Nowadays, as a result of social media, our bodies and physical image are, in most cases, very exposed. Not only exposed in the sense of broadcasted but also easy to comment or react to, which can be really damaging to our own personal view and lead/contribute to lots of overthinking.
However, there is also a good side to all of this. That positive aspect is the amount of online content regarding diversity and normal bodies, which has personally helped me a lot with my struggles. This doesn´t change the fact that it's very easy to (accidentally) miscommunicate and make it seem as if it were extremely easy to love and accept our bodies when, in reality, it doesn't tend to be. It is very unlikely that we will just wake up one day having accepted all our insecurities and appreciating every little thing about ourselves; it's also of extreme importance for me to emphasize that, as we all know, almost every part of self-hate and dismorphia are direct consequences of social norms and marketing.
I've been learning how to avoid insecurities for the longest time. How to smile in spite of them and how to pretend they don’t come with me wherever I go. It's become draining and, if I'm being honest, I can't stand to do it anymore. Not only did I realise I can't live like this anymore but I also got how hard it is to change this behaviour when our environment doesn't want to cooperate. So, here is a question I began asking myself: Why should I judge my every move, thought and body part if I don’t judge anybody else’s? A couple months ago I began thinking deeply about all of this and, as time went by, I reached some conclusions I think can help so, naturally, I thought I’d share them.
First and foremost, I am constantly reminding myself that my mind isn’t always telling the truth, which sounds kind of obvious when I say it like that but it’s one hundred percent true and I hadn’t realised it. You are not everything your mind tries to make you believe, you don’t deserve to live listening to it list everything it doesn’t like and you don’t need to fit in everywhere. Diversity is a wonderful thing, our differences tend to be strengths in a world scared of them.
It may sound dumb but, geniunely, my love for other people is what has probably helped me the most. Seeing myself in my friends’ attitudes, speeches and ways of understanding life has made me realise that there are a ton of things that I love about other people that I hated when I was the one doing or having them. It felt impossible to fight at the time. I’m glad I learnt to stop myself when I start spiraling with that. It doesn't always work, though, and that 's okay. Feeling down and doubting yourself is completely valid, but it’s also tiring when you are constantly doing it. Believe me, I should know.
Another essential thing I've grown to acknowledge is that there has to be reasons why other people love me, and I´ve been trying to identify them (even when I have to ask them directly). That's become a really cool thing to know, it made me appreciate traits of my being I was neglecting. I’d like to point out how truly important it is to listen to the ones around you, the ones who care about you and want to see you thrive, that’s where honesty lives.
To conclude, self-love doesn't mean you have to like yourself all the time. It means to have compassion and to be understanding even when you make mistakes, or when you want to change something. I love myself like I love a friend, with that empathy and safety. And that includes loving my insecurities, even if I don't necessarily like having them, get me?
Be kind, not only to others but also to yourselves. And reach out when you feel like you need it, there is always someone willing to help.