I Was Always Taught To Hate Myself

TRIGGER WARNING – BODY DYSMORPHIA, NEGATIVITY.

That was hard title to physically type. Mostly because I don’t want to have that mentality, and also because I’m sure it might be a shocking headline for many people to read.

I had the idea to write this blog post because of the influx of negative, nasty comments I received over the span of the last 2 weeks when I’ve posted selfies, throwback pictures, anything with my face in it on Instagram and Facebook. These comments have come from people I know in real life, and people who would call themselves ‘close’ to me. It was quite a shocker – but also something I expected and ‘saw coming’, based on where I live and the type of people who live here.

I’ve always tried to keep a positive front on my blog (I have, so far) but I do know that that’s not me. I’m the most pessimistic person masquerading as a optimist and it is the most hypocritical personality trait I have. I love uplifting people, I love telling them to love themselves, their bodies, their skin, their lives, but I don’t do it myself. I don’t practice what I preach. My depression and anxiety played a big part, and my mental health was always mocked, along with my physical appearance.

Body image has been a problem for me ever since I was about 11. It mostly stemmed from the fact that I was diagnosed with scoliosis at that age and had to wear a back brace for the next 5 years of my life. I was also born with a lazy right eye – so one side of my eye is slightly droopier and doesn’t have a double eyelid.

It took a lot out of me, my confidence went right down the drain. I couldn’t wear any of my old clothes because of the shape of the brace, my body starting growing weirdly because the brace was in the way, I ended up with wide hips, big thighs and an unproportionally smaller waist. My boobs never really grew, my bum never did either. But holy hell did my tummy, thighs and face expand.

In many Asian cultures, women are “meant” to be small and slim.

I’m sure many of you have heard that in Korea, it is a tradition for parents to gift their children with plastic surgery when they graduate from school. Despite it not being such a big thing here, I am aware many people are being “asked” to go for plastic surgery, some people are pressured into doing it by their family or partners, and some people have body dysmorphia, like myself.

At 5’2 and 53kgs, I wasn’t really considered slim. In the UK I could shop in the 9-15 section in New Look but the moment I came back to Singapore, I was a size L from H&M and XL from some Chinese stores online. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an L or XL, but because of the things that people said about me, I felt embarrassed and I felt bad about myself. I’ve always wanted surgery, I’ve always wanted to have some sort of weight loss procedure, I always wanted to do something drastic to improve my skin. People encouraged me to ‘fix’ my eyes and my friends asked me to go for surgery in Korea to shape my jawline and get a nose job. But I never did it because I was scared of also being judged for such a ‘taboo’ subject.

I grew up with a lot of criticism. People would tell me I was too fat, they’d tell me girls couldn’t have such bad skin like I did, my hair was “bad” because it was frizzy, unlike the Asian stereotype of straight, smooth hair, my thighs were ‘too big‘, my teeth were ugly and I should’ve gotten braces, my forehead was too high and I even had people telling me I needed facial plastic surgery. Even my complexion has been made fun of – I am pale with yellow undertones and my complexion been described as “sick-looking“, “disgusting“, “*retching noises*”. These are not exaggerations. At the age of 26, I still get these disrespectful comments and they still upset me because to a certain extent, I believe it too.

All these were said to me in disgusted, off-putting tones. Not a casual “You don’t look good today, Marissa.” More like a “Ugh, ew, you look disgusting today, what’s wrong with you?” I’ve had people ‘close’ to me tell me that my boyfriend called me beautiful and pretty only because he was my boyfriend and that was obliged to. Essentially, trying to tell me it was all lies.

When you grow up surrounded by people who tell you that you need to change almost everything about your organic self, those words in your head don’t go away.

It is 2020, I am still a self-deprecating human being, but I am slowly getting better.

It is an extremely excruciatingly slow and steady process, but I’ve got some amazing friends who have helped me look at myself in a good light, I’ve got a boyfriend who always tells me how beautiful I am every day for the 4 years we’ve been together and I’ve got my internet buddies who always hype up my selfies. You know who you are! Thank you for all that you do for me, especially those who won’t know me in real life.

This post has been of a very different tone to my usual, but I feel it is necessary. Body dysmorphia and negative body image is an important topic to be discussed, and I wanted to be real with you guys. If you’re one of the people who suffer with your inner demons or with people around you throwing pessimism at your face over your appearance, I’m so sorry you are going through this, as am I, but things will get better and we have to learn to accept who we are, and love ourselves.

