As a teenager I felt ugly. I truly thought no one could ever think I was anything more than averagely plain. I thought I was fat; I would squish my hip/tummy softness and hate it.
If I could somehow speak to the teenage ReeRee I would tell her it really will get better. That being a teenager truly sucks but it passes. That she could, and would, learn to feel lovely.
Throughout my early 20s I was feeling much better but still had dips in confidence. Along with wrinkles, age also brings wisdom, and with that, the belief that I am lovely just as I am.
Here is my basic list of things I did/still do to make sure I feel lovely.
1) Be naked more and see more naked bodies. I'm an only child and I didn't really ever see nudity growing up. This meant my image of the female form largely came from the media (a whole other discussion!). I have been about the same-ish size since I've been 14, which is as 12/14. I can appreciate that while I have soft squishy bits, I'm far from obese. Seeing my own body in the mirror more, seeing other women's true shape has really allowed me to not hate my own body.
2) Make an effort with your appearance and don't save your best clothes for best. If you look your best, you tend to feel your best. I love people who make an effort with their appearance. It doesn't really matter what fashion box you fit into, I appreciate effort. There is a train of thought that says if you can't leave the house without make-up on, you must suffer from low self-esteem. While in some cases this may be true, I choose to always wear make-up as it makes me feel better. It makes me enjoy being myself more.
Wear clothes that fit and flatter. All my knickers are a size or two sizes big, as it means I don't have that muffin top effect. Who cares what the label says! I used to refuse to wear dresses as I thought I was too 'big'. How riduculous. I was just wearing the wrong dresses.
3) Accept compliments. If someone says something about you, pause for a second, and then say thank you. Do not allow yourself to shrug it off with an excuse. Do not give a compliment straight back. Imagine the compliment is a gift. Someone has chosen to give it to you, and you are throwing it back in their face, or refusing to accept it. Take it graciously, with a smile, and allow them to give your their compliment. It is rude not to!
4) Hang out with people who make you feel lovely. If people don't make you feel accepted and lovely, spend less time with them. Make new friends. Find a new interest. Accept every invitation that comes your way.
5) Challenge yourself. Do things you didn't think you'd ever do. In this last year I have done things I never would have begun to imagine. I have met amazing people, and become a better person for it. Reflect on your past challenges and feel proud. Allow yourself to tell people - it isn't bragging. Be proud of the difficulties you have faced and overcome. It is great to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it builds confidence in ways you wouldn't believe.