My story starts with my keloid scars. They are a really bad case which could have left me crumbling and angry, but I chose to fall in love with my differences instead of seeing them as a burden. My journey has been a difficult one when it comes to my “imperfections”, as some people might call them.
At 16-years-old, I was prescribed medication for my acne and my body responded in a weird way. It decided to manifest painful keloid scars across my chest and shoulders, which grew larger and larger each year. Unsightly or artistic, if there is one thing I have learnt, when it comes to external things in life it is all about perception – and that perception must start with you.
At the end of the day, whether it is from our family, our circles of friends, our work, and in society, we strive for acceptance. But striving for real self-love and self-acceptance took me years; years of discovering, trial and error, the courage to rise, and courage to fall. If you have anything in your life that you think is stopping you from going after what your heart wants, stop right now and know that this isn’t true.
I know it can be difficult when it comes to acceptance, so here are six tips that helped me embrace my power instead of hiding my uniqueness. I’m going to explain why and how you can change your life and start living in your truth with confidence.
1.Travel, travel, travel
For me, this is 100% how and why I started accepting myself fully. It also helped me to define myself and explore who I really am – which is something I think a lot of us in the western world forget to work on. I don’t know why it took me travelling to different countries to find this self-acceptance, but it sure triggered a shift in my life.
One of the main things I noticed was how different people reacted around the world to my scars. The further the east of the world I went, the more my scars were perceived as beauty and art. Some people thought that I did the marks on my body on purpose, such as scarification; this is my favourite interpretation so far.
In Mexico, I felt powerful because people saw me expose them and, again, believed them to be intentional. In Australia, they thought my scars were cool (notice how I’m only talking from the positive perceptions! This is important). Setting yourself free in foreign places is a lot more comforting because initially, you don’t care about judgment and acceptance as much as you do in your own environment.
2.Look after your body
Sometimes the gym can be quite disempowering – especially when you’re trying to transform your health and body, the gym doesn’t motivate me. Often it does the opposite because I feel it makes me focus on vanity (too many mirrors around) instead of the more important things, like empowering myself by keeping myself fit and healthy. My career as a vocalist/performer means I do have a very active lifestyle – but I think the main thing that gives me body confidence is working out in empowering and wholesome environments.
My favourite ways to work out are Vinyasa Yoga classes, Reformer Pilates, hiking in nature, and generally walking everywhere. Why don’t you take yourself on a retreat that focuses on yoga or hiking? It’s a great way to meet and surround yourself with like-minded people. I find these forms of exercise humbling and transformational, but do what works for you!
3.Read, read, read
Learning about the power of women and why you should be in awe of every inch of yourself is a great reminder when life gets you down. One thing that I think helps is reading and not just reading but taking notes from books, be it quotes or a paragraph, and noting them down. If you don’t mind graffiti all over your book, grab a highlighter and highlight words and paragraphs that resonate with you.
4.Find your community
When you start living in your truth, you’ll see how your tribe flocks to you. I would suggest following like-minded groups and individuals on social media – people who live in strength and authenticity – and let their light lead you to live in your own light, it helps! I remember I was on a contract years ago on a cruise ship in a “Supreme Dream Girls” show. At this point in my life, I wasn’t as confident and I let my scars dictate what I wore. The two other performers I was working with were grown women who owned themselves. Being around them gave me a certain sense of confidence; so, for the first time ever, when we docked the ship in Italy, Spain, and all of these beautiful and hot locations, I decided to go outside in a vest top. Some people did stare; others pointed and questioned what my scars were under their breath. Even though this was difficult to handle at first, my friend would get more pissed off than me! They would literally shout out, “do you not know its rude to stare?”. It made me giggle and lit up a confidence within me. Because of my friends, I managed to accept myself and my scars more and more until I was ready to go out on my own and bear the staring.
Our lives can be so distracted and busy, but I have made self-care and self-love a central part of my life for some time now and it works wonders. Buy yourself flowers, get those scented candles. Buy those new bed sheets, have that bubble bath (with the candles you bought), get that expensive good quality chocolate that makes you love life while you eat it.
Gifting yourself frequently has something to do with your self-worth. Yes, it’s not about material things – it’s more about giving back to yourself things that make you happy, things that light you up and make you smile. You don’t have to wait for other people to do that for you. It’s key to self-love and accepting yourself – recognising your beauty and importance here. Also, if you prefer hobbies, maybe check out Pinterest and start making boards of things you love and stuff that inspires you.
6.Make a gratitude list
Go and buy a notebook and make gratitude a habit! Besides this helping you, it also has a kind of ripple effect and seeps positive energy out to the world and other people. There are gratitude journals you can buy, or even just make your own. Every day when you wake up and go to sleep, write things down that you are grateful for. They can be things from that day, things in your life, moments, memories, family, friends, or food! There is so much to be grateful for and voicing it not only brings you a sense of peace and happiness, it actually draws more of the good stuff into your life.
I think doing this for myself shifted my career into a very prosperous avenue. Instead of seeing my life in terms of what it lacked, I started seeing it in terms of abundance regardless of where I was in the moment. It also instilled that faith and hope in myself and my path. Gratitude is a powerful thing. Make it a habit and just see how your life changes.