Self-Confidence Struggles: Why every woman should see ‘I Feel Pretty’

Health and Wellbeing, Personal / Monday, April 23rd, 2018

I went to the see Amy Schumer’s new film ‘I Feel Pretty’ on Friday night and the story got to me so much that I started writing as soon as I got home. I mean, after all of the drinking and socialising and things that a normal person would do on a Friday night, of course…

This blog isn’t a review of the film, but it is certainly inspired by the film’s theme: self-confidence. Self-love / self-confidence is a hot topic right now, and I’ve seen loads of posts / articles on it recently, but I figured the more the better because us girls can do with all of the encouragement we can get!

In ‘I Feel Pretty’, Amy Schumer’s character Renee – who struggles with feelings of deep insecurity and low self-esteem that hold her back every day – hits her head in a (painfully funny) spin class accident and wakes up believing she is suddenly a supermodel. Her new self-image causes her confidence to rocket and she is empowered to live her life fully and fearlessly and she of course gets into some fucking funny situations as a result (because what else would you expect from Amy Schumer?).

The film had me howling with laughter the whole way through, but at the same time I had this lump of emotion in the back of my throat as if I could burst out crying at any moment (which I did, several times FYI; my mascara was all over my face). At the start of the film, Renee has zero confidence and you can see that in every aspect of life: from the anxiety of trying to order a drink at a busy bar, to feeling scared to attend an exercise class in case people judge her, to telling herself she isn’t good enough for a job that she’s actually overqualified for. She represents every woman who has lacked self-belief at some stage in their life, and I (along with every other woman in the cinema, I’m pretty sure) related to her so much.

So, when Renee hit her head and had this sudden change of self-confidence, it got me thinking about how silly it is that we as women tend to naturally put ourselves down and hold ourselves back – for no reason other than because we listen to the doubt that is fabricated in our own heads. A couple of examples:

“I’m not qualified enough”

There’s a scene where Renee sees an ad for her perfect job. She reads through the list of required qualities and realises she has everything the position asks for, but still manages to convince herself that she can’t do the job. Hands up if you’ve been in this situation?! I certainly have – plenty of times – and have probably missed out on opportunities because I’ve not deemed myself ‘good enough’ for the position, or shut myself down before even giving myself the chance to try. In fact, I did a whole blog about it (Honest New Year Resolutions). I have plenty of extremely bright, likeable and amazing friends who have the exact same confidence issues when it comes to their careers and I think they’re nuts, but have double standards for myself.

As the old saying goes: the only person holding you back, is you. Next time you’re debating over whether to apply for a job – just go for it! Even if there’s one or two things you aren’t sure you could do, you are more than capable enough to learn; don’t ever think otherwise.

“I wish I looked like her”

One of the parts of ‘I Feel Pretty’ that hit me the hardest was a scene where Renee comes home, takes her clothes off and looks in the mirror, and tears fill her eyes as she looks at her reflection. Like most girls I am guilty of looking in the mirror and commenting on how ugly I am or how fat my thighs look in an outfit – and all it does is spread negativity.

Before I lost a lot of weight, I used to see girls with great bodies and I would cry because I didn’t look like them. Looking back, I was never, ever unattractive. No one would ever call me fat (apart from the odd drunk male who I had probably just rejected at a bar two minutes earlier) – the only person who thought that was me. At the time if I saw someone who had the same body shape as me I would never think badly of them – I purely had a bad image of myself. It took losing weight to help me with that, but I should have been happy with myself regardless. And I think this is something every girl can relate to; every one of my female friends is beautiful but they all have things they don’t like about themselves that they talk about in our WhatsApp group chat – and nobody else sees it but them.

But when you look in the mirror, who the hell is to say what ‘pretty’ is? We look at photos of people on Instagram and what we deem to be perfect and compare ourselves to people we aren’t built to look like (read my blog about Instagram and insecurities – for more). Lord only knows who made the rules that make us all strive to fit into that one bucket when in reality we are all completely different. So what’s the point in wasting the life you’ve got wishing you’re someone else? Make the most of what you’ve got and focus on the things you like about yourself; not what you’d like to change.

We should all feel pretty

What I took away from ‘I Feel Pretty’ was to stop taking life too seriously. It’s easy to get lost in your own self-doubt, but at the end of the day it achieves nothing. Every woman should act a bit more like Renee when she thinks she’s a supermodel (wearing fully pink outfits like she does is also encouraged; I wish I was brave enough to pull that off). Care a bit less about that cellulite on your legs, or spot on your face; try to bring a positive attitude and even if you don’t believe in yourself, fake it ‘til you make it.

Remember – all the negativity is in our heads, so don’t let your thoughts hold you back!

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