For all of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 we have been bombarded with articles, inspirational quotes and motivational Instagram pictures of self positivity. I can't scroll through the discover page without seeing a post about body acceptance or loving your flaws, and while I'm definitely not going to sit here and disregard these messages as important and influential, I'd like to posit the argument that sometimes it's okay to not like yourself.
Hear me out!
Self-love has gone from a word of advice to an exhausting chore that's being shoved down our throats. While I feel it's important to love yourself as a whole, I think it's just as important to be able to recognize your flaws and downfalls and potentially fix them if you feel it necessary. A few years ago I went through a fairly dramatic weight loss journey, dropping 35 pounds in roughly 5 months. I'm sharing this information not as a motivational story about achieving a dream once thought to be impossible, but rather a tale of recognizing what makes you unhappy and rather than just accepting it as the way things are, taking the steps to change it. Granted, there are many things that we just can't change, and to that I would say you just have to make the most of life. But if it is something that could be changed and makes you feel like you haven't accomplished your full potential, why settle?
This might be a very controversial opinion in today's society where we are inundated with a positivity only mentality, but I think it needs to be openly discussed. There is a fine line between acceptance and settling for what you think you can get, and I don't think the latter should be condoned. I feel like it has gotten to the point now where if we don't accept all our flaws, then that, in itself, is a flaw and should be condemned. It's almost unbelievable that the tables have turned so drastically and yet I feel embarrassed at times to admit I'm not satisfied with certain aspects of my life because I'm being made to feel like I'm "conforming" to certain ideals instead of simply trying to better myself.
I want to focus a bit more on the body positivity movement because it seems like that is where this convoluted ideology seems to stem from. I was once overweight, and while I did love myself and thought I looked great, I knew somewhere amidst the late teen angst and early adulthood anxiety that I wasn't fulfilling the potential that was right there waiting for me. Just like a writer who doesn't write or an artist who doesn't draw - how will we know our greatness if we don't try to improve and only accept what cards we've been dealt at that particular moment?
It's vital to accept your body and understand that women who look like clothes hangers perpetuated on runways and in magazines are not representative of regular people. HOWEVER, it's also important to understand that everyone can be better, can do better. I don't think it's a fault to recognize that, but at times that's what it seems this 'positivity' movement is saying. If you are happy with the way your are, then that's fantastic and something we should all strive for! And if you're not, then you have a vision of where you want to be and can at least try to achieve it. I don't see anything wrong with the latter just like so many don't seen anything wrong with heavily focusing on the former.
Sorry for the rant, but this has been on my mind for a while and I wanted to share my thoughts. Let me know if you agree or if you think I'm an awful person for thinking this way? I'm open to either type of comment.