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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Do you attract what you are? Let’s talk!

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You are all probably familiar with the famous line “You attract what you are”. I remember the first time hearing this line when I was younger and not resonating with it. My thought process was “So I don’t love myself, does that mean I will attract people who will treat me badly?”. I couldn’t resonate with it because at the time I didn’t love myself. At the same time, did not feel like my lack of self love  justified being mistreated by others. I felt like this quote lead to victim blaming, rather than putting agency and accountability onto the person who has done the mistreating.

When I started my self-discovering journey, I began to see this same line crop up consistently. Funnily enough, I didn’t feel as disconnected with the words as I previously did. Over a period of months, I delved into my teenage years to figure out any patterns that had contributed to my peak depression after I graduated. I wanted to start forming healthy, fulfilling relationships with others but I first had to figure out where the break down began in this department of my life. Through this self reflection process, I noticed a direct correlation between my lack of self-love and the types of relationships I accepted.

My lack of self-love and acceptance showed up in a multitude of ways.  I noticed certain people in my life would feel comfortable speaking to me the way I talked to myself. For example; I would say stuff like ‘I’m dumb’ and people around me would be comfortable using the same language towards me. My lack of self-love showed up in what I accepted from others. My need to please others lead to people taking advantage of me. On the flip side, the negative relationship I had with myself made me comfortable being bitchy, jealous towards my friends. I felt a lack of self-love and this showed up in the way people treated me and how I treated others.

Lisa Nichols- “Your job is to be the first example of how the world is supposed to love and treat you. It’s your job to give the world the best example possible. The people in your life will follow your example on how they get to treat you.”

Quote from Lisa Nichols book: Abundance Now

It became very clear during my self-love journey that treating myself badly made people feel comfortable in treating me the same way. When I started to affirm, love and redefine myself to become my best version, I was forced to change the conditions of my relationships. I was no longer was willing to accept being mistreated. I began to heal myself and be real about my own toxicity which naturally helped me stop projecting my toxicity onto others. As a result, I began to attract loving, healthy relationships into my life. This revelation has bought me so much peace and completely redefined my relationship with myself and the way I treat others.

I have definitely grown a greater understanding and appreciation for this old saying. However whilst I now agree with it I still don’t believe in victim shaming. I adamantly believe that we are entitled to love in its highest capacity even at times when we don’t quite love ourselves. I don’t believe that anyone is deserving of ill-treatment simply because they treat themselves badly. The way people treat us has much more to say about them than it does about us.

There are people suffer from debilitating mental health and/or self-esteem issues. It may take some people years to start truly loving or start accepting themselves. I don’t feel like this means that they should have people around them to meet them where they are at. When I had people treating me badly, I didn’t think I deserved it and I don’t think anyone does simply because they don’t love themselves. I don’t encourage a culture of blame. I think it’s important to be compassionate and treat others respectfully.

To end, it’s so important that you are good to people and take accountability for your mistreatment of others. Ask yourself more whether you’d want to be treated in the way you’re treating others. I want to create a conversation around this question, so I’d love to hear your thoughts or your experiences. I am still in the process of learning and my opinion on this topic is subject to change. This is my understanding thus far and I am still in the early stages of my self-love journey so I’d love to know your thoughts.

A Question to you: 

Do you think that you are what you attract?

Thank you for reading!

 

Much Love, Ash xx

Lack of Self-Belief: Personal Confessional and Tips to Help

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Is your lack of self-belief holding you back? You might want to create a wonderful life for yourself but a part of you feels like you are not good enough to achieve it. As 2018 is coming to an end I think it’s the perfect time to talk about something that can really have an impact on the upcoming year.

Low self-belief comes from an overarching message that you aren’t good enough. Suffering from low self-belief takes different forms in a person’s life. For example; avoiding pursuing your dreams because you don’t believe you can pull it off or feel uncomfortable to talk about yourself at social events. For some of us, self-belief doesn’t come naturally and is one of our biggest obstacles coming in the way of manifesting the life we want.

A lack of self-belief does not come in a vacuum. Many of us who suffer or have suffered from low self-esteem can trace the root causes back to our childhood or a negative experience that has affected the way we see ourselves. This is definitely true from my experience. I can trace this back to my school experiences. I always I tried hard in school but I would never get the grades to reflect my efforts. I didn’t have the experience of teachers who believed in me- in fact, they would usually undermine my capabilities by giving me low targets to meet. I believed I had the potential to do really well but my efforts were never acknowledged nor rewarded. When you’re the only one in your corner fighting to be better, it can be isolating and debilitating to one’s self-esteem especially when you put effort behind what you want to do. This experience ultimately created a sense of doubt in my ability to pursue my dreams.

At the end of 2017 I decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery which became the catalyst for working on my self-belief. I wanted to be self-confident and have believe in my potential to pursue my passion. I began searching for information that would help me and I remember coming across a video. She said something so simple yet it shifted my way of thinking: “ No Matter What”. For me those words mean having unwavering faith in my potential and capabilities no matter what obstacles I faced.  No matter what means believing in myself when others don’t recognize my potential. Those words mean that negative experiences are simply adding character to my journey and not evidence against my capabilities.

I wrote down a few declarations at the beginning of 2018 to help me on my journey towards truly believing in myself and they’re working extremely well. If you’re currently going through this battle, they should help you too.

Here are three declarations to make to yourself:

  1. No matter what- No matter what you go through you have to believe that you will make it through anything and be victorious. You have to make a declaration that nothing is going to take you out of this thing called life, despite how painful and hard it can be at times. Even if it takes you a long time to achieve your goals, you will not give up on yourself and will continue to take steps towards manifesting your dreams. The failures that you experience are lessons and teach you important life lessons that will ultimately lead to your success.
  2. If others can do it, so can I- There’s so much information available now that you can create a life for yourself unimaginable before. There are people out there who have experienced similar obstacles as you but have still been able to live their dreams. Even if you’re still figuring out how (I’m in the same boat), just know that we all start somewhere and sometimes you’ve just got to do it anyways and figure it out along the way. You possess all the qualities within you to live your version of success and happiness. There’s room for all of us to win, and a spot has been made for you to fill, if you put in the consistency and patience required.
  3. I am deserving of a great life- You deserve to wake up every morning and feel grateful for the things you have in your life. You deserve to live the life you’ve always envisioned for yourself. This is your world! Look at all the obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get to this point. You’re not on this earth to suffer but to live your best life.

And finally…

Having self-belief certainly does not come overnight. It’s still something that I struggle with and just like any other part of self-development, it’s a process which takes time. If you’re struggling with this, I want you to know that it’s not too late to start now. Even if you don’t fully believe in yourself, try living like you already have self-believe and trust me your life will change. Why not try a new feeling outside of doubt, worry and lack of self-confidence?

10 Affirmations: 

  • I am my biggest supporter
  • No matter what happens in life I can handle it
  • Nothing is going to take me out of this race called life
  • I refused to believe I am on this earth to suffer
  • I am not going to stop until I live my purpose
  • My faith in self is too big for anything to stop me!
  • In times of uncertainty, I will allow my inner child to guide me into following my dreams
  • I am proud of all of my accomplishments, even when they’re small
  • No matter how it takes me, I will manifest the life that I want
  • I will move towards my dreams, even if it’s a crawl on some days

Have you suffered or are currently suffering from a lack of self-belief? What are your experiences?

What is your personal development goal for 2019?

Love Ash, xx