By Julia Rowley
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
In an age of increasing media saturation, itisvital to learn how to be joyful about who you are and what you look like.
Daily, we are bombarded with beautiful women and society’s standards of how we believe we should look like. On social media, in tv series, and while walking through shopping malls we are constantly shown one type of beauty. Because of this, we find ourselves picking apart our appearances and critiquing our “flaws” when we should be embracing what we look like.
However, this is difficult to do, and it takes a conscientious effort to rid ourselves of this dangerous habit. One of the first steps is changing what you see daily on your social media feed. There are dozens of body-positive accounts on Instagram that post pictures of diverse, unretouched models whose “flaws” – such as cellulite, skin rolls and skin blemishes – are shown (an example is the Instagram account of American intimates’ brand Aerie). By seeing these features that almost all women have, it shows that your perceived flaws are normal and beautiful. Another social media tip is unfollowing accounts that make you feel poorly about your appearance. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski are all beautiful women – but they don’t look like me. Seeing their gorgeous bodies daily isn’t great for my self-esteem as it reminds me of what my body doesn’t, and will never, look like. It’s your social media feed – you are completely in charge of what you do and do not want to see.
Additionally, spend time with your body! Mindfully performing actions like showering, exfoliating and moisturizing forces you to spend time looking at (and becoming more comfortable with) your naked self. To see your body in its entirety and spending time with it – including its stretch marks and back pimples – allows you to appreciate it more over time.
Exercising can also make you appreciate your body. Don’t exercise to lose weight or change your appearance, and don’t become obsessed with calculating how many calories you’re burning. Instead, focus on performing any sort of exercise for the sake of being active. Set goals for yourself – wanting to run a certain number of kilometers in 45 minutes, increasing your flexibility, etc. You’ll slowly learn to love and appreciate your body more when you can see the progress it is making and how powerful it truly is.
Learning to embrace your flaws and love yourself is a difficult, time-consuming and lifelong journey. Being unhappy with ourselves is something that most girls learn from a young age, and so itis difficult to give up this heartbreaking habit. However, with conscientious effort a life filled with self-love and confidence can be achieved – if you’re prepared to start the process.