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I don’t remember the last time I felt pretty.

 

That’s a really sad sentence isn’t it? It’s amazing how much our appearance really does affect the way we feel about ourselves, and how easily it can be damaged without us even realising. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about finding balance in your own life as you get older – read it here. And, well, I’ve got to tell you guys that I’m failing at the moment, big time. I’ve just finished working over 40 hours in just four days and I’m beyond exhausted, I haven’t been eating enough and I’ve barely had time to sleep let alone relax. It would be okay if this was a one-off, but to be honest these last few weeks it has become more and more common. I’m working too much, I’m too desperate to save money and plan for the next exciting adventure to think about my health and it’s not good for me.

My days are spent biking to work in 35 degree heat, rushing around for 10+ hour shifts until I’m almost dizzy for not eating enough or waiting eight hours for my next meal. Then I bike home to collapse into bed for a few hours, getting to spend a precious five minutes with my boyfriend, and then I get up and do it all again. I’m a sweaty mess most of the time, I pile on the make-up to cover the bags under my eyes and pull on the same manky uniform I’ve been wearing for days on end. Travelling isn’t always as glamorous as you think, is it? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind this life – it takes it’s toll and I’m terminally exhausted at the moment but I know it will be worth it when in three weeks I go travelling again and get to spend all my time relaxing, enjoying and appreciating my relationship.

But in the meantime, it really hit me lately that I barely remember the last time I made an effort, or when I honestly felt glowing and happy and healthy. It was weeks ago, when I was off exploring a national park and spent my days hiking, swimming and eating healthily. I wore no make-up and lived in my bikini, and I was confident and happy, really happy. Before that, I remember the West Coast road trip, when I was living off nuts and avocados, when my body was strong and fit from exercise and fresh air. I was always smiling and full of energy because I rose with the sun and went to sleep under the stars. I miss that life. Back then it took nothing to make me feel beautiful but now, living in the city and not getting the chance to make an effort, or dress up or feel pretty, it takes its toll.Taking body positivity back to basics with SimplyBe

Body positivity

It’s interesting how physical health and mental health play such a big part in our understanding of beauty. At the moment I’m mentally and physically exhausted, I’m run down and don’t have time to look after myself, and I’m finding it hard to feel positive about my own body image. It’s silly, because my body is the healthiest and strongest it has been in a long time from being outside and working out at the gym. I know deep down I’m happy with the way I look, but exhaustion can have a big effect on the mind and when you don’t appreciate yourself, you often end up making it impossible for others to appreciate you. You don’t realise until you’ve been sucked into that pattern of behaviour of not taking the time to look after yourself and then feeling down because you look and feel rubbish. It’s so easily avoided, if only you can notice the signs before it is too late to prevent it – and sadly, that’s what I’m always rubbish at.

We may be on different sides of the world, but I’m sure you can all relate to feeling like all you do is work. Feeling like life is getting on top of you and it’s just not fun any more. You don’t get time to look after yourself, then before you know it you’re exhausted and run down, your attitude towards yourself is less than forgiving and you don’t know how to get out of the hole that you’ve dug for yourself. It’s a slippery slope – but I don’t want this to be a post about feeling down and not loving yourself enough. I want to talk about how to fix things and how to change your attitude towards yourself.Taking body positivity back to basics with SimplyBe

So how can you reclaim your body positivity and change your attitude?

Start simple

It’s not easy, but you start with the basics. Are you eating and drinking enough? When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Are you getting sick, or have you lost/gained too much weight? Are you stressed out from work or life? Ask yourself all these questions and figure out what your pattern is so you can identify it earlier next time. I know that every time I end up overworked, I find I’m not eating enough which affects my weight, my sleeping patterns and stress levels – more often than not I get sick as a result. Other people overeat to deal with stress, or indulge too much in coffee to keep them going which messes up their sleep pattern even more. It’s important to identify your own individual pattern of behaviour so you can break it and notice it earlier next time you do this.

Ask yourself why?

Why are you letting yourself get in this state? Do you have an unachievable goal looming in front of you? Or are you unhappy with something else in your life so you’re throwing yourself into work to escape? Whatever the answer, you need to tackle the problem – remove the obstacles from your life and everything will slot happily back into place.

