Look in the mirror and repeat after me…
“There is only one me. I am special, I am unique and I am perfectly imperfect. I love me in every way.”
Now I want you to say this to yourself every day, every hour if necessary until you believe it.
I sit here writing this blog shaking my head in disbelief, my heart aching, over the level of self-hatred that is felt by people in the world. Not too long ago I stumbled across a very disturbing news story about young women striving to achieve the “perfect” selfie look (http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/09/19/plastic-surgery-perfect-selfie-body-image/) I am not posting this here to encourage the behaviour but rather to hopefully educate and shed some light on this issue.
These beautiful, intelligent human beings went as far as having their bodies physically altered via surgery to obtain what they thought would give them the best chance of taking flawless selfies. Yes…you read that right. They had SURGERY!
What the actual fuck??
Where are we as adults, as society, as role models going wrong that young people are indulging in more extremes than ever before to achieve “perfection”? This isn’t new by any means. Our fears as human beings have been manipulated and fed on for decades by the advertising industry, the diet drug manufacturers and social media. This is however what I would call an epidemic that is growing out of control.
What further builds on my fears was a series of encounters with young patrons at an event where I was doing glow-in-the-dark face painting. Roughly 98% of the girls that approached me all had the same statement for me – “I don’t care what you do just make me look beautiful.”
The mom in me made sure to tell each one of them that they were already beautiful exactly as they were. Did they hear me? I don’t know. Did it really register with them? Probably not – simply because it is NOT ENOUGH! We need to change something fast or we are going to lose all the uniqueness that makes us so wonderfully and “perfectly” human.
I have been doing my own small part personally over the last few years. I have a teenage boy at home (yes, these thoughts of physical inadequacy plague boys too, let’s not fool ourselves) and I care what kind of message he gets from me.
My blog is one ‘weapon’ of sorts that I have wielded in this battle but another thing I have incorporated into my life is not deleting pictures that I take of myself or that others take of me simply because it’s not an image that portrays how I wish I looked – because at the end of the day it is a picture of who I authentically am.
Frankly if someone is going to judge me because I have a double chin, stretch marks, a pimple or because I am 30 lbs heavier than I was last year I feel sorry for them. They are missing out on the true beauty of the people around them.
So what can we do? Where can we take a different direction so that people of all ages, all genders and all ethnicities will get the message that they are “perfect” in every way, shape and form?
Stop hating on each other, stop hating on ourselves. Lead by example and DO NOT delete that picture. Don’t put yourself or your body down with negative comments. The next time you take a selfie try to see it through the eyes of those who love you most as they love you in your raw authentic self.
ALL OF IT! LOVE ALL OF IT!!
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I hope you are able to learn to dismiss your “perceived” flaws as they are only perceived and that you are able to stand up against your feared “imperfections” as they are just that – a fear, not a reality. I hope you are able to see yourself for the incredible, awesome and beautiful gift to this world that you are.
I hope you learn to love yourself more than your”selfie”.
Photo Credits: My “selfie” and Charles Doiron