I was reading a book over the weekend which is a shock in itself. I love books but in the mad rush that is my life, the only time I get to turn a page is when I’m thousands of miles away on a sun lounger, which sadly doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.
It talked about self love and how despite the fact we come into this world sparkly and bright, we chip away at our own confidence with every year. Through school we allow others’ opinions to define us and in general life rely on validation. Through education we’re graded, through our peers and friends we compare and it only takes a quick browse of social media to not feel enough.
Our natural reflex when handed with a compliment is to either disbelieve it or reject it point blank. We live in a world of likes, image editing and social media adding a gloss onto our lives providing the biggest filter of all. Heck, even the word ‘selfie’ made its sweet way into the Oxford Dictionary a few years ago. So why is it that the further we progress technologically, the further we regress as individuals?
Before I got braces I hated my smile and learnt how to pose in photos without showing my not so pearly whites. I spent almost two years fixing it and the first month I got them off, I still couldn’t smile. I’d gotten used to not being okay with my smile so that when it was ‘fixed’, it took a while to adjust. Now, it’s one of my favourite features and whilst the older we get, the more likely we are to pick ourselves apart, we’re also another day older of being in our own skin.
No matter how you might wish you were David Beckham or Blake Lively’s bod gives you goals, you only get one you when it boils down to it. The quicker you accept yourself on your terms, the freer you’ll feel. Don’t rely on your BFF or your SO to build you up. Sure they might tell you you look fly or comment with four flames when you post a pic on Instagram, but believe you’re the red salsa lady without anyone telling you it.
There’ll always be someone smarter, funnier and better looking but there’s literally no-one like you. My friend Rachel has the best eyebrows I’ve seen, Beth has the most infectious laugh you’ll ever hear and Lauren the biggest heart. I could envy them but instead I admire with pride. I don’t love everything about myself. I wish I was taller and had a little more logic. I sometimes wish I could shut my emotions off but for the most part I wouldn’t change things. For years I damaged my body by hardly eating and sure, I hit my ‘goal weight’ but I was also my unhappiest. I shut people out for what? To be two stone lighter. Now I don’t weigh myself or care if I can’t fit into a dress because self-love is more about the interior and less about the exterior.
It’s knowing you’re doing just fine, that you love and are loved in return. That you do the right thing and sometimes that’s being selfish and putting yourself first. It’s learning to love your imperfections and accepting yourself for who you are. It’s the key to strength and standing on your own two feet knowing that friends and partners can walk in and out of your life and you’ll have enough respect for yourself to know when to let them go. Loving someone else never means losing love for yourself but just like any relationship, self-love takes daily development and whilst others can and will help you get there, as Christina A famously sung ‘trust the voice within.'
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