Not so long ago I was surfing one of my favourite sites, the now defunct The Tig, and found a very interesting post. In it, the author talked about an experience she had in which she slammed herself in front of two of her best friends for some silly reason. The friends immediately called her to order, letting her know that they would not allow such behaviour.
Then, something very similar happened to me the other day. I was showing two of my best friends some pictures from my trip to India and one of them featured my back. First comment I made was “me and the big butt as usual”. I saw my friends frowning in disapproval with one of them taking the lead to tell me: “Don’t ever say that again lady!” with the other adding : “you’re so petite, I don’t even know why are you saying that”.
I’ve struggled with body image, or as I call it, insecurities and all their friends, since my teen years. You know, usual things: too much of this, not enough of that. I have spent countless hours shooting negative feedback at me, because I do not fit into my image of perfection. Yes, I now can realize that I’m definitely my worst enemy.
I could put the blame on external factors. I agree that many players in the beauty and fashion industries need to sell their products and to do so they will exploit people’s insecurities. Many magazines need to remain profitable and to do so, they will put ads from the aforementioned industries that usually contradict their content. And as I read loooong time ago, it seems that slender, tiny shapes are more attractive visually, even if many times they are not representative of the norm.
Still, the final decision as to what to think, react or feel goes down to myself. This is not to remove any responsibility from the external factors! Things need to change and more positive, accepting and empowering messages need to be sent to both men and women. This change is ongoing and I’m happy to see more and more people speaking up against the setting of totally unrealistic beauty standards.
From the conversation with my friends, I understood one thing: developing, increasing and maintaining a healthy level of self-love is a constant work in progress.
But beyond this collective social evolution, I am the one living with myself 24/7. I decide what to believe, what to follow, how to live. From the conversation with my friends, I understood one thing: developing, increasing and maintaining a healthy level of self-love is a constant work in progress. I pride myself in accepting my body, my face, my life as it is. I enjoy being who I am now, I’m grateful for the people around me. And yet, I can be so mean to me when a picture doesn’t show me in a slender, tiny shape light. I cannot live refusing to appear on pictures or continually posing like if I was a top model. So, what I can do is to keep reminding me of my blessings and my accomplishments, and to continue telling myself that yes, these tights are not perfect and would not be featured in a magazine, but they are in perfect shape to travel the world.
As another friend told me recently: when you are feeling that life is not going the way you want, redouble your self love, do more of what fills your heart. So that’s my plan regardless of how life is going: loving myself everyday, focusing on things that make me feel good and shooting down the negative thoughts with positive (yet realistic) ones. My goal is to, little by little, turn my worst enemy into my best friend.