This guest post is by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt of aMINDmedia.
We all know this dream: you’re walking down the street, wondering why everybody is laughing, snickering and pointing at you. You look down and notice you’re naked. The shame that washes over you is immeasurable. Everybody saw you. All of you. The parts you’re extremely insecure about, the parts that you’ve always tried to hide, and the parts you hate and would do anything to get rid of. You’re revealing it all.
Blogging tends to feel that way too.
You put yourself out there. You write from the heart. You try to get real. You’re basically repeating that nightmare, with the only difference being intentionally telling people to look.
People will read it. People will discuss it and they will criticize it.
Putting yourself out there makes you vulnerable. It makes you attackable. It’s like taking the defenses down in the biggest battle of your life. It often feels counterintuitive. However, once you become completely authentic, you’re blogging success is practically guaranteed.
There’s only one unknown barrier: your self image.
How hating yourself ruins your career
I hated my body, but most people—at least secretly—have something about themselves that they hate. So in the following discussion, feel free to substitute your secret hate for the word “body.”
Hating your body means having a lot of inhibitions. When you feel constraint by your physical appearance, writing about things in your life that aren’t perfect or may cause some controversy is brutal.
However, that’s exactly what readers want to read. They don’t want you to make them feel bad about themselves because you’re such a flawless human being and have your life all perfectly lined up. They want to read about your struggles, your challenges, weaknesses and maybe even your problems. That’s what makes you interesting and will keep readers returning to your site.
Being ashamed of your body is a telltale sign of having no self-confidence. Readers notice that right away. Sure, you can always fake confidence to a point, but when it’s real, it shines through every word you put on a piece of digital paper.
The time you spend worrying about the way you look, hating certain body parts or wishing your next diet will forever liberate you from these limiting thoughts is time you can use much more wisely. Just think of how many hours you waste that you could use proactively working on new blog posts, strategically planning guest posts or working on new ideas. The possibilities that will present themselves are endless and thrilling.
Tapping into your emotions when feeling insecure about yourself is almost impossible when you hate some aspect of yourself, but that is an integral part of successful blogging. People are moved by emotions and they want to read about them. Some of the most successful blog posts ever written focused on stirring up feelings in the readers in order to influence them to comment on and share your content.
Overall, your dislike for yourself hinders your blogging career in more ways than you can imagine—and I speak from personal experience.
How hating myself almost cost me my life … and how I saved myself
I was ten years old when I turned against myself and my body. The pressure of living with a brother who was mentally and physically abusing me finally broke me.
I had been too strong for too long, but now I needed relief and I found it in obsessing over my body. I blamed my body for everything: the beatings, the spitting, the screaming and the sheer terror of my brother’s presence.
I didn’t like a single thing about myself. My belly was too big, my thighs were disgusting, my face was fat, my legs and arms too short and my fingers round like sausages.
So, I tried to fix my life by fixing my body. Instead, I almost died.
I started a diet that quickly led into anorexia nervosa. I was miserable, depressed and hoped that shedding more weight would finally make me happy again. The insecurity was eating at me and was slowly but determinedly killing the once vibrant, creative and confident little girl.
I started retreating into myself, losing all my friends, too weak to engage in social activities. I sobbed on the way to my three– to four–hour workouts because I was so weak my feet were hardly carrying me.
I fainted several times because of malnutrition. I stole laxatives from my mom’s pharmacy. I told hundred of lies in order to protect my addiction. I tried to commit suicide in order to escape this disgusting body.
I went through nothing short of hell.
When I woke up after 14 years, it was almost too late. It was then that I faced an even bigger struggle than I had been fighting for most of my life: I needed to make peace with the body I was given.
Make peace with yourself
How did I make peace with myself?
I started to transform my thoughts from negative ones into purely positive ones.
I started to sit up straight and walk with a head held high. I started to strategically work with the mirror and only focus on the parts of my body I liked. I started to express my feelings in healthy ways instead of simply translating emotions into feeling fat. I started to readjust my values in life and put my body in perspective.
All of these actions helped me become more confident, and as a result, my writing improved drastically.
Now I am not ashamed of my emotions. Now I am not hiding my brilliance behind self-hatred. Now I am not shying away from spending hours upon hours in my office doing nothing but writing. Now I am not enveloped in a cloud of misery, but giddy with excitement about every day that I am given.
I wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my life by despising my natural self. I could have advanced in many areas of my work where I put a serious limit to what I could achieve by simply portraying how uncomfortable I really felt. However, now that I am in love with my body, I am ready to change the world with confidence, drive and a welcomed lack of limiting thoughts.
And the best thing is if I can do it, so can you. In the end only one thing matters: taking action.
If I was able to radically change my self image, you can write that epic blog post.
If I was able to overcome a deadly disorder, you can improve your craft.
If I can use my past for something good, you can put a dent in the world.
If I can embrace life with the excitement of a toddler getting a new toy, you can start following your dreams.
Don’t let your self image stop you from making your life and your work matter. Don’t give your poor self perception the power to determine your career. Don’t hide your greatness behind a layer of self-hatred and doubt and let your life’s work remain hidden for the rest of your life.
Take advantage of the freedom and the possibilities we have in this world, act upon them and by all means, let the world take a close look at the bright shining star you are.
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is an anorexia survivor, body image expert and the owner of aMINDmedia. She empowers you toby returning to your true purpose and values.