Focus on you

You might not be able to escape the workload or the job, you might not be able to get out of the stressful situation, but you can change how you react to it and how much you let it affect you. Take charge and focus on boosting your body image and positivity, give yourself time to appreciate what you have. Pamper yourself – paint your nails or dye your hair, have a long bath and do your make-up how you like it, then pop on an outfit that makes you feel fabulous and go out. You could try one of these gorgeous party outfits from SimplyBe for the festive season. Whether it’s out for cocktails or just to the supermarket, just know that you look and feel amazing, then hold on to that feeling and remember it when you’re next working and feeling run down.Taking body positivity back to basics with SimplyBe


After three much-needed days off spent relaxing at the beach, sleeping in and eating properly, I’m feeling so much better. Still not 100%, I don’t think I’ll feel that until I quit this job and start travelling again, but I’m definitely on my way. Sometimes all we need is to look after ourselves a bit.

What makes you feel body positive? Have you got any tips for dealing with body issues and exhaustion?

Taking body positivity back to basics with SimplyBe

image1After writing last Friday’s post, I really got to thinking about my life now compared to a year ago and how happy I am. To put things in perspective, this time last year I was living it up in Thailand with a bunch of great mates and partying my arse off. Now, I’m writing this from my new home of Melbourne while my roommate snores his head off, and yet, I think over the last two weeks I’ve reached new levels of happiness I didn’t think were possible. So I decided to start a list, of all the moments I’ve had recently that have made me feel grateful to be alive and happy I made the decisions that have led me to this point. Because, if you read my last post – you’ll know that this Valentine’s Day I’m taking the time to celebrate being single, independent and the happiest with myself I’ve ever been. Forget giving out roses and chocolates, I’m taking the time to think about and be thankful for all the things that are giving me the rosy glow of happiness.

So what has made me realise i’m in love with my life?

  1. Finally achieving something that has been my goal from the very beginning of travelling – I’m living abroad and settled in one spot of my choosing, and Melbourne is a city that I really want to build a life in.
  2. Coming home – arriving in Melbourne to a huge, warm welcome from so many of my closest Darwin friends meant the world after three months alone in the outback. They are the family I have while I’m thousands of miles away from my own.
  3. I’m technically homeless and jobless right now, but it doesn’t stop me walking around with the biggest smile on my face.
  4. I’ve finished working in the worst job of my life and smashed it, got my second year visa and haven’t gone insane – I really can cope with anything!
  5. I’ve just spent three months going to the gym every day and am probably in the best shape I’ve been since before I came travelling – I feel healthy and fit, such a great feeling for a backpacker.
  6. The other night, I actually chose to stay in instead of hitting the clubs, instead I sat on the balcony and blogged for hours as the sun was setting – getting to indulge my passion and not being afraid to turn down a night out shows I’m confident in what I want to do.
  7. I no longer feel even that slight tummy pinch of nervousness when I go somewhere new – now I’ve been travelling so long it is just excitement at change.
  8. Linked to above – I’ve never felt more confident in my abilities to travel solo, make friends wherever I go, and to handle this shit.
  9. The other day, I made a new friend and was telling him about my travels and my life – through his reactions I got to see myself through someone else’s eyes and realise how awesome my life is. Sometimes we forget to really appreciate what we are doing as a whole.
  10. Since being in Melbourne I’ve actually started to make more effort to not look so homeless after Darwin and the outback’s more relaxed style – but I’ve really realised how much I prefer myself without make-up after six months of barely wearing it. I love that I’ve reached a point where I feel confident and happy without it.
  11. Despite six months off make-up, I can still do a perfect winged eyeliner on my first attempt punches the air
  12. This blog is smashing it right now – shortlisted in the UK Blog Awards, working with amazing brands every week, and a huge response from readers old and new. So great to see it take off in such a big way after all my energies.
  13. I’ve ticked off so many amazing things from my bucket list in the last 12 months, many of them I didn’t even know were on there! And I finally got to swim with a sea turtle!
  14. I’ve made a decision that I’m so happy doing what I do, that I’m not stopping after the year-mark. I’m not taking a gap year and heading home like some, I’m turning this into my lifestyle and have travel plans for the next year already!
  15. I’m also reaching a point where I know in the next six months I will be happy to return home for a short while to reconnect with friends and family – a sign of contentment that I am happy to return to the place that forced me to leave.
  16. My head, and my heart are filled with amazing memories of sights, sounds, tastes from along the way, the people I’ve met who have changed my world and my beliefs. I feel so grateful to have experienced so much.
  17. I’ve had quite a few messages lately from readers who have said that my blog, and my life, is inspiring. I’m not sure whether I agree, as I think this is something that anyone could achieve, but to regarded as inspiring is something that in turn inspires me every single day to carry on and to keep writing.
  18. I’ve realised that I’m nearly 26 years old and I have not a single regret – i’m not sure there are many people in the world who can say that. I feel so happy with every decision that I have made because it has led me to this point and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
  19. My values have changed – I realised since arriving in Melbourne and being surrounded by shops and every convenience, that I simply don’t need any of this stuff. Far more precious to me than the latest from Topshop are the memories I’m making.
  20. I’m excited for the future, but I’m not stressing or worried about anything – I literally don’t have a care in the world. I’m just excited to see what comes next and totally accept that whatever happens will happen. For a girl who used to worry about and organise everything, this is a huge change.

