You Are Good Enough

Anneka’s post today was inspired by International Women’s Day 2014 on the blog – that day where so many of you rallied and shared your advice for the next generation  of AOW readers.  Anneka’s message is easy to say, but much harderto believe: you are good enough.  

Anneka shares her story here, a difficult story, where her self worth was learnt at cost.  Thank you Anneka, and over to you:    

The other day, my husband and I were talking about wisdom we would wish to pass onto our future children. I immediately knew what I would want to tell them, the next AOW generation and my younger self: you are good enough.

When I say that I don’t mean academically, I mean it in terms of self-worth and body image. I went to two boarding schools from the age of 12-18 and at the first I was the only one who had lived outside the UK and was not a pampered Daddy’s Girl. I was also skinny as a rake with what were called “fat girl calves”. Oh and I had the flattest chest in history, or so it seemed at the time. In a time where all boys seemed to drool over Kelly Brook, I was not considered attractive in any way and I was not popular. Which is hard when there are only 10 girls in your entire year.

So at 13, in a bid for attention, I decided to flirt for Britain. I look back now and I am horrified at my actions. How could I have ever thought that flirting and allowing the occasional grope was going to end well?! I turned into someone my parents no longer recognised. I had lost all sense of self worth and identity. In my adolescent mind money equalled self-worth and I had very little so I obviously needed another way to prove myself. WHAT?! My parents had the foresight to remove me from this school after GCSE’s.

Sadly, my issues didn’t stop there. I was so happy at my 2nd school. I had friends who had travelled and didn’t care about money. It was awesome. Boys were still my Achilles heel though. I had two boyfriends in two years. The first left me after his best friend asked him to choose between us as he felt that my boyfriend was spending too much time with me, and the second cheated on me within days of arriving at Uni which sent me into a tailspin that lasted until I met my husband.

I arrived at Uni with a boyfriend. I was told by all my new-found friends that it wouldn’t last. But I was convinced it would. I was determined. I was in love. It was not to be and I was heartbroken. But suddenly being a skinny blonde made me attractive and I had more male attention than I knew what to do with. What happened next is a cliché worthy of a Channel 4 Soap. I went from being a supposed “good girl” to “the girl who sleeps around” within weeks until I ended up in a supposed relationship with the men’s captain of my sports team which hit the self destruct button around Valentine’s Day.

Luckily for me, this story has a happy ending. 6 weeks later, I met Rob. And he tried to make me see that I was good enough for someone to love, truly love. Eight years later, I still have issues with my body image and self worth. I’ve gone from being that skinny girl who couldn’t even fit into a size 6 without it falling down to what I consider overweight for me (a size 8/10 – I know!) and I am now working my way towards being strong and toned over skinny. I fight with myself everyday over it but I am reminded every day that I AM GOOD ENOUGH by the darling man who has spent every day of the last eight years trying to make me believe it.

So my message to my future daughter, the next AOW generation, my 13 year old cousin and my younger self is this: do not measure your worth based on what the media/the popular girls/guys currently think is beautiful because you are. And you are good enough. Just the way you are.

Categories: Body Image
3 interesting thoughts on this

3 Comments

  1. Katie
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Lovely message, and so true.

  2. Anon
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I love this. I too had (have) boys as my Achilles heel. I thought (think) my worth is somehow tied up to how desirable people find my body. I am working on it though. I don’t think it goes with a silver bullet when you find someone who loves you. I think it kind of lingers on like a ghost haunting you from time to time while you try exorcism after exorcism and then one day you realise it’s just gone (or at least I hope so!)

    Great post x

  3. Katielase
    Posted June 17, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I love this. And it’s not just about how you look, I got my self worth all muddled up with academic achievement and had a bit of a breakdown at uni about who I was and who I was allowed to be. We have this overwhelming tendency to want to label people, and ourselves, to see how we all fit but no label ever sums up the whole of a person, and labels set up just more ways in which you can find yourself wanting.

    This is basically the message I want to send my children… you are enough. Always.

    KL x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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