"Over the past year I took up exercising and cut out sugar, which resulted in me losing quite a bit of weight. I feel a lot better about myself and even strangers will comment on how great I look — so why do I still feel like I’m not good enough?"
-Question submitted by Anonymous
I think we live in a world where pictures/video of “perfect” human beings are thrust into our faces at every turn. If someone isn’t thinner than us, they’re taller, or more tan, or have bigger boobs, or nicer lips, or a really cute laugh, or they went to an Ivy League school, or they have more money, or they have cooler clothes, or they get to travel more, or yadda yadda I could go on for HOURS. Something happened at some point, I don’t know where, when our society decided that differences were not to be celebrated. Instead, we were all supposed to strive for this strange form of ‘perfection’ which doesn’t even exist, we’ve made it up and changed it all along the way as often as possible. I have friends who have literally said they “hate looking asian” in pictures… GIRL, YOU ARE HALF JAPANESE, AND ALSO RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL. I have friends who spend money they don’t have so they can “LOOK RICH.” I have friends who will delete pictures from my phone because their “arms look fat.”
YALL. It’s out of control. We’re all obsessed with trying to be anything but exactly who we are. Do I know how to fix it? no. Do I know why it happens? No. Do I have the answers to our messed up society? Of course not. HOWEVER, I will tell you that the most important thing you can do is feel good about yourself. Regardless of how you look or dress or act, feeling good is key. We don’t even really pay attention when someone says something nice. Compliments are whatever. If they make you feel good, it lasts about four seconds before you begin to rip yourself apart again. Who cares what everyone else thinks!? Literally, even yOU don’t care. Feel good about you, because you are you, and you are the fucking best.
Take time every morning to look in a mirror, really appreciate the person you are and the person you’ve worked to become and the person you will grow to be. Think about all the things you love about yourself. Write a gratitude list. What makes you feel like you’re lucky as fuck? If it’s too hard, if you can only think of one thing, just add something to the list every day. Every morning write one thing and by the end of the month you’ll have a bad ass list of why your life fucking rules and why you are the fucking best.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the way you look.
I know you may think that I have totally missed the point here (‘Kristin, I LITERALLY just told you that this is because of the WAY I LOOK’) but I haven’t. Our eyes, even though they are scientifically sound little organs that are designed to perceive colors and lights and such… they are connected to our brains. And our brains cannot be trusted. Our brains are informed by all those things that Dannielle just discussed (media, gossip, and other human nonsense), and then they take those eye-organs and squish them up all funny so that we see things not as they are, but, instead, how we hope they aren’t.
I don’t know who is responsible for brains, but I would like to file a formal complaint.
The way you help make your eyes get unsquished is by focusing on what is happening in your brain. I feel you. Right now my brain is so twisted and mushed that I am also struggling on a daily basis with how I look, how I am perceived by others, and how I live my life. I know that, for me, this is because I am way, way too stressed out. I know that, for me, this is because I am constantly on a computer or a phone or WHATEVER instead of breathing air, seeing green, and thinking about the complexities and beauties of the world around me. That knowledge is critical, because it gives me power over my eyeballs. I know that I need to slow down. I know that I need to disconnect. And, when I do, my eyes start to unsquish… and I start to see myself. The real self. The one whose hair might be a mess or whose skin might be getting a little old or whose clothes might not fit quite right… and the one who has a good heart, who loves to laugh, who loves to create and inspire, and who — because of these things and these things alone — is beautiful no matter the clothing, the skin, the hair, or any other physical qualities.
You know that this is true, Anonymous, because you have seen humans of every shape and size and color and stature who have astounded you with their beauty… and that beauty is the direct product of who they are, of their person.
The magazines are bullshit, and they won’t help unsquish your eyes. Look to your brain, and think about what makes it hiccup, hesitate, and doubt. Slowly, work to change those things. Give your brain what it needs, and you will be able to see yourself – your very, very beautiful self – for exactly who you are.
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