Have you noticed how it takes just a split second to come up with reasons to “boo” ourselves? While it takes forever to come up with a single reason we’re awesome? Being flooded with unrealistic societal expectations and ideals does that to a person. And if it’s paired with an upbringing based on criticism, then that’s a perfect recipe to inspire uncalled for self-dislike. To put it mildly. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and smiled instinctively? When was the last time you were happy with what you saw? Or said a sincere “thank you” to compliment?
Too much of our modern culture focuses on everything that’s supposedly wrong with us. Making it near impossible to actually enjoy and savor every waking moment we spend alive. While society and culture will not change overnight, you can learn to appreciate yourself, no matter what. One. Step. At. A. Time.
Aren’t we all? Instead of listing ways to turn us into one “perfect” prototype, we can do our best to redefine the idea of beauty. It’s already been done so many times – from the Venus of Willendorf, Marilyn Monroe, all the way to Kate Moss. The world has revered and loved many a body shape, hairstyle, and facial features. Which gets us stuck in a temporary ideal portrayed across the media. None of them are “perfect”. Perfect is a man-made phenomenon, based on a random set of temporary values.
I’ve always had the tendency to pick one characteristic I dislike about myself and make it a focal point of my worth. Yet, we’re all so much more than the sum of our physical or character traits, because we are what we do, think, and love, and that’s what makes us so damn beautiful. Whether you’re kind, generous, sexy, kind of clumsy, anxious, curvy, or shy, you’re not defined by any of these ideas on their own.
Just like being imperfect, we’re all weird in one way or another. My (Mia) extraordinary love for bugs was defined as weird on more than one occasion, while I find other people’s fear of them equally so. What some people may see as a strange quality, others will genuinely appreciate and love. So why shouldn’t you?
Own up to who you are, inside and outside. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds, change your haircut or overcome your fears by learning to pole-dance, but none of it should limit your self-love. Love yourself on your way to becoming better, because that’s what we do for as long as we live. We strive to be better people, parents, siblings, friends, professionals, you name it, it’s all a long journey of self-discovery and progress, one we would all enjoy far more if we loved ourselves through the failures as well as the victories.
When I stopped worrying about fitting into the general idea of normal and accepted, I started feeling genuinely happy in my own skin. Cellulite, funky knees, slightly crooked teeth and all. No one consulted me when the latest beauty ideal was made. So why should I let it affect my own self-perception? The next time you start perusing through women’s clothing online to renew your wardrobe, think about what would bring a smile to your face and flatter your figure. Not what would fake a Toblerone tunnel or push your tush up.
When, and if the time comes to choose a wedding dress for yourself, consult your inner bride, not the current gown trends. Celebrate your quirky self, all of your unique traits, and wear things that make you go “wow” when you see your own reflection and when you put it on.
We often base the majority of our views of ourselves on what others say, especially those we love. If your mom tells you you’re incompetent, you’re likely going to believe her. (And repeat that to yourself for years to come. ) I’ll never forget my teacher telling me I was such a tomboy – which I later often used to describe myself as a child.
Whether you picked out your own harmful language or you use words generously offered by those around you, it’s time to change your dictionary. While no one says you should celebrate your mistakes, you shouldn’t punish yourself for them! BUT learn from them, and transform them from auto-destructive into constructive life lessons.
Finally, march to the beat of your own drum, in every aspect of your existence. You’ll make mistakes, fail, rise to many an occasion, succeed, and above all, you’ll change. Your brow will wrinkle, your hair will gray, your back will bend, and your mind and body will weaken. Until those days come, build a mind that will not instinctively reach for the words “I was once so beautiful”, but rephrase them into the present and shower yourself with the love, respect, and understanding the world so often lacks. Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to be authentic, despite and because of it all. And have fun every minute of it.
Mia Taylor is a fashion and beauty enthusiast from Sydney and writer for www.highstylife.com. She loves writing about her life experiences. Traveling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty. And considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips. Twitter | Facebook