How many times has there been an advertisement that made you think, “This product shows me that I am not pretty enough, and I therefore need to buy this?”, How many times has somebody from your locality approached you and said, “You know, you really should try wearing clothes that aren’t this body-hugging; they aren’t for your body type!” Or, the worst of all, how many of us have seen the effects that unpleasant social media interaction in the form of posts, comments and memes can have? It is a volcano simply waiting to erupt, every single time that a flaw shows itself- because modern culture has taught us that we have the right to dictate everyone’s lives and play the judge when something is on the off side in our opinions. In other words, we have learned to grow as a community of bigots, rather than grow together. There is no real validation and seeking it has only made us run a race against ourselves.
There is something awfully strange about the concept of self-love; its that we preach it more than we practice it, and there is more of its essence on social media than in our lives. Humans are, for the best part, social beings- and that means that we are capable of doing little with our lives if we are unable to connect to those around us or accept a little love without giving it back. Over the decades, the entire fiasco of what self-love is, and how its more a utopian concept rather than something we are all born with, has turned the lives of everyone, adolescents especially, into shambles. The existence of patriarchy, gender roles, stereotypes and community expectations have gone from creating inconvenience to breeding intolerance.
Psychologists and psychiatrists across the world have pointed out that most people struggle with accepting themselves, making it even harder to accept those around them. And maybe it is time to change that- it is time to promote self-awareness and self-love over social validation and inferiority complexes. There is also a serious need to address false body image positivity. This is where the role of social media enhances itself. We are brought up to believe that insecurities mean low confidence, inferiority and negativity. That, if a woman or a man, or even someone who identifies differently on the spectrum is insecure, then they are weak. But here’s the thing, nobody is completely secure. Not models or actors, not even the adult that called you out for that zit on your nose.
Insecurities are a large part of the cycle of growing up, and the point where we learn to accept them, and learn to embrace them is the peak. Insecurities are healthy, and normal and growing up doesn’t mean leaving them behind for good, it means embracing them and learning about them. As individuals and as a society, it is important we learn this, and teach it to those around us. It is imperative that we not only preach, but also practice. Maybe it is through being kind, by lending a helping hand, or extending emotional support to someone that is unable to do it for themselves. Maybe it is through guiding someone through tough times, and maybe it is through telling someone something you knew you needed to hear in your moment of weakness. There is little in the world that kindness and companionship cannot fix- and fortunately, these are the things that validation cannot bring you.
For as long as we let social stereotypes and Barbie-doll dimensions govern us, there is little we will be able to do to achieve happiness, because there will always be someone fairer, taller, skinnier, richer. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “We can’t let the insecurity ruin everything beautiful we were born with.” This is for the next time any of us feel like we are any less than somebody out there because of physical appearances, features or social statuses.
Insecurities don’t make you feel good, but would you rather feel inhumanly beautiful or confident than feel like yourself? And the next time you feel like it is getting the best of you, fight it; but don’t hate yourself for it.
Picture Credits: Cbc.com