It’s a short one this Thursday… but how do you reclaim your body and build your self-esteem after 25? And why the emphasis on after 25? According to societal views, 25 and beyond as a woman means you are “over the hill”. Your youthfulness “begins to fade”, your body grows in unexpected places, and etc.
I am turning 29 soon and I am here to tell you that it gets better. Thankfully, I feel that that narrative is shifting but I still think it’s important to talk about for us ladies who are still fighting that internalized self-hatred.
My personal anecdote
I grew up with a pretty low self-esteem. Being one of the only Black kids living in the suburbs of Virginia did not make me feel valued or pretty. Turns out, being told you are ugly constantly as an adolescent has lasting effects into adulthood.
When I turned 20, I had the pleasure of one of my older sisters telling me how after you turn 25 your body will start changing. Fast forward to when I turned 26 I went through my second puberty: I filled out in places I would have not expected, junk food I used to love didn’t agree with me anymore, staying up past midnight made me feel like a nightmare, and I began feeling the aches of growing older!
After struggling with the fear of getting older I realized that getting older means learning to be better in touch with your body. When you listen to your body it tells you what you need, what doesn’t work, and when to take rest.
Now after my life experiences and seeing other women I am realizing that the best is yet to come. Turning 28 has been transformative! So how can one improve their self-esteem in a world where being a woman over 25 is bad? You are about to find out.
Ways to improve your self-esteem
1. Put yourself first – friends, this is not selfish! One of the most important relationships for you to have is the one with yourself. Stop exhausting yourself for others, it is not your job to fix the people you are with.
2. Tune in to the changes of your body – your body is always communicating with you. When you start to notice differences like that ache in your back while you are hunched or the way your favorite piece of chocolate cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory makes you uncomfortably bloated (yes from experience) it is time for you to reassess certain things in your life. Use this as an opportunity to cater to yourself and your needs
3. Spend time with yourself naked – your body is nothing to be ashamed of! Spending time with your body can be as simple as speaking words of affirmation to yourself and your body while you are moisturizing. Glide your hands over all the curves and dips – this body is yours and has gotten you this far!
4. Speak kindly to yourself – change your inner narrative. Speak to yourself the same way you would speak to someone you love. Would you call your friend an idiot because they locked themselves out of their apartment? Then don’t call yourself one for the same reason.
5. Sit and process your emotions – I’m still working on this one – it’s easy to just be on the go, busying yourself to avoid any inner turmoil. When you give yourself space and permission to go through your emotions you might notice patterns and will be able to take control of your thoughts and emotions.
6. Just be – you are remarkable. Even if you don’t believe it, tell that and other positive affirmations to yourself daily. Want a free sheet of Affirmations for Unconditional self-love? Sign up for my mailing list and receive it instantly!
The benefits of improving your self-esteem
Developing your self-esteem is more than feeling that you are “attractive”. Your self-esteem does not only show up in your personal life but also plays a huge part in your professional life. Your self-esteem is a direct reflection of your self-worth.
Now imagine: you are coming up to the two year anniversary of your job. You would love to have a title promotion but because of your low self-esteem impostor syndrome is hitting hard. You feel that maybe because you aren’t 110% productive every hour of every eight-hour day that you feel that maybe you don’t deserve recognition, let alone a title promotion.
So what is the root of this, of feeling inadequate at your job, your relationship, your business ventures? Low self-esteem. A low-self esteem does not only make you feel horrible inside, but it also blocks you from your blessings because of the denial of your wants/desires/rights.
Now I am not going to tell you to live your life as an under-qualified straight white male. But I will tell you to live your life as the beautiful, powerful, loving, hard-working, and deserving Woman you know. Welcome your blessings with open arms. Welcome people who love you for all of your beauty in your entirety.
As you can see, improving your self-esteem is your right.