All that has happened to me in the past and those that continue to happen still make me very sad. I still cry over it some days.

If you’re one of the people at the other end of the stick and you’re constantly bringing people down about their appearance for whatever reason it may be, please stop. It doesn’t help, and it only harms. You wouldn’t want that done to you either. Evaluate why you’re doing this, and work on the reasons.

Sending love and support to all those struggling with themselves during this time. My DM’s on Instagram are always open, as are my Twitter DM’s if anyone needs to chat.

Until next time,

92 responses to “I Was Always Taught To Hate Myself”

  1. I am so so sorry that people have treated you so appallingly.

    No one has any right to make another human feel this way, it really is disgraceful.

    Thank you for sharing so honestly, please, I know it’s easy to say but just remember how wonderful you are x

    Like

    1. That is so sweet of you, thank you, we can only hope the world can be a nicer, kinder place for everyone x

      Like

  2. This is such an eloquently written and amazingly honest post. The world needs more voices like yours, those who will talk about the difficult subjects and make people feel less alone. Thank you for sharing so openly ❤

    Like

    1. You’re very welcome, it is definitely an important topic that needs to be discussed x

      Like

  3. I think its so shocking when, as women, we stop to think about the messages we are sent and what we are told as we were growing up. This is a really honest and beautiful post, thank you for sharing it!

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    1. I know! It has become such a societal norm that it doesn’t even get questioned a lot of the time. You’re very welcome, always here to speak out x

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  4. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for all the horrid comments you’ve had to endure. This post has made me respect my own culture (Scandinavian) so much more, that sort of commenting would never be acceptable. But I’m so glad you’ve found real friends who support you, they are the most important people! And at the end of the day it’s only our own opinion of ourselves that actually counts.

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

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    1. Western cultures aren’t so blatantly (or rudely) critical when it comes to commenting on someone’s appearance and I’m grateful I spent 4 years living in the UK and could escape all of that. Thank you for your lovely comment x

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  5. Marissa, thank you so much for sharing such an honest and open post about something that affects so many people. I’ve struggled with body dysmorphia in the past – I know how awful it can be. But I wasn’t aware of what you said about people in Korea being gifted with plastic surgery for graduation? That’s seriously shocked me and I also wasn’t aware of just how “important” appearance is in that culture.Thank you for opening my eyes to that and I’m glad your on your own journey to love yourself because you’re fab in every way and don’t deserve to feel awful about yourself! ❤

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    1. Thank you so much for this sweet comment Jenny 😊 and yes, it is shocking when a lot of people learn about the plastic surgery ‘tradition’ in Korea. There are loads of YouTube videos out there documenting Korean citizen’s thoughts on it – it’s worth a watch. Pretty sad but also informative!

      Like

  6. Thank you for writing this, you are one incredible woman! So strong and such an honest and open way of writing. So much love for you and your journey!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, it means a lot to hear that! ❤️

      Like

  7. I’m very sorry that you’ve had to read those comments, you’re beautiful exactly as you are! I think as women we have it ingrained in our minds from such a young age that our bodies need to look a certain way & when they don’t we beat ourselves up over it. When in reality, we are all completely different and unique but we are all gorgeous no matter our size or shape. Thanks so much for sharing your story 💗

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    1. This is exactly what I needed to hear – thank you so much, it means a lot. I just wish everyone in the world could have that mentality too x

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I know it’s hard! I had dealt with this for years too, it’s refreshing to finally get to the point where you’re at least ok with yourself

    Like

    1. I’m not quite at that point yet, I still struggle every day but I do think I have improved over the past year or so x

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  9. I love the post. It is so important for us women to support each other, and you have my full support, hun! xxx
    I lived in the house where I was hated and shouted at when I ate more than I should’ve. I know the pain of listening to the negative talk. I am proud that you shared your story! It is very empowering to be brave like that! Well done x

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    1. This is so sweet of you! I totally understand, my living situation at home isn’t ideal right now either. The words can really stick in your head! Thank you for the lovely comment x

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  10. I am so sorry to hear about what you went through; I find stereotypes are often very damaging to the people who find themselves unique, and I cannot imagine the courage it took to write so openly about this, but I am happy to hear you are with people and friends who help you feel good about yourself.