So there we go, the 20 things that have helped me realise why I’m so in love with my life and if you ask me, that’s by far the most important love you will have. Whether you were in a relationship or not this Valentine’s, take a moment to think about whether you are happy with yourself and your life – its something that is so easily brushed over in the busy day-to-day. Why not take 15 minutes out of your day to make a list like this one about all the positive reasons you are in love with you life, and why you are happy with your lot. You might find that actually you have a lot more love for the way things have turned out than you think – or it might just highlight a change you know you need to make! Either way – take the time to love yourself, your life and everything in it.

Tell me what you love mot about your life – what are you most thankful for? 

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imageIt’s been a funny few weeks – I won’t go into too many details but let’s just say a few things have happened lately that have really forced me to step up and act like an adult. It’s pretty easy when travelling to feel like you’re 18 and invincible, that nothing can touch you and that somehow you’re just evading all the bad things in life. Often you’re just so overwhelmed by the goodness and kindness of people that you wonder if you had them all wrong when you were back home working that 9-5 job and getting stressed out constantly by the behaviour of others. I’m not going to deny that bad things ever happen when you’re travelling, but to be honest they don’t very often – at least nowhere near as often as people warn you that they do. But when they do, it’s a shock, it brings you back down to earth with a bump after months of soaring along with your head in the clouds. Don’t worry, everyone, including myself are okay – if anything, I’m being a bit dramatic. Why? Well it all goes back to a conversation I had the other week with a friend about the situation, something she said really struck me and made me think.

When asked about life back at home, I told her that I don’t really get homesick – yes I miss the people, the moments and the history, but I don’t think I have once spent a day pining for home. I know some find homesickness a real problem when travelling and I’ve had friends who can be down for days on end if something sets off those feelings, but that’s just not me. I was never homesick when I went to university either, I think I’m just used to dealing with the feeling of being separate and I’m a very logical person who will always reason with herself that family and friends are always at the end of the phone. My friend, who does get homesick and has been missing home lately, commented on how independent I was and seemed surprised by it. Especially when she realised that I had travelled so far across the world by myself and was unafraid to tackle Asia and Australia solo. I’ve had this reaction multiple times since planning my travels and setting out – it’s something that just seems odd to me and perhaps highlights that it is still thought of as unusual for a young woman to be “brave” enough to be on her own and to be completely independent. Don’t worry – I’m not going to start quoting Beyoncé songs to you, but I do want to make the point that I think it is a huge compliment to say that someone is so very independent.

