I didn’t like my body

This article was first published in January 2020.

Coree first started to feel insecure about his body in secondary school when, along with his classmates and peers, he went through the trials and tribulations of puberty.

As a 14-year-old boy, it was a confusing time that left Coree feeling generally uncertain about his body despite him knowing there wasn’t anything specific about his physical appearance that he disliked.

Most people will be able to relate, to some extent, to the feeling of being uncomfortable in their body at this a crucial point in teenage development. For Coree, however, this feeling of creeping uncertainty followed him like a shadow into adulthood.

In my head I wasn’t always really happy with the way I looked.

Coree’s first step to overcoming his self-doubt was ‘recognising and realising’ that his negative thoughts were ‘distorted’. As he grew up, his identity and sense of self developed, so he was able to look back and see how the worries he once had are now no big deal.

Now older and wiser, Coree prioritises self-care to make sure that he practises kindness towards himself, which pushes away his negative self-talk.

Coree also made a self-confessed drastic change to his appearance by cutting off his dreadlocks, because he felt he was hiding himself behind them. He notes that there may be other small adjustments people can make to their outward appearance, to help change their perception of themselves. But regardless of whether you can (or even want to) change your outward appearance, it is most important to work on how you feel about yourself, to shift your perception of yourself in a positive way.

After recognising his insecurities were holding him back from doing fun things, Coree made some changes. With maturity, Coree is able to challenge his constant self-comparison with others, and now feels more empowered to be himself. Coree now enjoys swimming on holiday with his boyfriend, without a t-shirt to hide under.

Don’t let the past dictate your future.

His advice to anyone else feeling generally insecure about their body is that finding and being comfortable with yourself is a process. Trust the process and #selfcare!

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher, or another trusted adult. If you're struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you’re in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Childline, where you can speak to a counsellor. Their lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

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