    It shocked me to hear about plastic surgery as a gift for graduation; I think I would be hurt, not grateful, for a gift like that, but I am so glad to know you are sharing your story so that other people can learn from it.

    I love people who break a cycle of negative thought, and hope you continue on your positive journey.

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    1. The plastic surgery fiasco has become so accepted and ‘loved’ in korea and I’m sure other asian countries that people no longer feel hurt or offended when plastic surgery is offered to them as a gift. Personally I still would. Thank you for the kind message x

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  11. So sorry for this. I’m Asian too and I completely agree with that unbelievable beauty standards. Hoping you’d find yourself beautiful as you are and not mind those comments from other people. Sending hugs from the Philippines!

    Like

    1. Unfortunately this culture is very engrained into Asian upbringings. Thank you and sending you love from Singapore xx

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  12. Sorry you had to experience all of those horrid comments. It’s hard enough dealing with beauty standards when people aren’t pointing and telling you what they think you should fix.

    I’m happy you’ve broken the negativity and hope you can continue to do so!

    Like

    1. It’s not fully broken yet, but I am definitely better than before. Thank you xx

      Like

  13. What a brave post, the things people say to you really do stay with you for a long time. I am so angry about some of the things that have been said to you, people are so cruel.

    Like

    1. I know, I only wish everyone could be kinder x

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  14. It’s so inspiring that you shared something so personal. At least in some sense, I feel like so many other girls could relate to this. Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable and open. I’m sorry about all of the negativity you’ve had to endure and hope you’re able to surround yourself with people who see and appreciate the real you. (also I honestly am so surprised by plastic surgery as a graduation gift from parents!)

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    1. It seems I’ve surprised quite a few people since mentioning the plastic surgery! If you have time I’d suggest watching some YouTube videos on the plastic surgery culture in Korea within teenagers, it is very sad but interesting. Thank you for reading x

      Like

  15. I am sorry you had to endure this. This post is so important. Not only does it show your bravery, which is steps towards growth and passion; but it shows and tells others to be aware of this type of negativity that surrounds us each and every day, and most importantly to do something about it. Stories like this are not shared often enough, so I thank you.

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    1. I really think it is important to spread awareness of such issues especially when someone could be the toxic one and not realise. Thank you for commenting x

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  16. It’s very commendable to be so vulnerable like you are in this post! There’s a lot of unlearning a lot of us have to do and that usually happens when you grow up. I think in general it’s important to protect your energy from anyone ever trying to bring you down. If someone is going out of their way to tear someone down, it’s pretty sad because it mostly just reflects whatever they’re going through. Just remember that! Happy people don’t tear other people down.

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    1. This is such a sweet and thoughtful comment. Protecting my energy is definitely something I need to work on as I’m very susceptible to letting other people take over my emotions. Thank you for your advice x

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  17. I can relate for sure. It always seems that no matter what our body type, someone will always have something to say to you about it. Too fat, too skinny, too flat, too curvy…we can’t win! We just need to learn to love ourselves and block out others which is easier said than done for sure.

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    1. That’s exactly the problem, we will never be ‘perfect’, but that’s okay because that doesn’t exist x

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  18. What an incredibly scary post to write but it’s written so beautifully. I’m currently studying counselling which explains a lot in terms of how we see ourselves, the effects our thoughts have on us, the effects of what we see but also what other people say and draw attention too. We all have to unlearn some things, the good news is that it’s possible to do it. I completely agree with Sara’s comment above. Protect your energy!

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    1. I was indeed hesitant to write this post as I know the people who I’m writing about will probably read it, but it is too important to not be talked about. Thank you for the comment x

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  19. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve gone through your whole life feeling like this. I’ve definitely have dealt with my own form of self-depreciating dislike. I have gone a long way to work on myself, and realize & value my worth. I honestly have to say that this coronavirus has helped a lot with self-confidence. I wish you nothing but the best on your journey to self-love xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Like

    1. Thank you so much and I’m glad you have succeeded in loving yourself, I hope to reach that extent one day x

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  20. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I’ve always struggled with body image issues too and have been made to feel bad about that because there’s no ‘real reason’. It’s quite hard to spread the positivity online when you’re not that comfortable internally. But it’s amazing to see how much is out there now trying to encourage that. Thanks for having the courage to share your story! x

    Sophie

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    1. My problem is that I, too, am not confident myself, so when someone says something negative, I almost immediately believe it. Thank you for the comment x

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  21. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with this. As an obese woman, I can relate to dealing with negative comments from others about your looks. However, the older I understand why they stress “Beauty is only skin deep, but a beautiful soul will matter ten times as much in life.” Our physical appearances will change throughout our lives. We need to embrace whatever “look” we may have in our current times. (Now mind you, I still want to get to a healthy weight and have made great leaps in the last year to make that happen. However, I have stopped letting my outside looks determine what I believe and do in life. I have missed out on many wonderful opportunities by doing that.

