Body Image and Social Media

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (5).pngSocial media has distorted the way we perceive real bodies yet most people are afraid to talk about it. Having an hourglass body with a small waist and big butt has become the new norm. There has been a drastic increase in people getting BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) surgery or going to extreme lengths to photoshop their body in order to fit this standard. Instagram has become a hub for this body sculpting obsession and influences/ celebrities have played a significant role in creating this trend. These beauty norms are making some of us feel pressured to change our bodies. It’s undeniable that a lot of people especially young people are suffering from body dysmorphia and negative body image issues as a direct result of social media.

Before I delve into this topic, I want to send out a disclaimer that I am not against people getting surgery or using other means to change their bodies. If someone decides to change their body to make them feel more confident, that is their choice. They do not owe anyone an explanation into why they made that decision. I made this post to speak up on the pressures to look a particular way due to social media.

We can’t undermine the impact this popular trend is having on people’s psyche and their self-esteem. I have personally been affected by these pressures. When I started using Instagram, I became obsessed with losing belly fat so I can look more slim and curvy. I toiled with the idea of getting surgery to alleviate the pressure of having to stay a certain weight. I became super obsessive over my eating and spiraled into the crash diets to achieve instant results. Scrolling on Instagram and seeing these perfectly sculpted bodies made me feel worse about my body. Although I have agency over the way I feel about myself, constant exposure to these images changed my perception of my own body and I believe social media is partly to blame. After having conversations with a friend about my struggles, it made me realise that I’m not alone. People are scared to speak up talk about this endemic in fear of being judged. However, being honest and open about how we feel is very important for our overall well-being and to help others realise that they’re not alone. 

My two big questions when it comes to people changing their bodies, is WHY? and most importantly, Would you have this surgery if social media didn’t exist? I want young women to know that their bodies are enough already regardless of whether it fits the standard or not. A person who is well sculpted is no better than you or no more attractive than you. Being the best version of yourself and rocky what you have is what makes you unique. Even though the pressure is super hard to escape, remind yourself that norms change constantly. Choose to live by your own standards and remember that social media is just a snippet of people’s life. Just because someone changes their body, doesn’t mean it will eradicate insecurities or exempt you from life’s problems. Don’t get caught up in the trends now that are forever changing and that can have a long term impact.

For influencers/ celebs who do decide to sculpt their bodies, just remember that people are looking up to you. You probably didn’t ask to be anyone’s role model but unfortunately what you choose to do affects others. You have a lot of power over shifting the culture. I believe we all have a social responsibility to the younger generation and we have to make decisions or at least have more conversations promoting body acceptance.  

There’s no way to turn your nose up at your own body or to put these really small boundaries on what’s socially acceptable for body types that are displayed that should be celebrated and that you’re not turning around and turning your nose up at other people – Joulzy on Body Image and Insecurities.

To truly accept all body types, it’s important that we practice loving our own bodies. Believe it or not, having a negative self-body image has an impact on your perception of other people’s body types. If you are critical about your own appearance, for example; don’t like your bum size or belly, how would you look at others and genuinely think it’s beautiful? Practising self-acceptance is tantamount to loving others holistically.

Three tips help when getting overwhelmed over body image:

  • Social media break- Delete your apps or log out for at least a day every so often. Arrange social media free days. Taking a break is good for your mental and physical well-being. Being constantly exposed to these reel highlights of other people’s lives can eat away at your confidence if it’s already quite low. It takes the focus off what you look like and more into things in your daily life that are important.

  • Unfollow unrealistic body types & follow diverse ones- In order to feel better about your body, start following people with similar body types as your own or more diverse ones. The more you see yourself reflected online, the more you are inclined to accept yourself.  Remember, you get to choose what crowd you engage with and what people on Instagram you decide to follow.

  • Learn more- learn more about your relationship with your body. Ask yourself this; how do I feel about my looks? What is my relationship with food? Where do those thoughts about my body come from? When you become clear on who you are and your own positive/ negative habits, it will help you to start developing a healthier relationship with your body.

Questions to you:

Have you felt pressured to look a certain way because of social media?

Would love to hear what you think!

 

Love, Ash ❤

 

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Toxic Friends

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The company we keep plays an important role in our lives. A good friendship should consistent of these overarching characteristics; supportive, considerate, trustworthy, generous, honest and understanding. Great friends growth together. They should make you feel good inside. They share moments of joy and are great support systems.

