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I feel like I know what bridezillas are made from…insecurity
One of the things I really enjoy about running Nu Bride and having a background in mental wellbeing, is being able to get up close and personal with you and answer some of your questions surrounding the emotional aspects of planning your day. The ‘stuff’ that often gets glossed over, or completely forgotten about. I’ve always loathed how the term bridezilla is so often thrown around in the wedding industry to describe a ‘females’ behaviour during her planning. Behaviour that is likely to be caused by something that requires our understanding, not judgement.
Today I want to talk about insecurity, after I received this honest email from a reader:
I’m having an issue that I don’t think is unique to me.
As a bride, who’s put on some weight since when I was younger I feel extremely self-conscious and I always tend to dress like a skinny girl, as someone who was thin. I was convinced I’d lose enough weight for my wedding dress and I have lost some, but I don’t feel that it’s enough. The bumps I was hoping would go away haven’t.
As an immigrant I don’t have a lot of local friends and family and people are travelling around the world to come attend our wedding and I feel extremely worried and self-conscious that they’ll see that I’m not pretty any more. I don’t even know why I care, I know my fiancé doesn’t mind.
I find myself getting so down, inward thinking and then becoming nasty towards my thinner friends or bridesmaids and I hate myself after. I don’t want to be that person, but I feel like I know what bridezillas are made from – insecurity… Please help.
So I am picking up on two major points here – pre-wedding pressure to lose weight and conform to a perceived beauty standard and the overarching factor; insecurity.
Insecurity stems from lack of confidence, anxiety or uncertainty about ourselves, or generally feeling threatened.
We have a presupposition we use in the therapeutic world that is worth remembering here:
People are NOT their behaviour
I think this is a great example, so many people in the industry and beyond flippantly and often disrespectfully use the terminology ‘Bridezilla’, as if all brides are unreasonable, mad, crazy, irrational (insert applicable) implying that grooms behaviour is rosy . Perhaps this is yet another form of misogyny. If someone is acting uncharacteristically it is often as a result of pressure, stress, insecurity or not being able to cope in some way, or something bigger. Our behaviour is often a symptom of, or reaction to something deeper. We need to have more compassion about how we perceive each other and how we treat ourselves. Let’s start here…
What is REALLY going on?
Photo: My Heart Skipped
Get curious about yourself and the origins for your insecurities. What is really going on?
It’s likely that these feelings didn’t just stem from your wedding planning, but have been there in some form before you were even engaged. Your wedding plans and desire to lose weight have no doubt triggered it.
Try to better understand what is contributing to your behaviour so you can address it. Note how you are feeling at the time, what is your environment, who is around you? How are you feeling at the time? What can you do to move yourself away from a situation that feels overwhelming or is triggering behaviour in you that is uncharacteristic?
Start journalling and noting things down so you can recognise patterns of behaviour and if you don’t like what you are noticing, you’re able to take action.
Photo: Roberta Facchini
Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror?
Self worth is a BIG factor in overcoming our insecurities or lack of confidence. If our self-worth, our very foundation of who we are is healthy, we will not care about what others think about our appearance and perhaps more importantly, we will love our whole selves including the imperfections, unconditionally.
Self worth is an internal state of being or an assurance that comes from self-understanding, self-love and self acceptance. How we value ourself ‘in spite of’ our weight, our appearance, what other people are saying about us for example. If our self-worth is at its best, external events, achievements (or lack of) ultimately will not affect how you feel about ourself.
If our self-worth is healthy, we won’t feel threatened or envious by other people’s appearance or achievements and recognise that their achievements or state of being, does not and absolutely should not, diminish our own and if it does, check in with your self-worth!
On a scale of 1 – 10 how would you rate your self-worth worth right now?
Build yourself up
Photo: Roberta Facchini
If we start acting uncharacteristically towards other people, it’s usually a sign we need to look inwards. To get curious about what is really triggering our behaviour.
The best way to counteract insecurity is to build yourself up. Give yourself a confidence boost and start to practice self-love. Yup that’s right. Give yourself permission to love yourself. Not something we do often at all!