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    1. I’m so sorry about the good opportunities you’ve missed, it is never too late to stop letting other people control how you conceive yourself, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself anyway 😊 thank you for the lovely comment x

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  22. I’m so sorry so many people put you down. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story, that takes a lot of courage. Sending good energy your way!!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much x

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  23. Wow, I can’t believe how CRUEL people have been to you. I saw your pic on Twitter; you are GORGEOUS! I myself have been put down and chastised for being unattractive for one reason or another. I’ve found that it’s always due to some degree of envy or jealousy or just pure bullying. After seeing your pic and reading this post, I couldn’t believe people have made you feel that way. Unfortunately, I’ve been there and done that. The wonderful news is that you are drop dead gorgeous and sweet and uplifting as a human being, inside and out and plenty of people here to recognize that.

    – love, Echo ❤

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    1. Unfortunately a lot of people get bullied for no reason at all, I have my good face days and bad face days, but to the people who want to be negative, everyone but them has a bad face day if you get what I mean. Thank you for the lovely comment x

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  24. I am so sorry that you have had to deal with this! This post has opened my eyes massively, it takes a lot for someone to be vulnerable at their own control! Your bravery is admirable! Thank you so much for sharing this part of you with us, I’m always a DM away if you ever need anything. Sending my love and positive energy!

    Like

    1. This is very sweet of you, thank you x

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  25. Thank you for opening up and sharing all the details. This needs to be said out loud. You are brave for doing that.

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  26. Ughh it’s so disgusting how we humans can be sometimes. Nobody in this world is absolutely perfect so the fact that they have even a negative thing to say about someone else grinds my gears. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but you are strong for being so honest, real and shedding light on this issue. I send you light and happiness 💕💕💕

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment x

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  27. This is so sad to hear 😦 i hate how so many of us girls grow up hating our bodies, trying so hard to make them be something they aren’t. we really need to change the narrative! 😦

    Like

    1. It is a very important topic! More people should talk about it 😊

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  28. Amazing post! This is so inspiring and such an important issue that should be stopped!

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  29. Wow, thank you so much for letting us into your vulnerable self and being brave enough to share something I’m sure wasn’t easy to write about. You’re write, society as a whole pushes down certain body ideals on us & i hope you get to a point where you truly love and accept yourself as you are because you are beautiful !

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    1. Thank you, I hope I can come to that point soon! X

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  30. I am sorry to hear that you were raised with such negativity and toxic energy in your life. Honestly, I think people often overlook the impact that their words can have on others. Especially now when everyone has the ability to hide so easily behind the security of a computer screen, remaining anonymous if they so choose. Suddenly it’s even easier to share hatred without having to take responsibility for the pain that is caused. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable. Conversations like this are the best way to start making a change.

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    1. Thank you, always looking to make the world a kinder place x

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  31. I didn’t know that parents in Korea gifted their kids plastic surgery, that sounds like such a negative environment to be in. This is such an important topic to talk about and I hope you’re feeling better now 💞

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    1. It is honestly such a horrible cultural tradition! I hope that mentality can be abolished. Thank you x

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  32. Marissa im so sorry that people have said those things about you. I also know what it feels like to have those comments stick as well. I hope we all learn to love ourselves xxx

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  33. This was a very brave post to share with everyone. Honestly you made me want to cry. I’m sorry for the negativity you’ve experienced because of your looks. I can relate a lot. It’s even harder with the current culture that is obsessed with social media. I have major insecurities, I haven’t started my YouTube channel because I feel I’m not pretty enough. Surround yourself with people that make you feel happy about yourself. So happy to hear about your loving boyfriend 🙂

    https://www.chicnpink.com

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    1. I’ve always wanted to start a YouTube channel but I absolutely hate my voice and I don’t consider myself good looking, so I never did, and probably never have. Thank you for the comment x

