Louise Dunn is a lifestyle blogger from Edinburgh who is writing a guest blog for the Be Real Campaign this month. Louise is an avid campaigner for the Body Positive movement. Here at Be Real HQ we are excited to share this piece with you and hear your thoughts following what our Be Real guest blogger has shared this month.
Having recently turned 30 it has got me thinking about my teenage years. So when the opportunity to work with the Be Real Campaign presented itself, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. Every teenager needs a role model and I have decided to be my own - by writing a letter to my younger self. I hope this can act as a piece of advice and offer some reassurance to anybody who reads this blog.
So, here it goes!
Louise, this is you now. You're 30 years old. You made it through. I’m not going to lie - it wasn’t easy, but here you're: in one piece! There are a few things I now know that I want to share with you to help you along your way.
Never change who you are, for anybody
Don’t ever feel like you need to lie to make people like you or to impress them. If somebody doesn’t like you then it’s their problem. Move on. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s honestly not the end of the world.
Being popular or cool doesn’t matter, especially if you're trying to achieve these things by pretending to be somebody you are not. You don’t need to impress those boys and girls who are saying horrible things to you. The ones who are pushing your chair, pretending you are too heavy for them to move, and calling you fat. The group of friends you have now love you for you, and you must be doing something right because they are all still in your life today.
Love who you are - always
I am so proud of you for dyeing your hair bright pink, without feeling that you had to change it for anybody. You didn’t listen to anybody who called you horrible names, to try and change you, to try and stop you growing. All they wanted to do is hold you back. The names they called you just made you the woman you are today, and let you hold your pink head of hair up high!
You know those girls who are making fun of you for having bushy eyebrows because your mum won’t let you pluck them? Well, let me tell you something it didn’t matter then and I can tell you with gusto it does not matter now!
You are unique and that is the most amazing thing in the world. Looking back, the girls, and guys, you were jealous of for being 'perfect' ... turns out they felt the same way about someone else too. As a young person you will spend so long comparing yourself to other people, trying to fit in, that you don't realise how truly wonderful you are. My advice to you is to accept and learn to love yourself. You will be so much happier the moment you stop comparing yourself and letting self-doubt and judgement grind you down.
Louise, your body is amazing because it’s yours. Don’t let anybody make you think otherwise! Don’t feel like you need to hide yourself away in baggy tops or jeans that are far too big. Embrace the real you! Be brave enough to be her; I promise you that it feels amazing! There is no better feeling than knowing you are loved for being yourself. You will find your style, what works best for you and stick with it. You don’t have to follow trends and what everybody else is wearing. Stick to what you feel most confident in. If you want to wear something, wear it. Remember, Mum is right when she tells you things like, "Your clothes suit the wearer, not the starer”! Let your beauty and happiness shine through. When you look back at old photos, the first thing you will notice is how happy you are.
Please don’t sit and cry before you go for a night out or because you don’t think you are as pretty as your friends. Thinking you look fat is not worth your tears. Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you have a pretty face but your body lets you down. The minute you learn to love yourself for who you are will make you so happy. I’ll be honest: it won’t be quick and it won’t be easy. You and your body will have a love/hate relationship for many years to come, but I promise you, you will end up in a good place.
Recognise that beauty, strength and well-being comes in all shapes and sizes.
Take care of your health, of course, but don’t let striving for perfection engulf you and become who you are.
Find a balance that will help you to live the way you want, instead of trying to meet the almost impossible air-brushed standards of today. Focus on how special you are and celebrate what makes you individual.
You are you. Learn to accept and respect yourself, and become comfortable with what’s inside AND out.
You can read more of Louise's blog posts on her own blog - Pretty in Ink Plus.
If you would like to learn more about the Be Real Campaign and how you can get involved please contacts us.