This week I interviewed one of my best friends, Heather Wilson. The first time you meet her, her outgoing and bubbly personality will make you want to be her friend. Seriously. She has an effortless aura about her, and she always has a smile on her face. It’s one of the many things I admire about her. Heather will make you feel right at home in her life and always has the most loving and caring advice. That’s why I asked her to talk about self-love on the blog today. She has such a great perspective on body image and loving yourself. I hope y’all enjoy.
What makes you feel good about yourself?
Like a lot of women, sometimes it's hard for me to feel good about myself. I get in a rut and get really down. I've found what helps is figuring out what you truly enjoy and pursuing it. For me, I love being outside, and I love fashion. I also love to be outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and explore new places. I love to dress up and feel like I look good. It's not for anyone but me, because I want to look nice. Taking the time for myself for those things is essential.
What advice would you give a teenage girl about self-love?
The advice I gave my younger sister when she was in high school was to accept that not everyone will like you even with no reason at all, and that's ok. Not everyone has to like you, and you don't have to like everyone. Also, not caring what everyone else thinks and doing what makes you happy is so important. It's easy to get caught up in what other people think and their perception of you. That was so important to me in high school, and I based my self-worth of how many friends I had and comparing myself to other people by developing the confidence to be your own person.
What was the hardest thing for you to accept about your body?
In middle school I never could wear what my friends wore. I started wearing a bra in elementary school, and I could never fit into a lot of the brands that my friends wore by the time we got to middle school. It made me feel left out; it was like I skipped the teenage clothes and had to go straight to the adult clothes. All I wanted to do was be like everyone else, but my body was so different it made me feel left out. Eventually as we got older, my friends were jealous that I was curvier.
What type of outfit makes you feel beautiful?
Putting on a dress with heels makes me instantly feel beautiful. Dresses are so easy and make me feel free. Adding heels makes me feel like I can take on the world. I love being tall and confident.
What has been your journey to self-love and self-confidence?
Realizing that I need to prioritize my needs first was a way that leads me to self-confidence. I always have tried to please people and put others needs before my own. That can be good, but understanding if I'm not happy then it's not worth it was difficult. I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad in college. During that semester, I didn't have the same restrictions I did here. No family, no social pressures. I had finally had the freedom and time to discover myself and my needs. That helped my confidence by being able to accomplish something like that all on my own.
How can we create a culture that empowers all women to love themselves? How can fashion play into that?
Every woman is different, and incorporating different body types in media can make a huge impact on the culture of self-love in women. If the public is exposed to different body types and styles, it becomes easier to love and accept them all as beautiful.
How does YBF's clothing provide you with an extra boost of self-confidence?
YBF has organizational culture and image of acceptance, and it doesn't fit one mold of fashion. Their styles aren't made for one body type and can look good on everyone.
What have you struggled the most with when it comes to body image?
Comparing myself to fashion images and my friends has always made me struggle with my body image. Again, that comparing and wanting to be like everyone else can cripple your self-confidence and body image. Embracing your unique and individual body type is so hard, especially with social media. It's difficult to look at all these models on instagram and think, "Why can't I look like that?" You never see mediocre pictures of them, they always look so beautiful.
What is your favorite part of your body?
My favorite part of my body is my hair. It's really curly and different, it makes me feel unique. Sometimes I wish I had hair that didn't frizz up in high humidity, but I honestly won't trade it. My hair is unique to me, and I love that.
In what ways do you take care of your body and keep it healthy that helps to increase your self-confidence/self-love?
I love being outside, in any season. I'm basically chained to a desk all day, so I take any opportunity to get outside. It gets me away from my computer, my phone, and helps me take a break. I'll go on walks during my lunch break, and I love to hike and swim. Even in the winter I love to go snowboarding. It helps my self-confidence because I know I'm taking time to do what's best for me, and it's something I love.
One of my favorite pieces of advice from Heather is to stop comparing yourself to others. Our journeys, our struggles, our highs and lows are unique to our story. Let them be unique. Don't trade in your beauty for someone else's.