No More Filters!
How To Love Ourselves Lumps Bumps & All
Written by Donna Cameron
Botox, body shaping, fat reduction - even with all of this we still add a filter to our pictures!
What is it going to take for us to love ourselves with a makeup-free face and some lumps and bumps on our bodies? How can we be happy with ourselves when we glam up and when we are chilling out in our daggy clothes? What is it going to take for us to accept our beauty for what it is?
Making changes to your appearance and body is completely your choice but that is not the problem. The problem I am seeing in my therapy room is that even with these changes, unhappiness with one’s appearance continues and it is impacting our mental health.
I remember watching an episode of a reality television show a couple of years ago. It featured a young and beautiful female. She made a comment saying that she was high maintenance. When asked what she meant by this, she listed all the appointments she attended to maintain “herself”, her looks and her body. This list was so long that there couldn’t possibly be any time left in her week for anything else. There were facials, body toning, injectables, massage, tattooing, workouts, personal training, body sculpting, hair removal - the list went on and on. I couldn’t help thinking if this media perfect person feels that she needs all of this and more, what is the hope for the rest of us and how can we feel happy without all of this?
Over the years, body image and wanting to look prettier and skinnier have always been an issue that presents in the therapy room. The internet and social media may have put more pressure on everybody to feel they need to look a certain way for perfection, but the demands we place on ourselves have always been there. Before Instagram, there were magazines and sitcoms where the perfect humans were displayed and idolised.
The crazy thing is that we are putting this pressure on ourselves for what we think we should look like. Our partners have fallen for us the way we look naturally. Our friends want to be around us for our personality and loyalty and our children look up to us and see beauty in us even in the early hours of the morning. Still, we sit in criticism and focus each day on what we see as our faults and not our strengths.
I have had female clients keep track of how many times they have negative thoughts about the way they look each day. This number can easily be over 20 times a day. From the first moment they wake up, they look in the mirror and pick on their facial appearance. Then they criticise their body as they have a shower and dress for the day. This is all before entering the social media world where they compare themselves to others.
The Damaging Effects To Our Mental Health
Perfection is not a real word and aiming for it just activates an endless battle filled with disappointment. The battle for perfection in our appearance is causing a mountain of mental health conditions.
The list includes anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, sleep issues, stress concerns, relationship issues and difficulties performing daily activities.
The time needed to invest in the never-ending battle for perfection will mean that other areas in life will suffer, and often these are the important areas such as social relationships and health.
How To Get The Control Back
You don’t have to dump the makeup and wear the track pants to the formal event to exert your confidence and acceptance of how you look. I think we had enough of dressing down during lockdown! It is now time to aim for some acceptance and balance in life.
It’s time to take steps and aim for acceptance of who you are and how you look. Make a choice to feel healthy and confident in your skin and do not compare yourself to the looks of others. Listen to what your loved ones say about you - not the irrational thoughts in your head that you have created.
Tips To Make Positive Changes
1. Cull your social media- assess who you are following and why. If seeing pictures of people you are following activates negative thoughts about how you look, unfollow them!
2. Focus each day on one attribute of your appearance that you do like- this can be as simple as your smile or your hair colour. Start small and try and add to this list as the weeks go on.
3. Focus on health and what makes you feel good on the inside to radiate this on the outside. Exercise and eat well because it makes you feel good, not for the goal of fitting into those smaller jeans or looking better in that next picture for your social feed. Feeling good exerts confidence.
How To Love Ourselves Lumps Bumps & All How To Love Ourselves Lumps Bumps & All