“There are certainly things I would have done differently. But I’ve stopped wishing to be a different person than I am.” – People
Category: Self Worth & Esteem
“I’m so glad I’m still here. When I was in high school, my life looked pretty perfect. By holiday break of my junior year, I was in my first serious relationship, had finished a great cross-country season, and had picked up a part-time job at a restaurant , which I really loved. I had amazing friends, and I was doing well in my classes. But I was carrying a weight I couldn’t shake. Literally, I’d gained eight pounds, and it was all I could think about. Normally confident, I became self-conscious about how I looked. I started getting jealous if my boyfriend hung out with other girls. I had a thousand bad thoughts. I’m not pretty enough… I need to be skinnier… I started to experience anxiety, especially about my boyfriend graduating and going off to college while I was still in high school. We went through a very ugly breakup. The rest of high school I didn’t feel like myself, and it continued until my first year of college. I didn’t have a label for what I was feeling it’s not like I woke up one day and suddenly knew I was depressed. I thought of it as teen angst. I felt overly sensitive, fearful, anxious, and lacked happiness. I felt like I was falling apart and then things got worse. I got sick with mono and couldn’t compete on the cross-country team. Not only was running something I loved, but it was also how I thought I’d make new friends. Instead, I spent most of my time alone in my dorm room watching Netflix. And then my suicidal thoughts I’d had a few in high school started up. I told no one. A few months later, I was at a party that I didn’t want to be at. Suddenly I felt a huge weight on my shoulders, like a boulder. It became physically impossible to smile, and I felt an urge to cry that stemmed from deep within my stomach. The girls I was with noticed and made sure I got back to my dorm. The next morning I woke up and remembered the meltdown I’d had had the night before. It involved me crying hysterically, falling to the ground, and being so out of it the girls had to put me in my pajamas. I was shamed and disguised with myself and felt like everyone would be better off without me. I saw no hope, no future, nothing. That night, I texted hearts to everyone I knew, wrote a letter to my parents in a journal, and attempted to kill myself. My friends found me and called 911. For the first couple of hours after my attempt, I hated that it hadn’t worked. But as I really came to, I began to feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. The sense of relief I experienced when I realized I’m alive was something I cannot explain. I have another chance to find my passion, go to college, and even just spend a day with my family. Therapy helped me realize I’d had lenses on that clouded my view of reality. It’s not like every day now is sunshine and rainbows, but there is nowhere I’d rather be than here. To anyone struggling. Give yourself a chance for the cloudy lenses to come off it will change your life.” -Seventeen
“Keep going… don’t seek approval from anyone around you because they don’t see your vision.” -ELLE
“Kindness heals the world. Kindness heals people. It’s what brings us together. It’s what keeps us healthy. I was ra*** when I was 19 years old, repeatedly. I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going. And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it. That kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar. I would also beckon to anyone to try, when they feel ready, to ask for help. And I would beckon to others that if they see someone suffering, to approach them and say, ‘Hey, I see you. I see that you’re suffering, and I’m here. Tell me your story. I was a cutter for a long time, and the only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help. When I realized that telling someone, ‘Hey, I am having an urge to hurt myself,’ that defused it. I then had someone next to me saying, ‘You don’t have to show me. Just tell me. What are you feeling right now?’ And then I could just tell my story. I say that with a lot of humility and strength; I’m very grateful that I don’t do it anymore, and I wish to not glamorize it. One thing that I would suggest to people who struggle with trauma response or self-harm issues or suicidal ideation is actually ice. If you put your hands in a bowl of ice-cold water, it shocks the nervous system, and it brings you back to reality. I once believed there was no way back from my trauma. I really did. I was in physical, mental, and emotional pain. And medicine works, but you need medicine with the therapy for it to really work, because there’s a part that you have to do yourself.” -ELLE