Independence is vastly underrated – whether is financial, emotional, physical or even mental, there is nothing more valuable than the ability to be on your own and still be happy. Too many people in this world are relying on the behaviour of others to make them happy, but wonder why they are always left disappointed. They don’t seem to appreciate that you have no control over the behaviour of others, ultimately if they want to mess you around or treat you badly, you can’t do anything about it except adjust your own attitude. I’ve forgiven people for some pretty horrid behaviour over the years and sometimes I’m asked why – I always respond, because it doesn’t have any impact on me beyond being upset. That person has to live with the knowledge of how they have treated me and my hating them for it will only make me unhappy and bitter – why would I want to introduce that unhappiness into my own life? As I said on my Facebook page the other day – not relying on others to make you happy is the greatest power of all. By being able to make yourself happy through fulfilling your own goals, setting your own challenges and comforting yourself in times of strife, you give yourself the key to happiness. Solo travel is a great way to learn that, but it’s something we should all learn in our own lives – other people can make your life better but only you can make it great.imageOf course we need others to bring light into our lives in other ways – to put a smile on our face after a hard day, to crack a joke when we’re mad, or do thoughtful things, but what happens on the day when they aren’t there? You need to be able to build yourself back up instead of just expecting others to do it for you. I’ve always been a very independent person, but before coming travelling I was a lot more emotionally dependent on others. Travelling solo has given me the space and the time to get to know myself better, it has meant learning to look after myself when times are tough and boy, have they been tough sometimes. I remember being pulled out of a crashed minibus which was half buried in a ditch, I’d been thrown against the windscreen and would have gone through it if it weren’t for the driver grabbing hold of me. I stood on the side of the road with blood pouring from my legs, with a group of Cambodians who spoke barely any English, and remember thinking, I genuinely don’t know if I’ll make it out of this one. Being in a situation like that, being forced to look after yourself and to get yourself to safety in a city that is still a hundred miles away is quite a challenge. But I did it, and I’m a stronger person for it. Now I don’t want anyone to go through anything like that, but there are ways to teach yourself the value of independence without putting yourself in danger.

Just taking a tiny step outside your comfort zone and doing it all by yourself is the most valuable experience of all – it can mean disappearing off one day and exploring a place you’ve never been before, forcing yourself to eat out alone, dealing with something complicated all by yourself instead of seeking help from parents or a partner. All of these are things I do on a daily basis now – I love to eat out alone, I love the satisfaction of managing to deal with a problem completely by myself or turning up in a place where no-one knows me and no-one in the world knows where I am. Some people call that brave, I call it just living my life one step at a time and taking chances. So far it’s paid off better than I ever could have imagined and it could be the same for everyone. Being independent is one of the most empowering feelings I have ever known. Some say to love and be loved is the greatest thing of all, but I think that being brave enough to say “I got this shit” to yourself and to others every damn day and proving it again and again is the one to aim for. Don’t ever think independence is a lonely place – I’ve never been surrounded by and had the support of quite so many amazing people who I know love me and would do anything for me as I have lately – what brought us all together is the fact that we all kick ass independently.

Do you consider yourself independent? How else can we gain independence? When’s the last time you went off the grid?

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imageWhen we think of backpackers, we definitely have two very different images in our minds – some of us might have a rather rose-tinted view of sun kissed limbs stretched out on the beach in skimpy bikinis watching on as muscly guys play football on the beach in their shorts. Those who have actually been backpacking will know there are usually big bags under our eyes from late nights, that we’re all a bit soft around the edges and around 20lbs heavier than we were before travelling thanks to indulging in too much pizza and beer. It’s pretty difficult to keep with any kind of fitness routine, or to maintain healthy eating while backpacking – often the easiest and cheapest options are the least beneficial for your body. (Read my top tips on how to try and stay fit and healthy while travelling here)

Despite the fact that you might not always be at your absolute peak of physical fitness while backpacking, I think it is fair to say that many people feel the most body confident they ever have. Body confidence is something that plagues us all, whether we want to admit it or not. Some of us have it in bucket loads, others barely have enough to keep them going for a two week holiday in the sun. But something I’ve noticed about backpackers is that despite them coming in all shapes, sizes and colours, they all have this radiant glow of sheer confidence and knowledge of their fabulousness that shines through. When you look at them, you don’t notice their love handles, cellulite, beer belly or stretch marks. All I see is the huge smile on their faces, the golden brown glow of their skin and the fun that sparks out of them. Where does it come from? Well it’s all down to confidence. But why are they so confident?

