Loving Yourself Even When You Aren't Feeling Your Best

We all have those moments where our insecurities start to get the best of us. Loving ourselves through those insecurities is a process, but we can all do it!
Instagram vs Reality (PCOS)

What Even Is Self Love?

   If I asked you if you loved yourself, you'd probably say "of course I do!" But are you actively loving yourself even on your bad days? Maybe, maybe not. I know I can't honestly say that I show myself love all the time, but I'm getting better at it and I think we all should! If you aren't showing yourself love and kindness, why should anyone else, right? Right?!

Beauty Standards and Social Media...

   It's no secret that social media plays a huge role in how we view ourselves. Instagram models, YouTube beauty gurus, and fun challenges on TikTok show us "beautiful" people every single day. And as much as we are pushing a more inclusive society and body positivity, the fact is we still see the tan skin, big lips, and big booties on a much grander scale than we see people that look like us. But you know what the gag is? Beauty is subjective! YOU get to control what YOU think is beautiful. You also get to control the content you view on each platform!

   Now think: what is YOUR standard of beauty? What do YOU think is beautiful? Are there features about yourself that you used to love but now you aren't so sure? Do you think your friends and family members are beautiful? Why? (Write this all down!) I'll even share a few of my own; I love my natural hair, my smile, and my eyes. You might assume that because I love those things about myself, that they are "perfect." But the reality is that I don't have curly 3b/3c hair, my smile isn't perfectly white plus I have a gap, and my eyes are a basic brown color. None of that means that my hair, smile, or eyes are any less beautiful! Or, to be fair, none of that makes them any less beautiful to me (which is the entire point). And plenty of people would agree with you.

   After you've written down all the things you love about yourself (and posed in the mirror-like the baddie that you are), think about all the content you consume on social media. Do the pages and people you follow reflect your standards of beauty? Do the influencers you love most carry traits that you admire on a personal level? What do you gain from following this person? If the page or person makes you question your self worth even in the slightest bit, hit that unfollow button, sis! You too, bro!

   Why follow someone that makes you doubt yourself if you can control it? Find people that fit YOUR standards and model the choices and lifestyle that you agree with. (i.e. If you think #littlebootiesmatter and you don't want to feel influenced to change yours, you probably shouldn't follow a bunch of models with bbls. And yes, that includes the Fashion Nova IG page; you can shop their site without having your feed be filled with their "perfect" models.) By the way, I am in no way saying that altering the way you look is a bad thing, especially if it will boost your confidence.

   But if it's not for you and seeing it is making you feel bad about yourself, then you can control how much of it you want to see! Hit that explore page or search a few hashtags that mean something to you and start filtering your news feed with content that is important to you and makes you feel good about yourself. I promise it is out there!

Insecurities Don't Just Disappear

   Let's be real; loving yourself through your insecurities doesn't mean they just go away. With or without social media, we will all have things about ourselves that aren't our favorite and it's important to face them head-on. Take a minute to acknowledge some of the things that you don't love as much about yourself.

   Next, decide whether or not they are in your control to change. If it is out of your control, it is up to you to find a way to embrace the beauty in it. Easier said than done, right? I'll go first: I have a polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. If you don't know what PCOS is, it's a hormonal imbalance that causes women to exhibit various male-like symptoms such as male pattern hair growth on the face, baldness, acne, weight gain, and can negatively impact our reproductive health. While the symptoms vary for everyone, none of them are pleasant and there is no actual cure.

   So how do you embrace the things you cannot change? The first thing I did was say it out loud. I was honest with myself and the people around me because honestly, I wasn't doing that great of a job hiding my chin hair in the first place. I had to realize that while I felt alone in my insecurities, there were plenty of people that shared my experience. I candidly took pictures and videos of my unwanted facial hair and hit the "share" button. I anxiously waited for someone to go "ew!" but it never happened.

   Do you know what happened? Dozens of women THANKED me! The relief was unreal and it not only made me feel beautiful, but I felt empowered. So while you don't have to be quite as bold as I was with sharing your insecurities, realize that you are never alone. Someone somewhere feels exactly how you feel and you can 100% talk about it! Find your outlet and use it to its' full potential.

   What if you can change it? Consider how important it is to you to remove this insecurity. Truly immerse yourself in the thought that this "flaw" is gone. Do you actually feel more beautiful and have a better quality of life? If the answer is "yes," get to it! Write down all the necessary steps you need to take in order to see the change you want to make. It may be difficult; it may be 10 steps or maybe only 2-3. Either way, if you truly want it, you will work hard for it. Remember that you are working for yourself. Actively loving yourself requires action and effort!

The Take-Away

Beauty is subjective. You decide what is or isn't beautiful.

Control your consumption. You decide what content you consume regularly and whether or not it is good for you.

Insecurities are normal. Embrace the things you cannot change and love them as hard as you can. Work on the things that are in your control instead of dwelling on them.

Learning and loving myself more and more each day.

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