Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Learning How To Accept Yourself

I feel like starting this post with a confession, one I believe almost everyone who reads in some shape or form will be able to relate to. I wouldn’t say it would come as a shock that I had confidence issues, as I think most people endure it at least once in their life. Whether that be body related, sense of style or character or any of the things that build an individual. With constant scrutiny and comparison made easier with the use of social media, I share my journey of acceptance.
From a young age I became very conscious of what I looked like, I think mostly because I was looking around in a neighbourhood where no one looked like me but maybe a handful of others. They didn’t have or understand afro hair with the only interest being wanting to touch it or make fun of the size or whatever hairstyle I had. Some would pass judgement on the colour of my skin, I distinctly remember boys in secondary school saying how they didn’t date black girls or any girls of colour for that matter. Also in this time, my body confidence was naturally all over the place. For any teen girl its a daunting time when your body changes and it’s the first time I had really seemed to care. Changing from a crop top to a bra, wearing make-up even though I could never find the right shade for my complexion and whole list of other things. I look at girls that age now and can only imagine how much the pressure has intensified over the years.

I felt these images from my recent holiday would be most appropriate for this post, for me its when I’m this exposed I feel the most vulnerable. A bikini doesn’t have much material for you to hide, my bare face with no make-up to mask or hair products to tame my curls, this is me in my rawest form. Just Áine. Stripped back, to the minimum. Not ready for a naked photoshoot just yet, in case you were wondering.

All of this really got me thinking. It doesn’t make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don’t really see ourselves. All we see every now and again is what we choose to pinpoint in our reflection. We don’t watch ourselves sleeping in bed, peacefully resting with our chests rising and falling to our own rhythm… or muttering the odd word if it’s me. We don’t see ourselves reading a book or doing something we enjoy, eyes fluttering and glowing with excitement. We don’t see ourselves looking at someone with love and care inside our hearts. There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing, smiling and pure happiness is leaking out of you. We would probably know how bright and beautiful we all were if we saw ourselves in the moments we are truly ourselves.  

It is time for a new perspective, free from rules, or ideals. The face of beauty and everything it stands for is changing. I pledge that I will not conform to a stereotype or be afraid of the world outside of it. No longer will I strive for perfection, a perfection that doesn’t exist and changes with what the media portray. Instead, I hope to focus on new things, experiment with how I feel in that moment knowing if I felt something different tomorrow I can be that too. How else are you supposed to understand who you really are and what you are capable of becoming without trying.

If we stop defining ourselves by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer - Emma Watson

Unfortunately in this current society there are plenty of people who are willing to tear down others for the way they look among a few other things. Loving yourself and being proud of your achievements goes against status quo of this oppressive and constant message. When it comes down to it there is much more to life than finding someone who will appreciate you, all of you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. Use this wonderful time we are blessed with to discover yourself without it being empty or looking for happiness outside of you. Once you fill yourself with love, attention and care you will not need to seek this from others, nor require likes, comments or shares to believe that you are of value. Become a whole being on your own. Live life for you and be happy on your own. Acceptance is just the start of something just as beautiful, I promise.  
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  1. This post has changed the way I think about self-image so much! You're so right that when we see ourselves, we only see what we want to see/we critique our imperfections too much! I never thought about how other people see me way more than I see myself! People may see me in a completely different way to how I see myself, and to an extent that is comforting!
    Cloe X

    1. Glad my thoughts changed your perspective! Thank you so much for commenting. Wishing you all the best x


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