  1. Happiness. These backpackers are the happiest and freest they have ever been and it radiates out of them, as the Roald Dahl quote says, they will always be pretty when happiness shines out of them like sunbeams.
  2. Most backpackers in Asia and Australia come from somewhere like the UK, Germany or Canada – it’s much colder there and there’s definitely not as much sunlight. See what effect a heavy dose of vitamin D can have?
  3. A good tan. It hides a multitude of sins and everyone looks better with bronzed skin. It makes you look slimmer, healthier, plus you don’t want to plaster yourself with as much makeup and fake tan which makes you feel more beautiful.
  4. Less time and effort is spent getting ready because you’re so busy and you get lazy, and yet you feel better for it. You rely more on your natural self and become more confident in it as a result. In Asia, makeup on nights out is pointless. It will be sweated off in minutes, so you get pretty used to seeing your face without makeup and even start to prefer yourself without it.
  5. Knowledge of the world around you, seeing outside your little bubble at home, it makes you an authority and sets you apart from the crowd. Knowing that you’ve seen something and experienced a world outside your own makes you realise that you are different in the best possible way.
  6. More space for your personality to shine. When you meet backpackers, particularly in Asia, it is not about how people look or who is beautiful or fit. What’s important is who is funny, who has something to say, a story to tell, an opinion worth sharing? It’s about conversations by firelight all night long, not about posing in clubs. You become valued for so much more than your looks.
  7. Fun becomes more important than what you look like when you’re having it. You live for the moment and aren’t bothered by that roll on your tummy when you’re skinny dipping after a tipsy night with friends or snorkelling with sea turtles. Travelling gives you a much better sense of perspective.
  8. Really getting to know yourself makes you realise how awesome you are and that you really should have this confidence. That no one can make you feel less that incredible without your permission and that’s something you just won’t give.
  9. Fearlessness. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished by yourself and knowing you kick ass, knowing you can take anything that’s thrown at you and smash it. Knowing that you have well and truly proven to anyone who ever doubted you quite how capable you are.
  10. Living in a bikini every damn day. It’s the dream, but the thought would scare some chicks. Trust me, there’s no better way to feel comfortable in your own skin than to expose the majority of it at the beach every day. Seeing every contour of your body under direct sunlight is definitely a way to really get to know it and to accept it. Plus seeing everyone else’s bodies on full display make you realise that nobody is perfect.

This post was originally published on the Base Backpackers blog and won me a free bed for the night in a Base Hostel! Find the original here.

What do you think makes backpackers so beautiful? Do you feel the most confident and happy you’ve ever been?

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imageTravelling is one of the greatest learning curves you will ever have. You learn so much from heading outside your comfort zone, and doing it solo is one of the biggest character tests you can face in life. There is so much out there to experience, see and feel, and it really can change you as a person by bringing out that version of you that has always been waiting in the wings for your time to shine. There are so many reasons not to travel – money, commitments, relationships… The list goes on. But what about all those reasons to pack your bags and leave? What will you gain from it that you just won’t get from staying at home and working that 9-5? I know travel isn’t for everyone, and it holds no appeal for some people, but I do think that the values and personal lessons you gain from that time spent independently chasing your dreams are crucial to becoming the best version of yourself – however you choose to do this. So what do you learn? Well here are 10 things travellers have told me they have gained from heading off into the great unknown:

