Learning to Love Yourself

I started this blog about two months ago with the aim of spreading positivity after seeing how much negativity is online. You read stories about people telling others to hurt them self, see comments on people’s photos mocking them and passive aggressive memes shared with the sole purpose of marginalising someone. And have you ever read the comments on the Daily Mail website? The fact that some people take time out of their day to purposefully type such hateful, bitter comments makes me feel sick.

One of the negative narratives out there that has really struck me is the narrative telling us to not love who we are. Telling us we aren’t thin enough, our eyebrows aren’t shaped right, that freckles are ugly, our lips are too thin, our boobs are too small, you aren’t curvy enough, you’re too curvy, you need to have toned arms, you need to be constantly hair free, cellulite is a disgusting sin… I could go on and on and on because the list of contradictory and impossible things we are meant to be goes on and on and on.

It upsets me when I realise how much of this negativity I have consumed over the years. I have berated my body for gaining weight, for not toning quickly enough, for not being tall enough, for giving me boobs that mean I don’t suit certain styles of clothing, for not tanning easily, not having cellulite and stretch marks. I have filled my Instagram feed with people I will never look like because I am not meant to look like, then internally scolded myself for not measuring up to them. I walk to a swimming pool feeling sick with self consciousness. I walk into a bar or a restaurant and automatically feel insecure. I look at people and wonder if they are judging me, labelling me as ugly, thinking that I am not god enough.

The reality of those thoughts is that on one is labelling me as not good enough but myself. Every time I choose to pick out a societal perceived and media driven flaw, I tell myself and my body that it is not good enough. I fall victim of a narrative that wants me to buy the slimming teas, the overpriced makeup, to inject poison into my body.

And I’ve reached the point now where I think enough is enough. I’m tired of that nagging thought of ‘do I fit in’ or ‘am I being judged’ creeping into my mind. I’m tired of looking in a mirror with a screwed up expression instead of a smile. I’m bored of going shopping with an automatically negative attitude because I’ve told myself nothing will suit me or fit me right. I’m bored of saying every day ‘I feel fat’ or ‘I wish I looked differently’. Every time I make those comments or think those things I am doing a huge disservice to my body. This body has taken me to the other side of the world. It has been the shoulder to cry on for my friends. It has worn dresses and rocked them like no other body has. It has done me proud for twenty five years now and it is about time I started paying it the respect it deserves.

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Saturday is going to be my new self confidence post day. Whilst I’ll work daily on what I need to do cheer on my body the same way I cheer on an Instagram fitness models or celebrities I look up to, Saturday will be the day that I sit down and focus on doing my part to change the online narrative of what we are ‘supposed’ to be. I’m only one voice, but all it takes for me to change how I think of myself is the one voice inside my head. Maybe if one voice changes how it speaks to itself then others will too, then maybe that discourse of self loathing I see often see will be replaced by one of self love.

After all, we only get one body, why not spend your time loving it?

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