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  34. This is such an amazing post and I’m so sorry to see that you went through such horrible things! I’m so glad to hear that you have supportive friends and a wonderful boyfriend, and that you’re slowly beginning to see yourself in a more positive way x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

    Like

    1. My supportive friends and boyfriend are one of the best things in my life rn x

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  35. Thank you for sharing something so personal and difficult to write about. I’m sure that most of us have experienced some form of confidence/self-hatred issues in the past so having people write publically about these things definitely helps us to not feel alone. Good luck on your journey of learning to love yourself x

    Roni♥
    http://www.myelevatedexistence.com

    Like

    1. Thank you so much x

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  36. Wow that’s crazy that parents in Korea gift their children with plastic surgery! I literally had no idea and will definitely be looking more into this subject. Honestly I’m so sorry that you’ve grown up in this negative environment and applaud you for having the strength to speak up about it. Also coming from an asian bakground I have dealt with similar body image problems, and I honestly think speaking out about it helps a lot. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. Meera-Abroad | Travel, Fashion & Food

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    1. I do also agree that speaking about it helps! It helps educate and it also sort of ‘forces’ people to realise that bullying and body shaming is a bad thing. Thank you for the lovely comment x

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  37. Body dysmorphia is a struggle for so many who will find you post relatable. I’m so sorry you had to experience such cruel comments from others. Just know they do not define you. I am happy you are speaking about this and working on feeling better in your own skin ❤️

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    1. Thank you for this lovely comment x

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  38. I can’t believe people are being nasty about your posts! All of these different “standards” are just opinions. We need to encourage people to embrace themselves and not have to adhere to certain looks. I think you look beautiful the way you are.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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    1. Thank you so much, that is so sweet of you x

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  39. It is so sad that people can be so cruel, thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life, it is heartbreaking to read but hopefully positivity shines through by having these conversations. Wishing you all the best! ✨✨

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    1. Thank you so much, that is very kind of you x

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  40. It is just so sick how people make horrible comments about someone. I’m so sorry you had to go through so much. You are not defined by their comments and your boyfriend is amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience

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    1. I am very lucky to be with the person I am with now 😊 thank you x

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  41. I have similar issues, I really hate the way I look and I don’t think that will ever change. I wish I could be one of these powerful, inspiring self love bloggers but I know it’s never going to happen for me xo

    Makeup Muddle

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    1. I’m exactly like that, sadly. I hope I can change as I would love to be genuinely positive about myself x

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  42. Marisa I’m really sad reading your post. I’m a mature blogger almost your grandmas age I would think. I popped over to your Instagram and saw how beautiful you are. Take advice from someone older and that is to keep loving yourself. I felt I was different to all.my peers when I was younger but you get where you want to be and will.probably find you will.be more successful and happier than all your doubters/haters will ever be. You are beautiful

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    1. Thank you so much Elaine, your comment almost brought me to tears. I’m so thankful you dropped me a message. Thank you for being so lovely.

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  43. Such an open and honest post! Thank you so much for sharing. I am on journey to try and change how I feel about myself, but is tough when you have been told other things.

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    1. Yeah, words from other people affect me quite a bit and trying to block it out doesn’t always work x

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    1. I’m sorry you’ve been through this too 😔

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  44. This is such an important topic to speak about. I definitely relate, the Asian community has an unattainable beauty ideal for women. When you don’t fit that particular mould, you become the topic of discussion among relatives and so-called friends. It does get better, I’m slowly embracing my curves with the help of positive influences – daily affirmations, amazing friends and a whole lot of self-love. Thank you for sharing your own experience dear.

    Tx. // Tajinder Kaur

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. I do hope it gets better, for myself and for everyone who goes through the same thing x

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  45. I definitely hear about these types of comments in the home, mostly from relatives. I feel like sometimes our family members are a little “too” close and feel like they can say whatever they want. I don’t know why they do it. Is it them projecting their own insecurities upon others? Whatever it is, it’s so annoying, and yeah, when you hear it so often, it gets to you. I hope you are able to separate yourself from people who do that – those kinds of negativity is so unnecessary.

    http://bloomingsuitcase.com

    Like

    1. That’s true! The closer they are the more they tend to want to speak their mind.

      Like

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