  1. Confidence – the ultimate confidence boost comes from realising how capable and strong you actually are, from wearing a bikini every day and being happy with what you see in the mirror, from knowing you can handle anything that is thrown at you.
  2. Wisdom – travelling makes you wise beyond your years very quickly because when backpacking, it is vital to learn fast and to be sure in your decisions. It means facing some of your worst nightmares and learning how to cope with them and avoid them in future, what takes months in backpacking would take years of living at home.
  3. Awesomeness – meeting reams of new people and seeing yourself through their eyes makes you realise how awesome you are and how much other people want to know you – it’s hard to learn that surrounded by a safety net of people you’ve known all your life.
  4. Humility and gratitude – seeing how big the world is and how the rest of the world lives really helps to pierce the bubble, it makes you really grateful for what you have and it helps you learn your place in the world.
  5. Losing the fear – so many are afraid of things they have never ever seen, things that have never even happened. Travelling helps you lose your fear of what might happen and makes you deal only with what actually happens.
  6. That kindness fills the hearts of most. Getting lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere and having to rely on the local people of the country you are in can be a scary prospect, but it can also help you see that the first instinct of most is to go to the ends of the earth to help you.
  7. That travelling isn’t as big, or scary, or brave as everyone makes out, it’s actually the easiest and most natural thing I’m the world, and once you start, it soon becomes hard to imagine retuning to life before it.
  8. The value of everything – experiencing different cultures and currencies forces you to learn the value of everything and how that translates. Everything from toothpaste to flights has a price, but only you can say whether the price is right. It also means you get really good at managing money and knowing what us worth splurging on. Memories over possessions.
  9. The true value of friendships and relationships at home – this is a sure fire way to find out whether your friends are true and will stick with you until the end, put 6,000 miles between you and see how much effort you all make. Many fall by the wayside, but others will stand the test of time.
  10. The person you want to be – without society pressures, friends or family influencing your choices – you can finally really know how you want to live your life and the person you want to become. When at home it is easy to get caught up in being the person you are expected to be.image

What have you learnt from travelling? What else have you gained from your travelling experiences? Tell us about the greatest learning curve you’ve faced on your travels…

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I’ve always been a very confident person, anyone who knows me will tell you that, but travelling has brought out a confidence I never knew I had within me. People talk about travelling changing them, particularly solo travelling, they say it makes you more relaxed, more flexible, more open to experiences. I don’t agree that it changes you, I think it actually just brings out the true version of yourself – the one that was hiding behind layers of stress and hard work before. While backpacking you are finally free of the rat race, of the pressures of work and society, you can finally be the person you always wanted to be, but never thought you could. It sounds silly and I’m sure those who haven’t done it feel like I’m getting all emosh about travelling, but the ones who have experienced it are nodding vigorously at the screen.

I’ve met so many people who have spoken of the exact same feeling – that feeling of a sudden strength and confidence, that undeniable capability. So where does it come from? Well the fact that so many are heading out on these enormous trips by themselves, carrying their life in a bag and visiting all kinds of places alone, relying completely and totally on themselves is no small thing. It is a huge life-altering experience, particularly if, like me, you’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve already learnt so much by relying totally on myself to get from A to B, and then on to C, I’ve had to find my way home from the middle of nowhere by trying to communicate with those who don’t speak English, I’ve had to look after myself when I’m sick. But I’ve done it all and done it well.

That is where the confidence comes from, that silent assuredness that I can cope with anything that is thrown at me, that no matter when happens or where I end up, I will manage to find a welcoming hostel, a bar and a good meal. That I can cope with the paperwork – arranging visas and flights on the road, making sure I have permits for national parks and all the rest. It’s that knowledge that despite the language barrier, you can communicate your needs and wants to others successfully, that you can get where you need to be and you will be okay. It’s that confidence that when you’re walking the streets you are not constantly going to be a target of thieves, rapists and all the rest, that people actually just want to meet you and talk to you, unlike what everyone else said before you left!imageWhat raises you higher every single day is meeting new people, being that person who puts themselves out there repeatedly, just waiting to see if a new friendship will form or if you will be knocked back. It’s so easy when you’re in a cosy bubble of friends and family back home who have all known your forever to not realise your value or your worth. But constantly meeting new people, telling them your stories and about your life and seeing their eyes light up, you realise that actually strangers think you’re pretty awesome and they want to be friends with you. That actually there are people outside your bubble, from across the globe, who can have so much in common with you. Like when you meet someone and within a day you know you’ll be friends for life, like you’ve been waiting your whole life to meet the other part of yourself. That’s the travel soulmate.

All of these things, and so many more, help boost you up as a person and make you realise how amazing you are, and that’s why travellers come back with that glow. That glow of self confidence and self assurance, the one the non-travellers can’t quite place but put it down to a tan and a happy holiday. It’s more than that, it’s knowing who you are and who you want to, and can, be. At home it is so easy to be caught up in everyday life, but removing yourself from that busy, stressful environment really helps fast track you to becoming that confident and fabulous human being that takes time to grow. So if you’re heading out on a solo trip somewhere, remember to embrace this feeling and to feel proud when you get it, it means you’ve grown as a person and realised how awesome you really are!image

Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? How has travelling changed you as a person? Or has it had no effect on you? Tell me about your experiences – whether a year-long solo trip or a weekend away with friends. 

