Love Your Tree with Jillian Rose Reed
by Jillian Rose Reed
Before I get into the meat of this blog, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Jillian Rose Reed, and it’s taken me nearly 29 years to learn how to love myself. The best part? I’m just scratching the surface.
I remember the very first time I judged my own body. I was probably around 12 when my best friend told me, “Boys like it when they can see your hip bones.” And from that moment on, I always thought about my hip bones. It was in that moment that I became aware of my own body. Aware of its impact on others, aware of how it made me feel about my overall self worth, and aware that there were things about it that I could possibly not like.
I didn’t have what felt like a particularly difficult time with self love as a teenager, but here I am over a decade later and that comment still pops into my mind every now and then. I think about it sometimes and wonder if it really was the tipping point that started my journey with self love. And I wonder who I would be today if comments like that just didn’t exist?
My self-love journey became increasingly more difficult in my early twenties. I was heavily involved in the entertainment industry, starring on an award-winning tv show, and very much in the public eye. I maintained a pretty healthy public image, but inside my anxieties were at an all time high.
It wasn’t until my show ended that I started to see all the ways in which I was falling short in the “self-love” category. I spent years of my life criticizing every choice I made from outfits on the red carpet to flattering Instagram photos. I compared myself to others frequently, and I always wondered if I was enough.
After my diagnosis with GAD in 2018, I had enough. I made the rather difficult decision to step away slightly from my career in front of the camera to pursue my passion of teaching young actors. It’s been through this journey, and through my beautiful students, that I’ve found true acceptance. It’s not an easy feat; it’s taken years to get to where I am today and don’t think I’ve even gotten close to where I know I can land someday.
But this journey has taught me so many things. It’s shown me who I really am. It led me to true happiness and from there I’ve been able to work on loving myself and my body. My tree. My everything. This body that keeps me breathing and able. This body that works every second of every day to keep me here on this earth.
Self love takes time, but I’ve been able to connect to a few outside influences that are completely under my control and that can help me work toward peace. My surrounding circumstances have a huge impact on my happiness, and my overall happiness definitely impacts my view of myself. I work to create my idealcircumstances daily.
For me that means keeping my house clean, decorating my office with vibes that calm me, setting achievable goals for my week, and always connecting to the things in my life that I’m grateful for. Keeping my home, my intimate happy place, clean and filled with positive vibes helps me feel calmer day to day.
Making a shift in my career was major. It’s hard to zoom out sometimes and see that the thing you’ve been doing for X amount of years isn’t serving you anymore. I had to come to terms with the fact that just because I chose this career didn’t mean I needed to do it for the rest of my life. Loosening the grip on this helped me tremendously. And finding a job that was sustainable but also made me happy really changed my life.
In the last year or so, I also completely turned over my social media. I unfollowed fitness pages or accounts run by people that made me feel BAD about myself. Comparison on social media can have a terrible affect on your mental health (I think we all know that), and finding the strength to unfollow those accounts can be hard. It’s rather addicting sometimes. But once I started following accounts that lifted me up...I was able to change my own outlook on social media and focus more on MYSELF than other people’s highlight reels.
I’m not saying these are the magic tricks to loving yourself, but these were a few first steps I took to achieve a greater overall happiness. Once I settled into this newfound “good mood,” I started working on myself. I practice being gentle, talking to myself the way I would my best friend, and always making sure I’m thanking my body for what it does for me every day.
I’m almost 29 years old, I have cellulite in areas I prayed I’d never, I have IBS, and my arms jiggle when I dance. I’m PERFECT. Some days I believe this more than others, and that’s just part of the journey.
Tomorrow morning when you wake up, look in the mirror and tell yourself something positive. Compliment yourself. Feel your breath moving through your body. Wiggle your toes, jump up and down. Feel how your body handles itself so gracefully. This body you have. This tree, it’s perfect! It’s been perfect since the day you were born...we just have to remind ourselves.
About Jillian Rose Reed:
Jillian is most recognized and beloved as Tamara in MTV’s “Awkward” and Simone on “Weeds.” She has appeared on several TV shows such as “Jessie,” “Hung”, “Lucifer”, “The Middle,” and much more. She was recently brought on to host “Present Tense with Jillian Rose Reed”, a web series by Maker Studios and Morgan Spurlock’s company, Warrior Poets. Every episode dives in head first to a different social issued facing Millennials. Presently, Jillian can be heard as the voice of Naomi on Disney’s animated TV series, Elena of Avalor.
Reed is also a full-time young actors coach and lifestyle blogger. Her ongoing support of Breaking The Chains Foundation as a Board Member and Celebrity Spokesperson includes featured pieces in several media outlets, events, and programs. She has participated in interviews and promos speaking out on behalf of Breaking the Chains, including Megan McCain’s “Take Part Live,” MTV ACT, Bello magazine, Glitter magazine, IAMM magazine, Pop Sugar, Whosay, and Huffington Post to name a few. Most recently, Reed was a contestant on the Buzzfeed Game Show, “Outside Your Bubble” playing on the behalf of BTCF.