But what about if your friend/s are toxic? Unfortunately many of us have experienced a toxic friendship. If you have never experienced a toxic friend then you’re extremely lucky or…delusional lol! When a certain friendship becomes detrimental to your well-being and puts you in a negative space, you have to consider whether the friendship is worth maintaining or not. This is not an easy process especially when you extremely care for that person and once had close friendship.

This is something I’ve personally experienced. I found myself feeling like certain friendships became more like a chore. I never felt like they supported my endeavours and that they would project their insecurities onto me. Friends should never make you feel like you’re not good enough or that your feelings do not matter. I often felt compelled to maintain our friendship because they have previously shown me care and had them for a significant period of time. But when I started to attract people in my life that were loving, considerate and caring, I realised how dysfunctional a few of my  friendships were and decided that I had to make changes in order to preserve my well-being.

However, saying all of this I have also been a toxic friend! As painful as it is to admit it, I am guilty for the very things I’ve experienced. We don’t like to admit when we are the problem however in order for us to grow we have to hold ourselves accountable and live in our truth. I have been that jealous, un-supportive, bitchy, negative friend. The reasons why I was so toxic was because I was unsatisfied with the person I was inside. The way I treated others was mostly a reflection of how I felt about myself.  When you are a toxic person, it’s common to believe that you’re a great friend who does little wrong. It’s very important that we sit with ourselves and analyse how we interact within our friendships. Admitting that you’ve made mistakes is the first step for transforming yourself and becoming a better person and friend to those around you.

I’ve stood on both sides of the fence- being the toxic friend and having toxic friends. Because of this I feel like I can offer some humbling advice.

Your friend is Toxic:

Signs that they’re toxic: don’t support your endeavours, gaslight you, picks on your personality, thrives off of your insecurities, projects insecurities onto you, lack empathy, untrustworthy, gossipy, self-centred, stubborn, rude to you, doesn’t admit when they’re wrong.

Words of advice:

  • You deserve to have friends who genuinely supports and shows you love (not just says it). You are not obligated to settle for less than you deserve within your friendship. You shouldn’t accept abusive behaviour under the guise of ‘love’. Ultimately you get to choose the company you keep. You have agency over your life and get to either create a circle of friends who are helping or hindering your growth.

 

  • If being around them makes you feel negative then you need to seriously consider distancing yourself or removing them from your life. Growth takes some people time and your friend probably isn’t a bad person. In fact you’ve probably shared plenty of great moments together in the past. Experiencing good times with someone or knowing someone for a significant period does not give them an excuse to treat you badly. Your needs and desires come first and you should be selfish in preserving that. There’s people out there who will be loving, supportive and trustworthy, so you are not obligated to settle for those who don’t.

You are the toxic friend:

Signs that you’re toxic: you put your insecurities onto them, you’re not supportive, you gossip about them, you’re possessive, you’re unforgiving, you don’t admit when you’re wrong, you copy them, you don’t ask them how they are, you undermine their goals.

Words of advice:

  • When you put your friend down and have something negative to say about them, most of the time it’s only  mirroring your own insecurities. It might make you feel better finding flaws in someone so you don’t have to deal with your own insecurities, but you’re the only person who loses in the situation. The next time you find yourself feeling triggered by someone’s achievements, ask yourself whether you are 100% satisfied within that area of your life. Chances are you are not. Figure out what’s missing inside of you that’s causing you to act this way. What do you need to do more of to feel better about yourself?  If you truly love your friend and yourself, you’d take some time out to become a better you. Use those feelings as a guide to where you need to work and develop on yourself.

 

  • You are probably an amazing person deep down inside who is currently going through a difficult time. That being said, you going through something doesn’t mean you can’t apologise for the ways you’ve hurt others. If you’ve really hurt someone you should admit when you’re wrong and say sorry. Even if your apology is not accept by them, accept and forgive yourself. The best form of apology is by demonstrating that you can be better.

In conclusion

Ultimately the message is if we love ourselves more we will naturally treat others better and we would expect better from the company we keep. Keep people around you where love is reciprocated, where you both want to grow and glo together.

Questions to you:

Have you had a toxic friend?

Have you been a bad friend to someone?

I would love to hear your experiences & thoughts.

Love Ash, xx