“I have grown to fully love myself.”
I’ve always wanted to say this confidently, without any doubts, but to be quite honest – I still feel a sense of insecurity sometimes. I love that there are celebrities and online personalities who are advocating self-love, stripping their makeup off and spreading the message of body confidence, but I think a lot more needs to be done.
I’ve been noticing that many of my own girlfriends and female family members feel insecure about their bodies and the way they look. One of them recently asked me, do you think it’s genetic that we feel this way? I really don’t believe it is. I think it’s an idea and expectation that we picked up from the media, our peers and the people we surround ourselves with.
Our social media is filled with images of women showing off their perfectly toned bodies. The health and fitness movement is stronger than ever this year. It’s seen as cool to post selfies at the gym and pictures of the oil-free, sodium-free meal we had consisting of something like quinoa and steamed vegetables.
But is this putting more pressure on women? That we need to slim down our bodies and constantly be at the gym? Should we feel ashamed that we had a hamburger and a chocolate molten lava cake for dessert, both in one sitting?
I’m not saying we need to be able to eat badly and never work out, and not be embarrassed about it. I just think we need to feel free to live our lives the way we choose to. I don’t think we should wake up each morning feeling unattractive. We need to create a world that is filled with love—love for ourselves, exactly the way we are.
I think some of us, maybe even more than we think, feel trapped in this life. We feel surrounded by people that show us that we need to look a certain way, and to be a particular weight, in order to be considered attractive (this applies to men, too).
It’s a subtle thing—their messages can be that we need to start living healthy lives. But what is healthy? And is that truly reflected in media messages? Does a healthy life consist of only whole grains, oil-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diets? Does it mean exercising two hours daily? It’s all good if that makes us happy, or if it makes us feel more energized, or if it’s part of our job.
But we shouldn’t have to hide who we are. If we want to post that makeup-free picture of ourselves, we shouldn’t be judged for it. We need to realize that our relationship with ourselves is the most important.
Are we happy with who we are as people? Have we given back to our communities in a significant way? Have we made a difference?
I think these are the questions and issues that we should busy ourselves with, rather than the number on the weighing scale, our appearances, and the way others perceive us.
I believe each one of us is capable of doing amazing things, if only we can find a way to adore and cherish ourselves the way our loved ones do—just the way we are. And when we do, we will be the representation of self-love. We will make a difference in others’ lives. We will influence them to be the best versions of themselves.