Self image and love are two things a lot of young women struggle with. Ask any woman, regardless of age, about her image and you will 9 times out of 10 hear something negative before something positive. In 2018, I propose we take the time to change our perception of ourselves. It isn’t easy, but it’s time to break the stereotype that young women are weak and have poor self image. We are the next generation of leaders, we are statistically more educated than our male counter parts (Institute for Women’s Policy Research), and we are ready to continue the precedent of shattering glass ceilings. In order to keep up the work that our predecessors have started we must take care of ourselves.
On those days when you are horrified by what you see in the mirror take a moment to remember this is the body that has gotten you this far. This is the body that has seen you through it all, and not once has is given up on you. Through all your late nights, all the times you didn’t eat enough vegetables, all the times you didn’t drink enough water, it has held you up (with minimal complaint). The bumps, bruises, stretch marks, and scars are a physical roadmap of your life.
Photo by Serkan Göktay on Pexels
You don’t always have to love the skin you’re in, but you should always try to appreciate it; you should certainly never hate it. Take every opportunity you can get to stand in front of the mirror and find parts of yourself that you love. If you think you don’t like anything about yourself physically, you are 100% wrong. Start small, that freckle on the tip of your nose is adorable, the scar on your left knee from falling off your neighbors bike in the fourth grade is pretty cool, that one strand of gray hair is unique to your head (even if you’ve tried dying it a thousand times to no avail). Once you start to notice the small things about yourself that are awesome, start trying to love bigger parts of your body.
Those legs you think are too thick have walked you everywhere you’ve ever been. That big butt you claim to “hate,” not only holds up every pair of pants you’ve put on, it fills out every pair of skinny jeans that has ever had the blessing to grace your backside. Your “flabby” arms have played instruments, carried younger siblings like babydolls, swam you across your best friend’s inflatable Walmart pool. We are our own harshest critic, these things we see as problem areas are something other people never notice. The parts of ourselves that we hate are the parts that make us able to function. They are the parts that help us live, they are the tools we use to interact with the world around us. No matter how poorly we see ourselves, this body has supported us. When we have pushed its limits it has always bounced back.
If you are having a hard time finding physical parts of you to appreciate, look into yourself. Listen to the positive things people say about you. If someone says your kindness made their day, that your jokes brought them laughter, that your smile is infectious, take it and run. Some of the best parts of who we are aren’t things we necessarily see, but things that we broadcast to the world around us. A lot of the aspects that people love about us (and by extension things we should at least like about ourselves) are not things we actively control, but the things we do naturally that help the people around us.
Allow yourself to have bad days. They happen, good and great days can’t be appreciated without some not so wonderful days thrown in the mix. Bad weeks happen too, heck so do bad months, but don’t let it beat you down. End every day by thinking about something positive, even on the worst days something small can be celebrated. You woke up, you’re breathing, dogs still love us all unconditionally, and you’re one day closer to eating an order of mozzarella sticks. Build a strong group of people to support and uplift you. Friends are your greatest, mostly untapped resource; you mutually take care of each other on the bad days and celebrate the good days together.
The future is female. We are a generation of strong, independent, awesome women. Let’s take the steps to love ourselves together. As a united front we can accomplish anything, including conquering self doubt and poor image. Let’s stand together, love ourselves, change the stereotype that we have weak self image, and change the world one self lovin’ day at a time.