I am thrilled to present you the first Guest Post on The Bibliotheque. Yes, you heard right. This is the beginning of a new section where you – yes, you – will be able to speak your mind and heart and use this blog as the last push you need to get to more people. But what makes today really special is not the new section opening, it’s the what we will discuss and the who being in charge of discussing.
Over a year ago, when I started my instagram account, I would have never imagined I was going to meet such amazing, kind and beautiful little creatures. Furthermore, I would have never imagined that I was going to connect at such strong level with someone. But don’t be mistaken, even if I have met a lot of great and talented people, only a few I consider actual friends. Even if we have never been standing in the same place at the same time, we still stand together in many different ways. We share passions, obsessions and worries. One of these little creatures is Marie. As well as me, she is a fierce advocate of self love, and as you may know I think it is super important to talk about body image and all the wrong and mistaken social standards we are constantly bombed with. So here’s Marie’s beautiful post about accepting and loving yourself and the importance of doing so unconditionally.
Thank you, Marie. You are a ray of sunshine.
You can find Marie at @Mariesbookdiary
Here’s to loving ourselves unconditionally and unapologetically
So here we go, a little post about self love. About appreciating and treating yourself the way you deserve, about seeing yourself the way the people who love you do.
When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and the reflection you saw made you happy?
When was the last time you didn’t worry about that little tummy pouch, your curves being to prominent and your thighs too big, about being flat chested and not having a perky butt?
When was the last time you did not worry about being too big or too thin?
You were not born hating your body, society taught you to. Every day, you are told, either by the incessant influence of advertisements, through movies, books and TV shows or by peers or even friends and family that you need to change who you are and strive to be someone, something better.
‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’
That’s one of my favourite quotes because of how accurate it is. Just think about it for a second. We constantly keep comparing ourselves to others in so many ways, be it subconsciously or not. We compare our grades, our achievements, our relationships, our bodies and we even compare our lives to everything we are presented on the media. Yup, you read that correctly. I used ‘presented’ very much on purpose because that’s what it is: a presentation of snippets from people’s lives, who choose to only show you their highlights and the sugar coated parts of their days. They don’t show you the days spent in their pyjamas with greasy hair, watching Netlfix and eating popcorn. They don’t show you the lows or the dark times. They don’t show you their stretch marks or tummy rolls either. So don’t compare yourself to what you see out there, because it doesn’t do reality justice.
And you see where it takes us, right? We constantly feel the need to hide ourselves, to take up less space and to fit into a mould that society has created for us. All we ever try to do is please others, to be like them, because we think that’s what’s going to make us happy. Is it really though? Last time I checked, it wasn’t.
So obviously, everything I just said applies to the way you perceive your body as well. And I’m telling you right now, right here, that, most likely, (except if you’ve been very lucky) what you have been taught about body image is profoundly and utterly wrong. You don’t need to have a flat tummy, thigh gap and a big butt to look good. Your hair doesn’t need to be long and shiny and your skin doesn’t need to be perfectly tanned. Your waist is never too big, your legs never too short and your arms not too flabby.
No matter what shape or size you are, what colour your skin is, whatever gender you identify as, no matter who you are or are not attracted to, no matter what brings you joy and where your passion lies, YOU DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE any of these things.
You only need to learn how to love them.
Let me tell you a little something about our bodies that might help you appreciate yours a little more. In my physiology class last week, we were talking about something that really stuck with me. By the time you’ll be 70 years old, your heart will have beaten 2-3 billion times, pumped 200,000,000 liters of blood and burnt more than 130 tons of ATP. Also, there are about 86 billion neurons in the human brain and each of them has about 7,000 synaptic connections to other neurons. I think that’s pretty damn impressive; now just try to think about all of the crazy things taking place in our bodies every second of the day on a molecular, microscopic and macroscopic scale. Ok I’m going to stop it now with all of this science stuff but what I am trying to say here is OUR BODIES ARE FREAKING MIRACLES. And yet we barely ever (or maybe more like never) appreciate ourselves and what we achieve on the daily basis. Even if it’s running say 10k one day and just barely making it out of bed the next. You are good enough no matter what you achieved today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that. Because your worth does not depend on the way you look, how much of your schedule you got done today or any of these material, superficial and shallow things. You are so much more than that.
The way you make others feel about themselves, the things you stand up for, your passions, your goals, your ambitions and your dreams; they all say so much more about who you are than this shell you were born into and the set norms you are trying to fit into. And yet, so often, that’s all we ever reduce ourselves to.
Call me cheesy all you want, I don’t care. There are so many young people out there who are heartbreakingly unhappy with themselves because of the insane amount of pressure they have to deal with on a daily basis. Just thinking about it makes me so sad and that’s why I simply need to get this out there.
You are enough, even if that’s not what society has been telling you, what you have been telling yourself all these years.
I know me saying this won’t magically make everyone be happy with who they are from one second to the next, won’t stop anyone from comparing themselves to others, won’t stop this generation of young vulnerable people from, and I’m sorry to say this, hating themselves.
The journey to self love and acceptance is a long and hard one if you’re standing at the very beginning, or even if you’ve already embarked a long time ago, but it is so worth every step and every drawback along the way. It might sound ridiculous but why not start by standing in front of the mirror every morning and telling yourself one thing you think is great about the reflection you see? It’s a tiny step but it helps so much.
Even if you can’t see all your amazing qualities right now, you need to realise that self love is not about changing yourself so you can fit into the norms created by society and loving yourself for that. No, no, no. It is about loving yourself the way you are right now, right here, in this very moment. And loving oneself is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to pick up the broken pieces and put yourself to bed. You are the one who has to prepare breakfast in the morning and tell yourself it’s going to be ok. And you are the one who has to be there for yourself when no one else will.
Would you ever tell your best friend that she doesn’t look beautiful or that she isn’t an amazing person? No you wouldn’t. And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t do just that to yourself either. So here’s to finally learning how to love ourselves, like a mother does her child.
And finally, a little thought to wrap up this post; flowers can be small, big, blue or pink, some grow fast, some grow slow and not all of them bloom at the same time. And yet you would never think of a flower as not good enough. Why don’t we just try thinking about ourselves that way too for a second?
So here’s to loving ourselves for who we really are, not despite but including all the little flaws, our imperfections and insecurities, and all our little quirks that make us so special. Here’s to loving ourselves without any “what if’s”.
Here’s to loving ourselves unconditionally and unapologetically.
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