I'm A Model + Had Low Self-Esteem. How I Found Calm In A Competitive Industry

mbg Contributor By Kate Eckman
mbg Contributor
Kate  Eckman is a leadership and life coach, motivational speaker, and author of the blog Love Yourself, Love Your Life. She attended Penn State University where she received her bachelor's in communication, and went on to earn her master's in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

I work full-time as a model. I’m what the industry refers to as a plus size model because I am bigger than a size 4/6.

I’ve spent years looking for validation in all the wrong places — model castings — where clients judge us based on hair color and hip size, and society assumes we should all be a size two with big boobs.

When I book jobs, I feel validated. I’m busy, I’m making money, I can post my work on social media, my friends and relatives like seeing me in magazines, in stores and online.

And then I lost a major client.

A new person in charge decided to shoot with smaller models. Another longtime client decided to switch things up and hire all new models, so I was dropped.

I was going on more castings than I ever before but I wasn’t booking jobs.

Being in alignment with a greater power has given me my power back.

My breaking point came when I was up for a huge national campaign and the casting director told my agent she loved me and thought I was a perfect fit. I didn’t get the job.

I remember walking down the street crying. I knew the decision wasn’t personal, but it felt that way.

I know the business is extremely competitive and has nothing to do with how nice I am, how smart I am, how hard I work.

Despite knowing better, I started down a dangerous spiral of, “Why don’t they like me? What’s wrong with me? What do I need to change about myself?”

The “I’m not good enough” thoughts were racing through my mind and I felt my breathing start to change. I was having a panic attack on Park Avenue.

After a good cry, a good meal and a good conversation with a dear friend, I went home and told myself something had to give. I always thought of myself as one of the happiest people I know, and there I was having weekly meltdowns. It wasn’t healthy.

I know that happiness begins and ends with me, but I was in too much pain to shift my thoughts.

In admitting to myself that I didn’t have all the answers, and surrendering to something greater than myself, I experienced a kind of peace and freedom I haven’t felt since I was a child. For me, this meant turning to my faith and accepting that God has a plan for me.

Releasing my need to be validated by others — which I often justified because a client’s validation of me paid the bills — and turning instead to the grace of a power greater than me to guide me to love and validate myself has saved my life.

When I get my ego out of the way and ask for the highest energy of the Universe to speak to and through me, and show me the way, meltdowns are replaced by miracles. I expect them now.

That desperate need to control outcomes has been replaced with acceptance of what is. Not everything is meant for me and I am OK with that now.

Now, when I don't book a job, I'm fine with it. The obsessive thoughts over what I could have done differently or better, or stories I used to create about not being good enough have been replaced with excitement about what bigger and better plan is in store for me.

One of my favorite mantras is, "This or something better." So when I don't book "this" job, I know I'm about to land something better and perfect for me. I live in faith now, not fear. I go in, I do my best, I have fun, I smile and give it my all. Then I release it. If an old thought pattern tries to creep in, I acknowledge it, take a deep breath and exhale it. I know it's just a thought.

I begin and end each day with a guided meditation. This commitment to stillness is manifested in inspiration, joy, peace, clear focus and creativity. When I live my life from this place, I'm in the flow and don't have to try as hard — jobs, relationships and opportunities just seem to open up organically for me.

For me, it's a miracle that I'm able to practice self-love instead of constantly beating myself up with negative thoughts that don't serve a purpose. That’s what I'm committed to every day: Small acts of self-love to validate myself. Going to the gym. Writing. Meditation. Prayer. Getting energy work done. Eating food that nourishes my body. Making a friend smile. Creating the space for people to live in their truth. I'm finding that when I shine, I am giving others permission to shine too.

I’ve discovered that being in alignment with a greater power has given me my power back. I can relax. I trust. I know that the Universe has my back. I'm taken care of, and even when it seems things aren't lining up in my favor, I quickly see how everything is happening for me.

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