Start nice and easy;
- make a list of 10 things you are good at.
- What are all the good things friends and family say about you? Write them down.
- What 10 things do YOU love about yourself?
- What do you know your partner loves about you?
- Celebrate your ‘wins’! What are your successes this week? Write them down and celebrate them in some way no matter how small. For example, this readers’ goal was to lose weight and she has, so celebrate the work you have done. Acknowledge it.
Don’t settle for “I don’t know” or ‘I can only think of 3’, that’s too easy. Dig deep and focus inward. There is a lot a of gold in there. It might feel unnatural to do this exercise, because we don’t often focus inwards on ourselves. Now is your chance. I give you full permission to explore!
Do this every day, every week, every month. Whatever frequency you chose – be consistent.
Be Aware of Envy
Fact. Women are more susceptible to envy than men. Envy is often tangled up with a nice combination of guilt and shame. It can be utterly toxic – so the more we are aware of it the better.
Leave envy at the door, it is a TOTAL waste of energy.
If you are feeling envious towards others, it is a strong sign you need to focus on your own self-worth. We all have the capacity to live the lives we want – not versions of other people’s realities, or feeling pressure to conform towards stereotypes about what is desirable and beautiful and what in turn isn’t. Beauty, worth, success, desirability, it all starts from within. Our partners can see it in us so it’s important for us to see it in ourselves.
Do something new
Photo: Rupa Photography Gin Pairing at The Connaught
Learning something new is scientifically proven to give our wellbeing a boost. Really simple.
Learning something new massively enhances our self-esteem and confidence, it can also help build a sense of purpose and connect us with others.
So you could explore doing something new just for yourself or involving some of your friends or family to help form stronger connections, or make new connections. This builds a new community, especially helpful if you’ve moved to a new area or your friends and family aren’t nearby.
Learning to dance, confidence dance classes – like burlesque, cookery lessons, cocktail making, singing lessons, learning a new language, painting, learning a new sport or martial art, creative writing, enrolling on a new course.
The list is endless.
What have you always wanted to learn but keep putting off? Go and sign up to it now!
Create space to learn something new. It can make an enormous difference to wellbeing, self-worth and confidence.
Thoughts are not facts
Just because we ‘feel’ a certain way, does not mean that this is fact.
Challenge the truth. Most of the time our mind is playing tricks on us, we feel ugly, too fat, too thin, not good enough, not successful (insert applicable!) based on our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves, not fact. Find evidence to counteract this line of thinking.
Another thing to consider is that thoughts are transient, we can choose to let them go, or we can choose to allow them to linger, ruminate, hallucinate and to attach meaning and in turn strong feeling to them.
There is a quote I love by Michael Neill: “We are just one thought away from having a completely different experience” Simple when you put it this way. If we don’t negatively attach to our thoughts we have completely new experiences.
Easier said then done of course, so try it. Have a play, explore mindfulness to get learn how to be aware of your thoughts and feelings so you are better able to manage them. (Like reading: here’s a book I recommend.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Photo: My Heart Skipped
Take the first step.
Don’t be wrong and strong. Accept your insecurities and acknowledge them as they are – be vulnerable.
If you feel your behaviour has been uncharacteristic and not how you generally hope to carry yourself, own your own B.S. be accountable for your behaviour. You are in control of it, no-one else.
Apologise to those you feel you have caused upset to and give an insight into why.
I am so sorry I said / did XXX, I am feeling really XXX and am lashing out. I recognise how it must have made you feel. It was not my intention to hurt you, I love you…. and I am working on this….
Practice more compassion and less shame towards yourself. Hating yourself is such a strong word and will only perpetuate negative behaviour towards yourself.
Break the cycle.
Practice love instead, by building your self up. See what happens and how that feels different?
Talk about it. Be transparent with your friends and family, explain how you are feeling so they are also better able to support you. If they don’t know, they can’t understand and they definitely can’t help. Be open, be honest and be yourself. And that might be perfectly imperfect and that is ok. Remember your friends and family are rooting for you!
Let me know how you get on!