Self image and self love in a social media era

Shoot Joni - Castricum sept. 2017 - instagram@jeffreyvonkphotos-4

Although I consider myself blessed I’ve got to spend a majority of my life growing up without the constant pressure of social media, and the overload of images and visuals of society’s idea of perfect, I do understand -and notice- the pressure and how it can be overwhelming, confusing and even shack your self-esteem. I do understand how these things may influence the way you think about yourself. Especially when you are a young female struggling your way towards adulthood. Coming from a different era I guess `I can call myself lucky enough to have spent my -already very challenging- teenage years without that extra buzz of today’s social media influence driven society.

Fast forward to now, being in my thirties I can say that I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. I know I’m not perfect, and that’s fine. Through the years my body has had many shapes and forms and I wasn’t always comfortable with it. Let me repeat that: I wasn’t always comfortable with it, as in me, myself. Because, thankfully, I never really care about what other people may think about the shape of the body that comes with my soul. And neither should you.

Beauty is such a relative concept. I think people tend to forget about that. What is beautiful to me might not be your cup of tea. As it is always in the eye of the beholder. And not on magazine covers and Instagram profiles.

I think a beautiful human being is the one who shines from the inside out and breathes gratitude.

Dealing with your opinion about yourself should be more than enough. You see? Because this will always be the most important and defining one. What makes the difference is how you talk about and to yourself.

I try to keep my focus on the things I do like about myself and work on accepting the parts I feel less comfortable with. Or putting the effort in where change is needed. But where I do decide I need change, the decision is based and deeply considered by how I feel about myself. Trust me, working on your mindstate is way more important and effective than getting work done on the outside. Because this is where it all starts.

So I don’t spend any effort on my looks? Of course, I do! I spend way too much money on bathing suits because I love living my life in them. Also skin care and hair treatments are high on my list because taking care of my hair and skin is a big part of my self-care routine. And yes, I also go to the gym for example. But mainly because I prefer to stay fit and healthy as it has a very positive effect on my mindstate and stress level.

When I feel like my ass is too fat (this mostly happens right after the holiday season, but that’s a side note) I work on my cardio – which is not my favorite thing to do. But as with many things in life, there are no shortcuts.

If you want change you have to make an effort. So I put in the work. Liposuction is not the answer, and you also don’t need bigger boobs, lips or hips. In case you were wondering.

I always valued personal growth above anything else and I try to stay very aware of my development as a human being, trying to evolve constantly. While I was growing into the woman that I am today I’ve put a lot of effort into working on the inside because if you haven’t got that straight there is not a thing in the world that could be done on the outside that makes you feel any better about yourself and your appearance.

I’m aware of my own contribution to the social media buzz, the content I create and share throughout my blog and Instagram and how this may come off and the possible influence that has on others. The backlash I got for sharing too much (both skin as heart) and the appreciation. The misconception, expectations and judgment, it seems to be all part of “the deal”..  When it comes to self-image and the opinions of others I’ve been working hard to stay close to myself and not let anything get to me too much.

The pressure of “creating content” got bigger than the natural urge to document and share. And it became a thing I felt uncomfortable with. So I took a break from it all. The past few months I went through a phase of reconsidering the things I’ve shared and the image it perhaps showcases.

I got a bit tired and sad of the social media decade we live in. And how we seem to look for happiness, fulfillment and even love outside of ourselves. Comparing and losing oneself in the process. While we should start from within.

Taking a step back I even considered going “offline” for good – deleting my blog, quitting Instagram and go back to the girl with the diary. Filling its pages with poems and thoughts about life, love and all that keeps me up at night for no one to be seen. But that in a way would be a selfish and the easy way out for me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me it’s all about balance in all that I do, create and share. If the things I put out there really influence others I should do my best effort to make sure that whatever is shared is real, from the heart and hopefully empowers others. But above all it should always carry something that is authentic to me.

When it comes to body image; I wish to stay grateful for all that I have been born with. A healthy body that has managed to house my soul for a good couple of years and hopefully many more to come. And I wish for you the same.

And for those who still wonder. Yes, I’m pretty comfortable and not afraid to show some skin here and there and I wear my heart on my sleeve. If that offends you, look away. If that makes you feel less or more about yourself, stop right there. I am not here to make you feel anything else about yourself than you already feel. Work on your self-image through YOU and not through anybody else. We spend so much time worrying about how others may see us, we often forget to take a good look at ourselves. So detox your timeline, declutter and filter. Because what really matters is how we see ourselves, through our own eyes and not that of others.

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