I was told that I couldn’t be a model, that I should not smile because I had an UGLY SMILE and my teeth were not pretty. I didn’t know how to respond. I went into a shell deciding that maybe they were right. And then I STOPPED SMILING, because I felt so self-conscious.
#RealTalk - Been there for sure and actually feeling it right now... it’s been a really challenging last few months. In September I realized I've actually been BURNT OUT all this year. That felt right but sounded like a bit of a shock. I mean so often you hear about burn out being these life shattering stops and breakdowns, but I was still pushing on. However, I've realized burn out can also be a SLOW EROSION. Slowly loosing motivation, passion, energy, drive, joy, until it's just so hard to keep pushing through and your body starts forcing you to stop...
I have always been self conscious! I have struggled with self esteem for quite a long time and recently I have become sick of it. I am sick of not letting myself let go and be me. I want to be REAL! Just recently I have learnt through my God that I am enough. I am special and I am purposed. I am me and there is no one I would rather be.
I don't need to worry about what people think of me anymore because I know being JUST ME is enough.
Just know how beautiful you are and being you is the best thing you can do.
She is clothed with strength and honor, and she can laugh at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25
p.s. Thank you Choose Real team,
I just wanted to let you know how awesome the work you are doing is. You are empowering girls like me to be ourselves and that is just amazing. I hope you realise just how great you guys are!
Being real to me looks like being genuine and vulnerable yet still holding on to the respect and values that make you who you are. It looks like stepping past the boundaries that fear has on us, that we face in our everyday world. Whether it be the words of the person you sit next to in school or something you read online...
Bella courageously shares some of her journey with mental health, inspiring us all that we are stronger than we think... I think the most important thing I learned is I am NOT MY OCD, I am not any of my illnesses, I am just a girl who had mental illness. I choose to be real and tell my story so that others can too, it's okay to not be okay and help is out there!! Thanks for letting me share all of this with you!!
My name is Sabrina - and yes I am poking my bare belly. I've always been self-conscious as a child about my weight, and even though family and friends always told me I was beautiful, I may have sheepishly smiled with thanks, but deep down never fully believed it was true... Being REAL to me means raw. Natural. Unedited. Uncensored. As you are. No games. No hiding. No cover-ups. TRUTH. Uniquely YOU...
Oh I am most definitely a recovering people pleaser! Comparison being my drug of choice for sure. What will people think of me if I am different, if I contribute to the discussion from my own point of view how will I be treated? Was I good enough to be in the team or leading the team just as I was? All of this internal dialogue kept me bound and second guessing for a long time. Looking back now I just think what a waste of precious energy!
What does being REAL look like for you?
Being true to what you feel. Not hiding behind a wall and covering up what makes you, you. Stand tall and strong for all your positive attributes, as well as not being afraid of what makes you human and vulnerable. We are all flawed. Let's support each other in this. This perception that every other person has it together is what fuels and further drives down anyone with feelings of inferiority.
What's stopping you? Or what use to stop you and how did you break free?
I have always been my own worst enemy. Believing that everyone had their lives sorted, knew who they were and were confident in their place in the world. I suffer badly from anxiety, which can be incredibly difficult to deal with on days where I doubt my self worth to the world. This is made worse by the fact that I don't look or act it, so nobody would know to see me. I am perceived as someone who has their life together, and come across as very confident and self assured. On my bad days I hide in bathroom stalls to avoid trying to deal with social situations where I feel out of my depth. I am stronger than ever with a solid circle of support around me, and I draw this strength from knowing my people will be there for me if I reach out in vulnerable moments. Every day is a new day to start again. Speaking out when I am feeling low has been the biggest thing I could ever do for myself, and others around me who gain their own sense of relief and clarity that they are not alone in the world. I don't hide behind my anxiety anymore. I own it. It will not own me. I have days I slip. But I put on a happy beat, reach out to my people, and practice some self love and meditation until I can pull through. And a healthy dose of excercise does miracles.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don't be so hard on yourself. You are doing ok, and you know what? People love you. Of their own free will. Give them enough credit to know a person worthy of this when they see it. You are unique, and you should own that. Don't wish you were more like someone else. You don't know their journey, or what they are going through. Just like they don't know yours.
Why are you standing with ChooseREAL / what does it mean for you?
It means to stop pretending we are OK if we aren't. And it's OK to admit that. Stand tall. Own your issues. Be real, and don't let them own you. You will be stronger for it. And you don't know whom you will inspire and give comfort to when they realise we all have our demons. Even when it appears to the outside world like we don't. We can beat them when we stand together, and offer a kind word and a strong shoulder to lean on in tough times.
Elena Liz Smith
I am a 30 year old medical sales professional. To the outside world, and those that don't know me, I have my life figured out and have nothing to bring me down. This is a misconception. Anxiety can effect anyone. It doesn't discriminate on social standing, looks or career. It doesn't care how others see you. It will drag you down if you let it. My message is, don't. Push through. Face your fears. At every chance, do something that makes you nervous. And if you fail, that's ok. We can't all do everything. But every success will bring you a step closer to realising your potential. Your abilities. You'll surprise yourself. You are amazing. And nobody except you can prove that. Prove it to yourself. And remember. You are not alone. That confident looking girl or guy next to you? I bet half an hour prior they were hiding in a bathroom stall fretting about this very moment. Be kind to them. And yourself.
What being REAL looks like for you?
Being REAL for me is about being authentic. Authentic is defined as "...of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine." Being confident in how I am different and unique is a way for me to be comfortable in being genuine and authentic.
What's stopping you or what used to stop you and how did you break free?
I used to be stopped by doubt and discouragement. Discouragement robbed me of courage to step out and make change. I'm learning to not give too much influence and space in my life to discouragement. Instead I surround myself with people who are supportive and encouraging.
Growing up in a broken home and a survivor of abuse, Rachael was hospitalised when she was 15 into a psychiatric ward with anorexia and depression. Later she dropped out of year 12 after being hospitalised again for attempting suicide. At this point she was informed she would never be able to work or study full time for the remainder of her life. Rachael has overcame these immense challenges and over the last 6 years used her experiences, largely in a voluntary capacity to inspire others that recovery from mental illness is possible. She is also an outstanding student in her final year of her degree at The Australian National University studying sociology. While studying in 2014 she self-published her story, entitled “The Skeleton Diaries” to provide insight, challenge stigma and to give hope to sufferers. Rachael has shared her personal story of recovery in high schools throughout Australia.
I kept saying to myself: "I'll do the selfie part when my skin is clearer/I've had more time to do my hair and make up/when I've tidied the house and there isn't washing everywhere". Then I realised - I am choosing real. Why would I want to contribute to such a campaign with a "fake" picture?! So here I am - in all my glory (or not) - as I am, no make up, pulling a weird face, but loving being part of this and being a voice for those who would be swallowed up by those same thoughts...
To me, being real is being honest with others and myself about where I am and what I want to do. It doesn’t necessarily mean being unafraid or confident all the time. I’m insecure about a ton of things! But I purposefully put myself out there to remind myself that I’m enough and to be of support to others who are going through the same things.
So excited to share this video with you! Michelle Poler is the amazing founder of Hello Fears - who bravely journeyed through 100 Days Without Fear, facing a different fear each day and inspiring millions along the way. She has put this beautiful film together in inspiration of the ChooseREAL Campaign! Standing with us as we encourage others to “choose to be you"...