What does it mean to really love and accept who you are? I mean is it really as simple as embracing all of you down to the thick waist and dimply thighs? Is it really that simple to find true acceptance and love yourself despite all your obvious flaws?
I’ve been struggling with so much of this lately, often torn between the extremes of feeling comfortable in my own skin or dissecting the parts I don’t like about myself in enough detail to put a biologist to shame. I become obsessive in the way I criticize my appearance and wonder if I will ever really and truly love the person I see looking at back at me in the mirror. I mean it’s hard right? So much there looking back at us that we just don’t like. So much self-loathing.
So much of how we perceive ourselves effects not only how we are with others and how we portray ourselves, but who we are. Loving yourself for who you are and what you offer this world is just as significant (if not more so) as loving what you look like. I mean, for me these two are so directly linked as I think about how my feelings about by appearance have effected the person I am and the life I have lived.
How many swims in the ocean I have missed out on because I never wanted to expose my body in a bikini? How many nights have spent in tears deliberating over what to wear and eventually changing out the cute little dress and back into jeans before leaving the house? How many adventures with friends have I let slip away because my skin had broken out and I chose to spend the night at home? How much life un-lived because of fear of what people thought about my body, my skin, my face?
I love and hate the phrase, “I just want to be the best version of myself”. I love it because for some it means accepting what you have and looking after it. It represents a journey of learning and loving yourself. But I also hate it because for some it can represent the never-ending journey to perfection. The dissatisfaction of who you are and the constant need to perfect the imperfect. I dunno.
Maybe losing those stubborn 5 kgs since giving birth will do wonders for my confidence. Maybe getting those eyelash extensions will finally give my face the pop they claim to. Maybe a new haircut will give me the edge I need to take life my the horns and be taken more seriously at the office. MAYBE spending time on myself to “be the better version pf myself” is really the answer.
The problem is though: We think these improvements will make us happier and more accepted. But we soon realise that they are not the answer to genuine and authentic self-love. They certainly are not the answer to happiness. Not long-term anyway.
You want to know the strange thing? I’ve noticed that the times I’m not so focused on all the outward stuff – the perfecting the perfect brow, the running 5 ks to obtain a leaner a body I may never have, learning the art of make-up contouring to give myself cheekbones sharp enough to hang things on and the beauty routines that involve 8 steps to perfect skin – the less time I fixate on these things, the more compliments I receive on how beautiful and well I’m looking. It’s as thought the weight and worry is visibly lifted off my shoulders and I’m happier on the inside which reflects positively on the outside. I dunno.
I can’t help but think, we have become a culture so fixated on looks and how to perfect ourselves that we lose sight of trying to really be happy on the inside and allow that inner beauty to permeate every other aspect of our lives. And permeate through the very skin we often hate.
I’m all for looking good and taking pride in my appearance but perhaps it’s time we start digging a little deeper. Perhaps then we will begin to find the true meaning of self- acceptance, self-love and self-discovery. Maybe then will we stop living in fear of our own imperfections, begin to live our lives fearlessly. Maybe then we will realise a freedom we never knew existed. A feeling of complete and utter liberation!
You want in?