Ab Lucy sign off

 

jphugs_blueI stumbled across something wonderful last week and it made me feel so happy to read about that I just had to share it with you guys. The Jubilee Project is a team of volunteers who work together to create short films and documentaries in their spare time to increase awareness and inspire action. Their vision is to produce entertaining content that will empower, enable, and inspire others to do good as well. Three guys started the project following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, when they started busking with hopes of raising $100 for the relief efforts. They fell short so made a video about it, they ended up raising over $700. Now they continue to create meaningful videos that will affect audiences and make them think about wider issues, with the mantra #DoingGoodIsContagious. So their latest video – which you’ll find below – is what I wanted to share with you.

It shows the incredible difference between adults and children – culture and society. With 50 adults and children asked the same question – If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be? And without a moment’s hesitation, all of the adults launch straight into things they don’t like and parts they wanted to change. The children? They seem stumped at first, unable to think of anything to change. But then they launch into superhuman additions they would like to have – mermaid tails (yes please!) and cheetah’s legs – because they don’t think there is anything wrong with the body they were given. So innocent and pure, they minds are yet unchanged by society and the horrible body shaming and expectations that are thrust upon us over time. Is this not yet more proof that no-one is born hating their body – we are the ones teaching them to?

I know I’ve written before about body confidence (here and here), but I haven’t yet focused on the problem of body shaming in society. The fact that you can be as confident as you like, but advertising and media and even just people on the street are often waiting to tear you back down again. It’s so sad to see how the views of these youngsters will change over time as they become more affected by the views of those around them, which in turn have been placed on them by advertising campaigns like the Victoria’s Secret one, or even music like the Meghan Trainor song. You can take either of these are you want – and to be honest, the song doesn’t really bother me a huge amount as I think it’s garbage anyway, but the underwear campaign is a different story. I don’t really understand why anyone would have let that campaign be released in the first place when it gives such a clear message that anything other than a Victoria’s Secret model is not perfect. What planet are these people on? Do they really think that 99.99999999% of the world’s population are the exception instead of the rule?bodyHearing all of the adults listing several things they would change and clearly feeling very uncomfortable about parts of their bodies was really sad. To think you have these amazing individuals who have had lives, friendships, have loved and had children – and yet they are still unhappy with the way that they look. It really warmed my heart to hear one of the young girls saying she actually really liked her body and wouldn’t want to change a thing – I wanted to scream at the screen and say DON’T CHANGE! Don’t listen to the media, ignore those billboards and stay happy as you are. She was one of the slightly older ones and you can tell it won’t be long until she too is affected by both and becomes insecure about her appearance. The clock is ticking. But then that final clip of the video makes all the difference – the oldest lady in the video says that she is happy with her body, her grey hair and her wrinkles because without those she wouldn’t be her. That woman is an inspiration and someone we should all take note of – I know I would much rather be like her than any of the other adults in the video.

It makes me feel quite sad that the majority of people will go through their lives without feeling truly happy with their appearance, despite it making up such a tiny amount of who they are. Why do we have to spend the majority of our lives – from being a child to entering our golden years feeling insecure? We’ve all got bits and piece that work, legs that get us from A to B, noses that can smell and tongues that can taste… So why, when we have all this on our side, do we have to go full circle before feeling confident again? Well as far as I’m concerned – we don’t. We all make our own decision to be happy or to be sad. We choose whether to let the haters bother us, whether to listen to those around us. Whether to feel fat on the beach in a bikini. So it’s time we all stopped listening to everything around us and start listening to that voice inside that says “You’re fabulous”. It’s easy to miss because it often gets squashed down by the one that says “You look gross” or “You’re fat” – but is far more important to pay attention to. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world, but changing your mindset is the first step to feeling content. The best way to change your mindset? Stop jumping straight to telling yourself about those ugly, fat or wobbly bits when you look in the mirror, make it your business to compliment the bits you like first. Three nice things for every one complaint and you’ll soon start thinking and feeling differently.girls1

What part of your body do you love the most and why? How do you feel after watching this video?

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