who will stop themselves from eating or will otherwise put their health at risk.

8/10.

The number of both women and girls who feel some pressure to never make mistakes or show weakness.

I recently read these statistics in the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report and was reduced to tears. I have no doubt that you will all agree, that these statistics are just so not ok.

hate

In 2016, to hear that women are holding themselves back from loved ones or stopping themselves from eating is not ok.

To also hear we’re then raising a generation of younger girls who are loosing their voice, all because they don’t feel good about themselves … is not ok.

It’s especially not ok to hear that 8/10 women and girls alike think they have to be perfect, that they can’t make mistakes or heaven forbid show weakness.

I stand here today to that whilst I have a beating heart, I will not let these statistics get any worse.

And I get it.

It’s all good and well for me to sit at my computer and write-up statistics and say they’re not ok, but what am I actually going to DO about it.

Well here’s the thing.

I believe the best way to combat women self-esteem issues, is to be a woman with HIGH self-esteem.

I believe the best way to show women how to truly love themselves, ALL of themselves, even their self perceived flaws – is to be a woman who truly does love herself, ALL of herself, even all of her self perceived flaws.

And I do.

I believe the best way to show women they DO NOT have to be perfect and it’s ok to be vulnerable and show weakness when it comes up, is to be a woman who IS NOT perfect and who shows up in life vulnerably and bares her weaknesses.

And I hope that I do that well too.

You might think that I live a bold and out there public life. And you’d be right. I do. And maybe now for those that have ever questioned it might start to understand it’s for good reason.

Because I realise that I have a LOT of work to do in this world, and I can’t do it whilst shutting up, letting statistics of women’s self-worth and worthiness get worse and worse – all the while being too scared to speak up to piss someone off or be misunderstood by haters. Fuck. THAT.

I am a woman who has worked HARD on herself. Extremely hard on herself.

I am a woman who has accepted that that work will never be done though, and personal development and self-love is a daily practice. I am a woman who has recognised however being on that journey, I still need to love myself through the process, every step of the way.

I am a woman who has fallen in love with her broken parts. The pain parts. The weak parts of herself that instead of shutting off from the world, I SHARE with the world.

I am a woman who see’s her flaws as unique, not something that has to be ‘fixed’ constantly.

I am a woman who has fallen in love with her perfectly imperfect self – and has a VOICE about that.

I am a woman not part of the 85% statistic who opt out of important life activities.

I am a woman not part of the 7/10 girls who don’t voice their opinion because of low self-esteem.

I am absolutely not one of the 9/10 women who stop themselves from eating due to low body confidence.

And I am especially not one of the 8/10 women who think they have to be perfect and never show weakness.

And I am PROUD of that.

beautiful

I refuse to live in a world where women have such low self-esteem and confidence that they take themselves out of living their boldest, grandest and brightest life.

You do not have to fit a particular mold of beautiful ladies.

You do not have to be a certain size or colour or age to BE beautiful ladies.

Exactly who you are, exactly how you are, is exactly who you’re meant to be.

We have GOT to stop looking to Instagram, and Facebook and tv’s and magazines to tell us what we’re meant to look like, what clothes we should own and what we need to do to our face and body to make ourselves beautiful.

News flash.

You already ARE beautiful.

There is a quote by J.Iron Word I have on my desktop to refer to whenever I need a bit of self-love ass kicking, and it says;

“She didn’t need to be saved. She needed to be found

and appreciated for exactly who she was”.

Double News Flash.

YOU are the only person who can find yourself.

YOU are the only person who can appreciate you for exactly who YOU are.

You want to know the sexiest most beautiful thing in the world on a woman?? HAPPINESS – which leads to CONFIDENCE…which ultimately just leads to more HAPPINESS.

One thing I know for sure, is that self-esteem and self-confidence is not an external ‘thing’ that can be found, it wholly and fully comes from within.

And something else I know for sure – is no matter how low a self-esteem you have, or self-worth issues you have – I have been in that gut wrenching shitty hole too and climbed VERY far out of it, and purely stand here today FOR you as a lighthouse of possibility.

I also recognise that it’s not just going to come down to us individually to work on ourselves to grow our self-esteem and self-confidence muscle.

We as a society can absolutely do better.

It’s going to come from ALL of us. All of the time.

It’s going to come from us stopping putting ALL of the blame on media, like they’re some evil thing out to get us and rip us down at any chance they get (which is a wholeeeee other blog post on it’s own), and start realizing that media operate on supply and demand. If the demand for portrayal of perfect women and ‘perfect’ sizing wasn’t so huge, they wouldn’t push it on our televisions and in our magazines so much.

It’s going to come from men loving their girlfriends / partners / wives better.

And more importantly, girlfriends / partners and wives loving THEMSELVES better.

It’s going to come from daring acts of self-love so grand we can flip the word selfish on its head. Make selfish a GOOD thing. Make self-love a NECESSITY not a ‘I’ll get to it on the brink of breakdown or burn out”.

I get that this isn’t something that is just going to ‘switch’ over night. Of course not.

I also get that it’s not something ‘easily’ fixed – but I also don’t believe its hard.

Ladies. We need to start loving ourselves MORE and doubting ourselves LESS.

There is a whole lotta hope though and a big solution to this ‘problem’, and it came from my favourite sentence in the report which was this;

7/10 women and 8/10 girls report feeling more confident or positive when they invest time in caring for themselves, taking time to care for their minds, body and appearance.

So you see ladies, as I said above – we HAVE to start loving ourselves more, and I mean physically love ourselves more.

fall-in-love

I have yelled from the roof tops about self-care routines since I started blogging back in 2011, knowing it was in fact the very thing to have set me on a path of self-love and worth.

Darlings. It’s time to stop saying ‘I don’t have time’, between work schedules and kids, or just crazy schedules and other commitments, and start making it a priority in your every day.

There are no rules to self-love practices either. It can look like whatever it needs to look like for you.

A walk. Or maybe some meditating. Or maybe it’s Journaling or sunrise and sunset beach sprints. Maybe it’s sweaty gym sessions or reading an uplifting book with a hot cup of jo every morning. It could be non negotiable bed times so you start getting more sleep.

It could be dry body brushing with a podcast on or long hot baths no matter what with beautiful essential oils every single night.

You see ladies, when you fill your own cup up first, you CAN step out in the world a little…fuller.

When you start to look after yourself as a matter of priority – magic can happen in your life. You start to look after yourself even better. You start to love on yourself more. You start to take care of YOU. And when you take care of YOU, self-confidence naturally rises, which turns your self-esteem UP.

Here is the other huge thing though, and something I hope you can get behind in a big way. I don’t think it comes down to just us as individuals either ladies, out there in a world that does very often try to tell us to be a certain woman we are not. It’s to remember that we are a sisterhood. As Constance Hall so beautifully refers to us – we are all Queens. So I believe, the other singular most powerful thing we can do as women on the quest of finding and growing our self-esteem and self-confidence through self-love – is hold other women in our lives accountable.

Check in. Ask the question. Make a plan with your girlfriends closest to you and hold each other accountable. Don’t let your fellow goddess go another day or week or month feeling like she doesn’t get to have the confidence she deserves to be exactly who she believes she can be.

And please just know this. That no matter where you are in your journey in trying to find yourself, to love yourself, and to gain more self-confidence – I am over here, ALWAYS… cheering you on, having your back and being a stand for you.

Love Anna,

XO

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Dove Beauty Report and statistics found here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-dove-research-finds-beauty-pressures-up-and-women-and-girls-calling-for-change-583743391.html

Images: here, here, herehere.

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