Words by Benjamin Smith, Welfare Executive
Self-positivity is a hard thing to get right and I know personally, I have not gotten it 100% right; if I am honest with myself, I don't think I ever will.
I have always struggled to be a positive person and often fear or think the worst. I know I have a habit of focusing on the negative and nothing shows that more than when I was doing my GCSE Maths and knew I had gotten 2 or 3 questions in the first exam wrong. All summer, up to results day I truly believed I had not gotten the grade I wanted. I was focusing on those questions I was sure I had made a mistake on, even though I knew that one of the questions I had gotten wrong was that difficult it created a social media storm.
In the end, I had gotten the grade I wanted and by a comfortable margin as well. But that is just one example of how I focus on the negative, I have so many more. I had spent all that time focusing on the couple of questions I got wrong and did not think or consider the other 30 I had gotten correct.
This is something I have been trying to work on. I have always seen room to improve and that will always be a part of me, it was something that I was taught while at primary school and took to the extreme. But I have also got to start thinking more positively about myself and my future. I am currently in a position I dared to dream of, and when I won the 2020 DSU Elections, I scarcely believed. But it is that positive thinking and seeing yourself doing something positive that is so important especially during the current time.
With so much negativity around, with talk of new strains and an increase in cases we must look towards the future and those positives. Over 10,000,000 COVID vaccines have now been given and we are seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. We will get back to normal, and that is the information we should be focusing on, and this is a big part of truly being self-positive.
There are lots of different ways to be self-positive, the one everyone thinks about is body-positivity and everything that comes with that, but having a positive mindset and looking for the positives in a situation will help you in feeling better and your wellbeing generally.
Moving on, when I think about how I am at body positivity I think I am not too bad but could definitely improve. Of course, there are parts of my body I wish I could change. I do wish I were 6’2 and looking like Cristiano Ronaldo. But I do not. I have had to learn to like the way I look, and the key to me liking the way I look is to try to keep my weight down little.
Now, I am awful when it comes to diets, I love chocolate and cake, therefore I don’t really try to do them anymore. However, I have found that there is a balance and in that I have become healthier. In my first year, I think I lost a little weight, just due to the amount of exercise I was doing as part of American Football. This was not on purpose, but if you train 2 or 3 times a week running around a field, you do lose some weight.
Since then, I have not attempted to lose anymore weight, if anything I have tried to add muscle (I am very bad at doing so and lockdown ended that hope for the moment at least), but I am happy with where I am and have stayed relatively the same. I do sometimes wish I could lose a few more Kg but I when I do, I don’t lose it from where I want to.
I think I may have now found my ideal weight, even though I think lockdown has meant I have put on more than I would like, and I need to remember to settle at that and not reach to look like something I am not.
As I said earlier I am always looking trying to reach perfection, focusing on what I got wrong and not what I had done right, however, with my body I will never do so: no one will. I have started to learn what I look like at my best. I also know I will have to change what I think the best of me will look like in the future.
I know I will go bald in the future; the corners of my hair are already receding. This is not news to me. All my family have a receding hair line from my Dad to his twin, to both Grandads, to my cousins. To be honest, I was hoping to last till I was at least 25 before it started happening but what can you do (and don’t say a hair transplant). So, I know that in the future, in 5, 10- or 20- years’ time, I will have to change the way I think about myself. That is the next part of my journey. I have already begun accepting how I look and how I will look in the future.
The other next step of my journey is the part I find hardest. Thinking I look okay myself. I always seem to put myself down when I look at how others look. I know what me at my best looks like but I need to start believing that I look good to other people. I am always doubting myself, thinking I look ugly or that I don’t look as good as those around me. When I am about to go on camera the very last thing I do is check my hair even though I will often do it 10 minutes earlier so it looks as I want. Even though I have accepted how I should look, I need to remember that I do look good in myself.
We are all different shapes and builds. But I need to remember that I looks good. Yes, I’m not a supermodel. But then not many people are, and that’s what I need to work on. Now I have accepted my body shape, I need to remember that I look good in it. While, I know it won’t be easy, that is my next big challenge.