On March 8th, we were all graced with the celebration of International Women’s Day – a focal point in the movement for women’s right, but also day of inspiration, empowerment and togetherness. On this day, every year, our social media channels are filled with female empowerment and the celebration seems to be getting bigger, year on year, and so it should. I’ve spent the weekend reading and nodding along in agreement to inspirational, powerful messages… I do the same every year however, it wasn’t until I sat through an hours ‘Girl Talk’ panel at The Body Shop ‘Celebrate SHE – #EmpowHER’ event that I realised it’s important that I, we, are inspired and take action over ourselves, one another and society, every day, not just on International Women’s Day.
Lately, I’ve really found myself in a bubble of self criticism and social comparison. I spend my time scrolling through social media and comparing myself (appearance and lifestyle) to those that I see on my social feeds. What we don’t realise is we spend our time filtering our own lives. We post images and videos we deem necessary for the social world, but forgetting the real world we actually live in. How often do you find an unedited picture on your social? Very rare. By ‘unedited’ this doesn’t just mean no filters, people are even ‘fake laughing’ to make themselves look good or as if their having a good time and this is all for social presence. We are forced to believe what is shared on social is how we do or should live our lives. We are led to believe that our lives need to look consistently perfect, with great food, great views and great friends – sharing all of this just to make ourselves look good or to please others.
I’m not saying we need to change what we post, we are in a society where we post the good things in life, and leave the bad. Post what makes you happy, post what makes you, you. What we need to change, is how we think. I know I do. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to those perfectly portrayed lives and people, because nobody’s perfect, everybody has bad days…even Beyoncé. Remember, social media is just a highlight reel and not always an accurate depiction of real life.
Personally, the older I’m getting, the more self conscious I am. I believe alongside the influence of social media, a lot of this has to do with life changes. As we get older, we watch our body change so start picking out the ‘flaws’, we are growing up watching others being successful and/or settled and start questioning what we are doing wrong if we aren’t in the same position, and we tend to move away from our support network. I for sure have noticed all of this. I’ve grown up SO much in the past 6 months i.e. I’ve moved away from my family and friends, for my career (that I love by the way), but the move hasn’t been easy. It’s been since I moved that I’ve noticed myself being more self conscious and unhappy in my skin and because I cannot pinpoint a reason why, I blame adulthood. The biggest change into adulthood has been the separation from family and friends, and a lot of this struggle hasn’t been from me missing them (of course I do). The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that because I’ve moved away from that support network, or comfort blanket of family and friends, my new life in London can appear ‘lonely’ to others and I get people telling me to get out and ‘make friends’ or comparing social lives. I understand people are looking out for me but this is just another example of how we are influenced or expected to live our lives a certain way, just to please others. On the bright side, I don’t want/need to make new friends. Yes, I’m far away from my family and friends but they are the important people in my life. I’m lucky enough to work in such a social environment so I get my ‘social fix’ at work, then honestly, by the time evenings and weekends come, I appreciate the me time to do what I enjoy, what makes me happy. And if I do feel lonely? My support network are always on the other end of the phone for moments of love, laughter and entertainment.
Ok, this has turned into one big messy rant that probably makes no sense, or seems pointless to many. But what I take from this is the following quote;
‘Never be afraid to fall apart. It presents an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you’d been all along.’
I certainly haven’t and do not feel myself lately, but it takes one inspirational message to realise your importance and understand you were not born into this world to please others. Be happy, be unique, be you – that’s whats beautiful.