Many teenagers struggle with body image issues and celebrities aren’t exempt from that problem. Before they were famous, many celebrities felt they were ugly and unattractive. However, many discovered their confidence and went on to become beautiful swans who are wiser because of the experiences they had in their teen years.
We’ve picked a couple of our favourite celebrities who’ve battled body negativity and come out stronger on the other side. We hope their stories inspire you and give you a confidence boost.
Taylor Swift’s awkward teen years
As you probably know, Taylor is a multi-millionaire whose award-winning songs have topped the charts around the world. A songwriter for many years, she pens songs that are heartfelt, honest, and empathetic. In spite of all the fame and fortune, Taylor remains down to earth – she regularly posts personal notes on social media to her best friends and shares cute videos of her cats.
Taylor is one of the most stylish celebrities in the world today. But she wasn’t always so sure of herself, especially in her teen years. Earlier photos reveal a slightly chubbier-looking Taylor who admits to not always picking the right hairstyle. As an in secure teen she drew excessive beauty marks on her skin in an attempt to appear prettier than she felt she was. Over time, Taylor became increasingly self-conscious, which in turn made her more likely to be victim for rejection by her peers.
Since those dark times, Taylor has re-discovered her confidence and given herself permission to express her own style. More importantly, she has learned to love and accept all her good points and flaws. The result? Her first teen romance was with Joe Jonas. Not a bad first boyfriend!
What we like most about Taylor is that she is quick to support young people who are suffering with similar body image issues she struggled with in the past. The lesson is simple: Be patient! Many changes happen to your body during the teen years. It can be difficult at the time and you can’t control it, but things will eventually get better as you grow into your adult body.
Matthew Lewis took control of the situation
Matthew Lewis was the gap-toothed young actor who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter series. Puberty brought an unexpected set of challenges as Matthew grew quickly to over six feet tall and turned into a gangly teenager who had not yet discovered his style.
Nevertheless, Matthew embarked on a nutrition and exercise program. He also got some help from his dentist to correct his crooked smile. These efforts vastly improved his confidence.
Now sporting classic good looks, Matthew has since gone on to act in several TV and movie roles and continues to pursue a career on both film and stage. He is a classic example of the ugly duckling that turned into a swan. His example inspires teenagers who are battling body image issues all over the world.
Love yourself first, then the romance will follow
Many people are dissatisfied with the way they look. There are several causes of body negativity, including puberty, unrealistic expectations (e.g. trying to look like an adult model who has been edited and airbrushed in a magazine), media ideals and peer pressure. It affects over 90% of teenagers worldwide, with girls more likely than boys to have a poor self-image. A 2016 Yahoo health survey found that 94% of teenage girls and 74% of boys in America have been body shamed.
Sometimes those feelings can result in teen depression, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Clearly, these are serious issues. You need to speak to your Doctor if you’re struggling with any of the above because they can help you get professional guidance.
Fortunately, having a poor self-image is not a life sentence, and there are several steps you can take to achieve a more positive view of your body:
Steps to a more positive body image
- Learn to appreciate all the things your body can do, such as dancing, swimming, and any physical exercise you especially enjoy. Your body also houses and feeds your brilliant and amazing brain.
- Surround yourself with positive people who love you unconditionally, no matter how you look. Whether or not they’re in the ‘cool’ crowd is entirely irrelevant. They love you for who you are, and that’s what matters most!
- Stop paying attention to the social media posts and other sources of information that shame you for not looking a certain way. After all, most of those SnapChat and Instagram pics have been taken using filters!
- Love your body by eating well, getting enough exercise and pampering yourself from time to time.
Body negativity can damage your self-esteem and quality of life if you allow it to. So take these simple steps to reinforce your sense of worth, regardless of how you look, and sooner or later someone will fall in love with you just the way you are.
What advice do you have for dealing with body image issues, improving self-esteem and experiencing teen romance? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.