It’s taken me 17 years to finally write an article about something so simple yet so many teenagers and adults struggle with: the concept of self love. College has this unhelpful little downside that can make even the strongest carefree people worry about even the tiniest of flaws that most of the time aren’t even noticed. I remember this exact cycle happening to me when I first entered Macleans—a girl who always used to wear hand-me-downs and not have a care in the world about what others had to say suddenly became this anxious, self-conscious person who always thought she was too underweight and loud. Whether it’s scrutinizing physical features such as your weight, height, the way you smile, or nitpicking your freckles and acne, we are our own worst enemy and bully that no one seems to talk about.
We live in a world that feeds and convinces us that we are never good enough. A world that profits from someone’s hate of a certain flaw through magazines, billboards, and advertisements for products that will ‘help you reach that level beauty and physical appearance you’ve always wanted’. As a society, we have been conditioned to the idea of what the ‘perfect’ body is and that whatever doesn’t fit that type is not considered beautiful. It’s time to change that now, because something is wrong considering the fact that if someone says “love” the immediate image of you with a significant other is created, but the love you have with yourself is undoubtedly forgotten about. The amount of opportunities that I have missed throughout the past five years due to the restrictions and judgement I have inflicted upon myself is endless.
But the thing is, we ourselves are the only ones who truly see how we have grown and developed. You are the person who notices that your hair has slightly grown, the way you’ve gained more freckles on your arms or the cut just below your knee. You are the one who experiences every moment of the day with yourself, so why not love yourself for it? The most common problem with self image nowadays is the dependence on others to reassure you that you are good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough, and this needs to stop. We need to begin to see ourselves as an ongoing art piece, one that is always being painted and worked on, with the artist being none other than you.
This article is a reminder to you that you are real, raw, and always changing. You need to show love and respect for yourself because you are unique and wonderful. Block out what the media or beauty magazines try to persuade you, and don’t spend your time thinking about how to change yourself to be like Kendall Jenner or Zac Efron. Follow social media accounts and platforms that benefit and encourage you to be a better you and not make you want to change everything about yourself and the way you are. How can we expect love from another when we don’t love ourselves? Author Rupi Kaur once said: “We are all born so beautiful, the greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not”. It’s the little things we love about other people, and I’m thankful to have learned myself because after 18 years of being alive on this little planet we call Earth, I’m finally seeing myself as an art piece and I hope you all do too.
Written by: Monika Todorova
Edited by: Isabel Li