“You mean if I lost weight, what would happen? Is my music and my weight so intrinsically connected that if I were to lose weight, I’d lose fans or lose validity? I don’t care! I lead a very healthy lifestyle mentally, spiritually, I try to keep everything I put in my body super clean. Health is something I prioritize, wherever that leads me physically. Like veganism, people were like, ‘You’re a vegan? What are you deep frying the lettuce?’ I’m not a vegan to lose weight, I just feel better when I eat plants. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it changes again. I eat when I’m stressed out, sometimes to the point I didn’t realize how much I ate. Anything can be harmful, but it comforts me in a way. It sucks that we associate weight gain with the negative thing that causes it. It’s mixing this beautiful thing that is food and nourishing ourselves with it but it’s the stress that’s bad the bad thing, not the 20 pounds. I feel very lucky because I don’t feel that weight gain is bad anymore. Nor is weight loss, it’s neutral. And food is fun. I love eating, and I have a chef now, and I’m not thinking about it. I had a brownie last night.” – Vanity Fair
“I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing. That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately, when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it. I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety, depression, body-image issues, eating issues, who hates to be touched, who has intense social anxiety. What was I doing getting into this business? But over the years I became a good actress. I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove. People can say anything about how I look, about how I talk, about how I act. But in seven years I never missed a job, canceled a job, was late to a job. No one can ever say that I don’t work my a** off. My immediate trauma response is people-pleasing. It literally makes me sick to my stomach if I leave somewhere and someone is unhappy with me, so I always go above and beyond, but the issue with that is that I get home and I don’t have enough for myself. For so long, I didn’t know what I was crying about. I always felt so lucky, and that would get me even more down on myself. There were people online saying, you live this amazing life. So then how can I complain? I always felt that I didn’t have the right to complain, which meant that I didn’t have the right to get help, which was my first problem. When you are forced to be perfect every day, in every picture, you start to look at yourself and need to see perfection at all times, and it’s just not possible.” -Vogue
“I started by making gratitude lists. I write down, using pen and paper, 20 things I’m grateful for. I repeat many of the same things, but every time I write down those people or things (my husband Ben, my health, our children, our future grandchildren, my career, our homes, my friends, hot baths, nourishing food) my heart warms and my whole energy expands. The trick is to be honest about what I’m truly grateful for and not to force things. It’s okay if all I can muster is ‘this bed, this glass of wine, this Planet Earth series,’ as long as I’m telling my truth. After we lost the pregnancy, I started doing positive self-talk out loud to myself. I talked directly to my body. ‘It’s okay,’ I said. ‘Thank you,’ I said, ‘for growing beautiful Ella.’ And as I thought of her, for the first time in days I started welling up with gratitude. ‘I trust we will do this again,’ I said as I remembered that about a fifth of all pregnancies don’t make it all the way. ‘You have a natural wisdom,’ I said, and my body does; I could feel it in my bones. Putting my hands on my head, I said, ‘I love you.’
Moving my hands to my face, I repeated, ‘I love you.’ I covered my arms, my belly, my butt, my legs, down my whole body, and ended at the tips of my toes, ‘I love you.’ And by the end of the exercise, I felt better. I felt connected to my body. I felt love for my body. I started doing this exercise every day, and my physical and mental well-being improved greatly. Then I started doing ‘the talk’ in the shower and it became a habit. You can apply this exercise to anything, whether you’re recovering from an injury or connecting with yourself after a lifetime of body-mind conflict. It’s about being in communication with yourself and appreciating what you have.” -People
How did the bullying you experienced in high school there affect you?
“I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you. You don’t even notice the way you’re acting and how you’re reacting. I went into a shell. I was like, ‘Don’t look at me. I just want to be invisible.’ My confidence was stripped. I’ve always considered myself a confident person, but I was very unsure of where I stood, of who I was.”
After a year of it, you finally told your parents and moved back home. How did you rebuild your self-esteem?
“A lot of kids go through this and don’t have the ability to get away from their tormentors. When I went back to India, I was surrounded by so much love and admiration for just who I was. My dad said, ‘Leave your baggage behind.’ And I tried to. In India I was in school, and I was onstage. I made new friends who were amazing and loving. I was doing teenage things, going to parties, having crushes, dating, the normal stuff. It just built me up.” -People
“There’s always going to be someone who hates you and someone who says something bad about you whether its true or not and you just have to in the end ignore or just learn to deal with it.” -Oprah Interview
“Say what you want to say. Be brave.”