Girls and Self Love
What’s the first answer that pops into your head when presented with the question, “Do you love yourself?” Like most women, you might be a tad hesitant to say what really comes to mind. In a global study by Dove, The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited, it’s stated that a whopping 80% of women don’t see their own beauty. I too have fallen into that category of those who struggle to find something to like about themselves, and I can say personally that it’s an uphill battle I always felt like I was losing. Pretty is everywhere, but why couldn’t it be in me?
Self hate is ingrained into us when we scroll through Instagram and compare our makeup to a beauty guru with two million followers. It’s ingrained into us when we compare our body types to Kylie Jenner or Jennifer Lopez. It’s ingrained into us by us. There’s a little voice in your head seems like it will never go away. It’s the voice that tells you to take the makeup off because it doesn’t look as good as someone else who did it. It’s the voice that tells you to lose weight because you don’t look as good as the girl on the magazine. It’s the voice that says, “You’re ugly.” We can all admit that the thought has passed through our minds at least once, but what exactly makes it true? There’s definitely not a picture of every girl in the world under the definition of ugly, so what makes a girl with so much beauty in her say such a thing?
Social media has played a huge part in the way women see and feel about themselves today. The world has socialized women into thinking that they have to look a certain way to be considered beautiful, when in reality we all have beauty within ourselves. Whether we have the perfect nose or not. Things are always easier said than done, but learning the value of yourself is the best thing you can do for your self-esteem and confidence. Instead of pitting ourselves against each other, maybe it’s time to help one another see our worth and start teaching the importance of loving yourself first. Loving ourselves is the first step to finding happiness within us. The most amazing thing is that we are all beautiful, simply because we are uniquely ourselves. Each with both hidden and known talents that make us our own person.
As I mentioned earlier, I have also struggled to see the beauty in myself and my talents. I became self conscious when I started to listen to other’s opinion of me, and consequently, their opinions became my own. During middle school, I went through a phase of covering my eyelids in the darkest eyeshadow and dyeing my hair the darkest black. I painted my nails black and wore black clothes. Twelve year old me thought she was killing it. But really, I was just trying to hide the fact that I didn’t like my bare face. It took me until my senior year of high school to finally accept and realize my natural beauty; it was the first year I roamed the school halls without a drop of makeup on my face, and it was pretty exhilarating for me. I could look in the mirror and be okay with what I saw and it felt like a complete miracle. I didn’t roll out of bed one day and automatically love myself though, because you can’t expect it to happen over night. I learned to take it one day at a time and to not rush the delicate process.
I can’t place the name of the video or who the video was by, but one day I found some type of motivational video. In it, the vlogger was talking about how to be at peace with yourself and said something along the lines of, “This too shall pass.” In the moment I was watching, I had to pause the video and write the saying down. Hearing it struck me, and had me really think about the negative emotions I had let control my life for so many years. This saying inspired me to try and have a new mindset, telling myself that it was okay to have the insecurities and self doubt because those types of feelings will always pass. I finally felt like I had control of whether or not I basked in my sadness, in my insecurities, or in any bad feelings that I was familiar with. I started to write on post-it notes, and I put encouraging and loving messages on the squares and posting them on my mirrors, binders, and notebooks. I started to realize that I am not perfect, nor is anyone else--perfect can only be portrayed. I had to learn to stop comparing myself, and start to learn compassion for myself.
The more time that went on working on switching my mindset and being nicer to myself, the more I went out with less makeup. I gained more confidence within myself and let the world see the raw me. I didn’t let others opinions get the best of me, because I knew I didn’t have to look a certain way for them. In fact, the number one response I got to wearing no makeup was, “I couldn’t even tell.” Can I say how much of a relief that was for me? The people that I’ve gone to school with for the past four years don’t even care whether or not I’m drawing eyebrows on my face. I realized I was the only one who was making it seem like I absolutely couldn’t go anywhere without some type of makeup on my face, and I realized I didn’t have to listen to my negative feelings.
Time to time, I still struggle some days looking in the mirror, but I understand that the feeling won’t last forever and I go about my day. I’m reminded no one else looks like me, no one else has the talents I do… I am uniquely me. I would like every girl to be reminded of her uniqueness and that we are all beautiful inside and out. There’s no point in trying to be like another girl when you are already you; the only you in the world. It’s okay to not have perfect features, perfect hair, or even the perfect body. Like Bruno Mars said, “You’re amazing, just the way you are.”