Let me start out by pointing out the obvious: the complete inaccurate depiction of the meaning of the word “reality” that social media seems to provide us with on a daily basis. I mean, come on, we KNOW that reality is not all hearts and flowers with #nofilter. So IF we are aware of this, why do we always compare ourselves to others through these very filtered fake reality screens?
The ugly answer to the question above is quite simple: We live in a society that is obsessed with beauty AND as a result of this obsession, we inherently associate our perceptions of beauty with success and happiness. More specifically, the success and happiness of others in comparison to our own.
I will admit it; I have spent too much time on social media, resorting to hours staring down at my small bright screen squinting my eyes at irrelevant information just like any typical twenty-three-year-old girl. Unfortunately, this horrible habit of mine was at its’ worst when I was recovering at home for a year. Like I have said in previous posts, I was obsessed with how I looked, which at the time, was exclusively fueled by feelings of embarrassment, insecurity, and anger. While I was in a rehabilitation clinic trying to heal for a year, I would enviously stare at the images I witnessed on social media. Why do I have to deal with these obstacles in my life? Why can’t I have a life like these girls? Why couldn’t I smile like them? etc. Or the worst was when I would reminisce over old photos on my social media accounts. Toxic right? I would admire the way I used to look; a young woman without facial paralysis. During this dark time, when someone complimented me, it made no difference in the way I felt because I hadn’t taken any approach at the time to show any self-love. If a person told me I was beautiful a couple of years ago, my first thought was that this person needed to see an eye doctor.
I wish I had given myself a little more TLC. Developing more self-love took a conscious, concerted effort. And ok, maybe a little Prozac too. But my point is, if you want to feel better and emulate more self-love, you HAVE to take the proper steps to build that acceptance you desire to have within yourself. One can’t just compliment you and BAM: your mentality has completely changed, and your life is filled with smiley face emojis. This desirable TLC we want to give ourselves takes time.
So what were the proper steps I took towards accepting/appreciating myself more resulting in more self-love?
Recognition — I finally recognized the false portrayal of reality demonstrated through social media. Social media only shows a persons’ “ideal self” rather than their “real self.”
Evaluation — I evaluated my insecurities/concerns that I was demonstrating. It was important to assess these vulnerabilities to have a greater awareness of myself.
Acceptance — For the longest time, I firmly believed that my face would go back to the way it was. I envisioned my future self, having an entirely symmetrical face. Today, though, I have accepted that I have facial paralysis and although I am starting to see great surgical results recently, I have accepted that my smile may never be the same. I have also accepted that there will always be a woman who is more beautiful, successful, and smarter than me. But guess what? That’s life.
Love — After I was able to accept these circumstances in my life, I was then able to start to focus on loving who I was regardless of what I perceived as my flaws. I also began to celebrate others’ beauty instead of making comparisons.
Ignorance — When I was having down days, I demonstrated a level of ignorance towards social media because I KNEW if I went through any of my handles, It would make me feel worst about myself. As they say, Ignorance is bliss. Try it!
Truth — We are sending messages through social media not only to ourselves but the entire world that our real, messier emotions are unacceptable. When I recognized the false demonstrated on media by people and myself, I became best friends with the truth: You never know what a person is going through or who they truly are just based off of their social media handles.
YOU — If you want to feel better about yourself and grow a greater appreciation for who you are, do not rely on others. This is something I have to remind myself every day. You can’t turn to others for validation. Sure, it is great having supportive friends and family around you to build you up; but if you don’t have any respect nor love for yourself, all their support is just white noise. The bottom line is that it is up to you to make any changes that you want to see for yourself.
So is this something I practice and have full awareness of every day? I would be lying if I said yes. I wish, but no of course not! But by having a greater awareness of these critical points (reality), it has helped with my very own self-love. I now don’t tie my worth to anything in regards to social media. My overall hope is that by sharing my very own vulnerabilities throughout this journey, you feel encouraged to do the same. XO