I’m sure everyone has heard the message that in order to receive love and acceptance from others, you have to love and accept yourself. But society gives us mixed messages. The cosmetics industry rakes in billions per year, and relies on the fact that both men and women want to enhance their appearance.
Now, I don’t see anything wrong with doing your hair or makeup! Women especially are judged so harshly for our appearances. If your hair and makeup are done and your outfit is perfect, you’re trying to hard and obviously don’t love yourself enough to be natural; if you never do your makeup or fuss about how you look, then it must mean you don’t love yourself enough to take time for self care. I see a lot of people on social media judging others for taking selfies, too. This could be a blog post all on its own, but for now I’ll just say that I think it’s silly. If someone wants to look nice and take some pictures, why not. It’s cheaper than paying for professional photos and it’s just a form of self expression for most people. Its really ridiculous when you think about how deeply these judgements go, based solely on what a person’s personal style and preferences are.
In my experience, it’s usually women who are most likely to be meting out these criticisms to one another. I think we need to turn the tide and be supportive of our girlfriends, sisters, daughters and mothers in whatever phase of their lives they are in.
It can be a balancing act, trying to embrace who you are, flaws and all, while trying to make improvements. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, or as energetic. I don’t always eat as healthy as I could. But, I’m working on it. Making changes from a place of self acceptance is so much better than coming from a space of self loathing. Things have a way of ending how they begin; if you begin a new diet or hairstyle or anything else because you hate how you look, you will likely still feel just as bad even after you’ve made the change. It’s worthwhile to find those accepts of yourself that you can celebrate while you’re on your journey. I know, it’s easier said than done. Self acceptance is a journey all on its own. I encourage you to have compassion for yourself. If you do catch yourself in negative self talk, don’t add more layers of negativity to it by judging yourself for thinking that way. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, or just stop and take a deep breath.
It helps to identify the feelings that are coming up for you, instead of just going, “Oh, I feel fat today”, or, “I hate the way I look”. Do you feel inadequate? Rejected? Maybe you feel guilty for not looking or feeling the way you think you should. A lot of times when we feel down on ourselves, shame is at the core of those feelings. We compare how we are to how we think we should be in order to be loved and accepted. When we make this compassion it’s easy to feel that we fall short.
Ask yourself if whatever is making you feel self conscious will even matter to you a year from now. Just taking a breath and asking yourself this question will help to soften the feelings you’re experiencing. You’re likely doing much better than you think.