I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind recently and that is a person’s whole being. I’ve been thinking about me – about how I see myself, how I feel about myself and how I treat myself. I’ve been feeling really positive about myself of late and the image I’m portraying to the world. It’s weird because I’m not sure when it happened but somewhere along the line I’ve stopped caring about what other people think and worrying what I think, because, guess what? I’m me and I like being me. In fact, I love being me. But then that brought me to thinking, why haven’t I always thought this? Isn’t it normal to actually love being who you are? Funnily enough, it’s not. So, why don’t we talk about that? Let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about loving yourself, empowering yourself and caring for yourself.
Our society tells us to be generous and to always think of others before ourselves. I’d say I’m a compassionate person – I care about people. But if I’m so compassionate why do I look in the mirror most mornings and tell myself I hate what I see? If I’m so compassionate why do I look at other girls and compare my worth to them? If I’m so compassionate why do I constantly suppress my voice? We need to start being compassionate towards ourselves. Stop looking at yourself through other people’s eyes. This is your life. It’s not about other people, it’s about you – singular, not plural. I think that learning to love yourself and who you are is majorly lacking in our society. No one knows how because we’ve always been told to be better: that’s enough food, I don’t think you should wear that dress and look at her/his body. Take my mum for example and the way she makes me feel about my body. She is always telling me that I shouldn’t be eating that or that’s plenty of food, Brecon. But she’s putting me down, forcing me to hate my body instead of loving it. And that’s not her fault. It’s the way she’s been conditioned to think, it’s the way that her mum before her was conditioned to think and so on. But I want to break that chain. I believe that you should empower your children, teach them to love their curves, their lines, the things that will make them, them (unless of course your weight is damaging to your health).
In saying this, so many people I know want to lose weight. I always come across friends or people who want to lose weight for others, which I think is completely wrong. In order to be comfortable and accepting of your inner-self you must first be acquainted with it. I can see how we want to impress others, to be like others, to fit in, but, people can tell you exactly what you want to hear and yet if you can’t tell yourself that, can’t actually feel that way yourself, then you’re never going to be happy with who you are. There will always be something missing; change because you want to change, not because others want you to change. I am a constant example of this as a lot of the time I will compose myself differently around people. I shouldn’t walk into a room, see a cute boy or “popular girl” and change myself – straighten my shoulders, say what I think they want me to say, and constantly check they notice me. I shouldn’t do that for anyone. My empowerment comes first and foremost from me and I shouldn’t let people try to control that power. Ultimately, I think we need to stop being concerned about other people and start being concerned about ourselves. In New Zealand suicide is the most common way a young person can die (I’m sorry to take such a morbid route! But it happens every day and we’re not doing anything about it!), and I think it’s because we let others influence who we are to the point where we lose ourselves – to breaking point. It’s time to be a little more selfish. We need to put ourselves forward, take time for ourselves and learn to love who we are.
My friend, Laura, and I have been working on a documentary for media the past few weeks and our topic is a person’s shadow. Your shadow represents who you are; the outline being your image and the murky darkness in between being your personality, your views, your ideas. Over the time we’ve been filming it’s really influenced my thinking. The other week I wore my new blue dress that I had bought from an op-shop and as I spun I watched my shadow dance across the car park. Suddenly it was like I’d awoken from a long slumber. I was so overcome with happiness because in that moment I realised that no matter what, it all comes down to how we view and feel about ourselves. I was happy to be me, to look the way I do, to be the way I am and happy to finally feel somewhat free from all these pressures we all face with being ourselves. I still have a little further to go to being completely comfortable within myself, but I’m working on it. The most important thing is that I’m finally asking why. I’m finally challenging the way I’ve been told to live because do you know what’s liberating? Sticking a big middle finger up to society and saying, I don’t care what you think of me. You tell every single person that you are proud to be who you are, that there is nothing more freeing than being unapologetically you. Tell them no one is ever going to make you feel inferior, worthless, or any different because you know who you are. You accept your soul because you recognise your flaws and weaknesses, but, they don’t affect you negatively because you know how to turn them into self-empowerment. I am going to pledge to myself (and I hope you will too), that ‘I will always love who I was, who I am and who I may become because my self-worth is determined by me alone and no one else.’
After all, there is truly only one of you and it’s pretty radical to be yourself.
From Brecon Xx