Social media is a minefield when it comes to learning to love ourselves.
Actually fuck that… Instagram is a minefield when it comes to learning to love ourselves.
My perception of myself can be totally warped within moments of scrolling through the explore page on Instagram. My self conscious brain is bombarded with images of lithe girls in swimwear, draped across inflatable unicorns in the crystal clear waters of far flung lands. The constant comparison that we put ourselves through when using this app just isn’t good for our mental health. Its taken me far longer than I care to admit that, but its true. Everyones life seems more tanned, toned and exciting than my own and with each flick of my thumb I can purposely make myself feel worse about the way I look.
I’ve been on a journey of self love this year after enduring a long standing issue with my shape from the moment I started puberty. At school I remember feeling like my body wasn’t changing like everyone else’s, my distinct lack of boobs and curves made me feel like a boy compared to my friends. It was when I left school however that the way that I looked really became an issue to me. I vividly remember a family member agreeing with my modelling agency’s comments on my hip size. I had gone from being a sixteen year old with the “ideal body type”, to a seventeen year old who needed to loose inches from her hips and butt in order to work in the fashion industry. I went from not having much of an opinion about my body, to feeling disgusted by what was reflected in the mirror. Suddenly, I was so painfully aware of my shape and size and found myself diving, head first into in the diet culture that seemly rules so many of our lives.
By societies standards my body is acceptable, not only am I white, but I am also tall and slim; yet I can’t actually remember a time since hitting puberty that I liked what I saw looking back at me in the mirror.
I know I’m not alone with these feelings of dissatisfaction when looking at my body, the media has taught us that if our skin isn’t poreless, smooth and the right shade of tan then we aren’t beautiful. It has drilled into our subconscious that we have to be a long, lean, size 8 with curves in the right places otherwise our bodies need to be hidden away or changed to fit the mould they have carved for women to sit in. I am aware that this isn’t true, that our self perceived “flaws” are what make us, us but accepting myself and my body is what I struggle with.
My therapist told me that negative body image is the hardest thing for us to make positive change with and she is right. Becoming “body posi” doesn’t happen overnight, in fact its taken me a year of trying and I don’t feel any closer to liking my reflection than I did when I started this journey. I do however know that it is worth it because we are so much more than our outward appearance. We are smart, funny, caring and strong. So, if it takes putting my phone down and avoiding those Instagram models who make me feel not so body posi then that is what I plan on doing.
Cords – The Cords & Co
Top – AG Jeans
Jacket – Missy Empire
Bag – Chloe
Shoes – Primark