Standing in front of the mirror, I am always hit with the same dilemma: self-love or self-improvement?
Firstly, when did self-love become an opponent of self-improvement? Secondly, how often do people slip into self-destruction in the name of self-improvement?
Our senses are constantly fed with beauty standards through various forms of media—posters, magazine covers, social networking sites, commercials. I think we all are aware that most of these standards are an illusion created with the help of a lot of makeup, perfect lighting, right angels and a touch of Photoshop.
That being said, if someone sets healthy and achievable goals in order to improve themselves, why is it not seen as self-love? Whenever I mention wanting to lose weight, buying products to improve my skin or wanting to learn makeup tricks, I’m often hit with the “You need to learn to love yourself for who you are.” speech. But if I am taking care of myself and making myself better, doesn’t that mean I love myself? Would you water a plant if you did not want it to live?
That’s another stereotype that needs breaking—makeup, self-grooming and dieting don’t mean you don’t love yourself for exactly who you are. It means you love yourself enough to see a greater potential that you can reach.
However, the problem lies in the blurry line that separates self-improvement from self-destruction.
Are you striving to be the best version of yourself or are you hurting yourself under the pressure of societal standards?
Today, there are numerous girls and boys hurting themselves, undergoing dangerous surgeries, torturing themselves both mentally and physically in order to fit an image deemed to be “perfect.” But before giving yourself up for this image, think about who are the people creating these standards and images? Beauty, fashion and fitness industries are fuelled by boys and girls that are dissatisfied with who they are and they know if the dissatisfaction ends, so will their profits. So instead, they create a standard that’s impossible to reach.
That is why it is important to never forget who you are and be the best you can be without losing yourself. Better yourself, but don’t alter yourself. Your personal goals should be set according to what makes you happy and not what the society dictates. So, I decided to take a pledge to work towards making myself better and happier, every day and making sure people around me are doing the same without being influenced by societal pressure or opinion. Everyone is beautiful as long as they are being exactly who they want to be.