I have posted on this blog so many times about being happy, confidence and body issues. I'd say 2017 was were I personally really hit a wall with my own confidence. After turning 25 last November, I really started to look at my life. I'm a clever girl with a good job but I don't have a significant other or a baby - 2 things that many of my friends seem to have and that I assumed I would have by 25. 

I started to blame myself, or rather, my own physicality for the lack of these. I had convinced myself no man wanted me because I wasn't a size 10. Even typing it seems insane. I have friends of varying sizes with & without partners. I didn't really have any concrete evidence of my lack of partner based on how I look but my stupid brain had convinced me this was the case. 

I'm so hard on myself - in any situation I will always blame myself no matter how big or small. I realised this is a really bad habit to have and that it was feeding my confidence issues. I was constantly making myself the problem or apologising rather than being proud to be independent, curvy or different from the crowd. 

However, this week when on holiday and after a good bit of soul searching, I realised my own hang ups are normal. All women worry about the size of their tummy, boobs, back fat... whether they are a size 6 or a size 16. I decided to post a picture of me in my swimsuit that proceeded to go viral with so many women praising my confidence - little did they know I've spent so much time this year crying in fitting rooms, crying at the gym and generally feeling awful! 

I feel like there have been a few things that have helped me this year to grow in confidence... I hope my tips help you to grown and to #RockYourBody, no matter what size or shape you are. 

Go easy on yourself
I'm a girl's girl. I will always tell my friends (or random girls in nightclubs when I've drank too many gins) that they/their makeup/their outfit is fleeky. I'm a strong believer in telling people they look fabulous - especially my friends who I know have their own body confidence struggles. I was not extending this rule to myself, frequently putting myself down before going on nights. I'm making a conscious effort to try to be more positive about myself. If you are quick to criticise yourself, others will be too. 

Surround yourself with body positivity
Around my birthday last year I moved jobs and with that came new work friends. One of these has turned out to be a ride or die friend - the type I know that will be clapping for me the day I get married. I've never met someone with such a fantastic outlook on life. She encourages me no end - the best thing she ever told me was that I'm such a prize and that I shouldn't need to convince myself of this. Her values on life align with me so it has been the most amazing thing to have someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself. Find someone who does this for you, whether it be a work friend, partner or parent - it has made a huge difference to my life! 

Treat yourself
A huge part of me feeling awful about myself was the lack of 'chill time' I had. I was running around from blog events to work to other commitments. I had very little time at home to get a shower, do a face mask and do my tan - simple things that make me feel like the best version of myself. I am trying to get into better habits of having a daily time to look after myself - whether that be an hour in the gym or a 10 minute mask before bed!

I am so aware in writing this post that many women struggle unendlessly with their confidence. I've been on such a journey this year with mine - with very anxious periods and down periods where I have felt pretty worthless. Improving my confidence has started with myself being honest about why I struggle & being positive in my outlook about myself. I'm not encouraging everyone to post a swimsuit picture but the largest thing I took from doing that was that women are mostly kind & clap for other women. Over 200 women commented on the post and said I looked great or they wished they had my confidence. No one talked about my back fat, but rather my smile, contentment and confidence they felt was coming from the picture. Confidence, like happiness, has ebbs and flows but I'm glad I have a healthier outlook on myself moving forward.