Confidence. We hear that word in song lyrics, marketing slogans and leadership trainings, but hearing the word and embodying the word are two completely different things.
From media body shaming to our own personal criticisms, how do we love ourselves when society makes it so difficult? A mind-blowing, one-stop shop kind of answer doesn’t exist, but I can tell you some realistic approaches that will help you embrace your true beauty.
Give Yourself a Break.
The world already sucks. So why do we make it worse by being so hard on ourselves? Personally, when I look in the mirror, I find it easy to pick out every imperfection. But we see ourselves differently than the rest of the world sees us. We are quick to critique and slow to encourage, and I’m just tired of it. So I’m stopping. I will no longer criticize myself and allow my confidence to waver due to a momentary feeling. We are human beings, perfectly imperfect in every way. Whether we struggle with acne, dry skin, weight, or anything else, we have to give ourselves a break.
Love is a Choice, Not a Feeling.
Like relational love, you choose to love yourself; you don’t just feel it. Any strong marriage shows that while feelings come and go, true love remains a daily decision. Loving ourselves works in the same way. Ever had a day when you feel like the world is yours? You walk out of the house with your makeup and outfit on point, but then the very next day, you feel like the ugliest person on earth? Your appearance didn’t change overnight, your emotions did. Don’t be swayed by a feeling, but choose to see what is beautiful.
Don’t Let the Media Mislead You.
I have a true love/hate relationship with technology. On one hand, it connects us with others and opens up an entire world with just a click of a button. On the other hand, it can be greatly misleading, and social media tends to show only the highlights of someone’s life. Photoshop doesn’t help. I’m a photographer, and trust me, transforming someone into the perfect version of themselves is easier than you think. Digital makeovers happen so often that celebrities like Beyonce, Chrissy Teigen and Kate Winslet are now speaking out against companies who alter their image.
You Are Beautifully Made.
You carry a set of characteristics that no one else owns. Once you start believing this, it will change the way you view yourself. Enjoy being different. I’m a nerdy, crazy-hair-loving, organic-eating, sustainability-preaching interior designer, and I love that about myself. I love that no one else is like me, and I love seeing diversity in my friends as well. If you fill your head with unhealthy thoughts, they will eat away at your confidence. Remind yourself of who you are daily, and you will come to believe it. Surround yourself with positive people, for they will encourage you and lift you up.
Years ago, a song came out called, “The Curse of Curves,” and like most people, you probably jammed out singing lyrics you really didn’t think twice about. Now that I’m older and more aware of messages within songs, I realize that curves aren’t a curse, but a blessing. I’ve come to love my figure, seeking inspiration from women like Demi Lovato and Marilyn Monroe. What’s wrong with being curvy? What’s wrong with being naturally thin? Why are we so stuck on looking the same? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a place where everyone looks the same. How boring would that be? We encourage people to “be who they are” and to “just do you,” and yet when it comes to weight, we turn into hypocrites. Learn to love yourself and your body because that’s what makes you, you. Stop being hard on yourself, and start embracing your individuality. You are beautiful, inside and out, and it’s time to start living that way.
If you do struggle daily with seeing your inner beauty, Auburn provides counseling services for those who need to talk. Located in the Medical Clinic, Auburn University Student Counseling Services help those struggling with anything from body positivity and anxiety to eating disorders. Visit their website for more information.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.
Born and raised in the 256, Lydia is majoring in interior design and minoring in sustainability. Growing up with an eye for design, she pursued photography as a child and later fell in love with the simplistic beauty of modern architecture.
A lover of tattoos and all things black, Lydia believes that artistic self-expression is what makes each person unique. When she isn't hard at work on studio projects or working here in the marketing department, you can find her taking photos and cuddling with her dog. She wants to move to New York City to continue her career in design, so she can open her own architecture firm with her brother.