STORY TIME: Accept yo’ self, before you wreck yo’ self

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about, well… Boobs. Particularly, boob jobs. I’m not going to lie: I’ve given the idea a thought or two in the past, but eventually realized that the reason for getting said work done would not be wholly my own. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I could not think of a reason to do this that would be just for my personal benefit. In my opinion and life, it’s something I do to obtain external validation from someone else. For me this was breast augmentation, but for others it could literally be ANYTHING else. My example does not have to be your own. But do try to think of a situation in which you struggled to change yourself EXTERNALLY because you felt that other’s/society would be “nicer” to you and you’ll begin to understand my thoughts on this matter.

It took me quite some time to come to the conclusion that this was not something that I was doing for me or to my benefit, though. I even managed to convince myself that this was an empowering decision I was making because I had the money and I like the aesthetic of nice, round, and perky boobs. I mean, who doesn’t? Well, maybe gay men don’t.. anyway, I convinced myself that going under the knife would make me happy and confident on my own.. the ironic part, though, was before certain people started making comments about how optimum big, round, perky breasts really were and I began to become familiar with the notion that a woman’s value could be discounted based on her bosom, I was perfectly happy with my breast size. What changed?

ACCEPT PEOPLE, NOT THEIR “PREFERENCES”

Everyone has a preference, there’s no stopping that. I prefer people who are open-minded with that regard as friends and lovers rather than those who are more selective. I find those people are more open-minded and accepting of your average human flaw, y’know, the ones we all have, but like to pretend we don’t. I’ve known people who would dismiss me as a human being for all manner of external reason: race, age, gender, height, weight, hair type, and, yes, boob size and shape! It’s extremely debilitating to find out that someone you find perfectly tolerable cannot tolerate you because of some external feature about yourself you cannot or at least cannot control easily.

There are people like that everywhere. Sure, you can educate them, but can you change them? Well, no, and changing is entirely up to them, so why bother exerting the effort to change them OR please them? I believe in education and expressing your feelings to someone who thinks this way or that way because it’s cathartic and you’re letting them know that while you do accept them and their right to be or think whatever they do, you don’t have to accept the things they say about you or people like you.

SOMEONE ELSE’S OPINION IS NOT FACT

I believe women in particular are subject to a lot of mental and verbal abuse in the form of critiques of our bodies. And what do we do with those critiques? We shove them straight up that son of a- …I joke. I joke. That’s what I wish we would do. Instead, we believe it and join them in thinking negatively about a feature of our body and that’s where all the trouble starts. Rather than challenge that person or group’s way of thinking, we decide that we’re better off working to change ourselves instead. Know that you don’t have to believe anything anybody says to you. Someone’s opinion on your body is not a fact. Hell, a lot of people’s opinions do not constitute fact for your body.

Then why do we find it so hard to accept ourselves and our bodies otherwise? Maybe it’s this capitalist and consumerist society we live in. We thrive on the idea of making a buck off of solving other people’s problems even if it means creating the problem in their head in the first place.

We, as women, have to decide if this endgame is worth it. Basically we’re going to end up modifying ourselves over and over again until we finally die just as unhappy as the day we started. After all, the aging process and gravity aren’t going anywhere…

THE CYCLE IS ENDLESS…

Once upon a time I was chasing after that goal, too. I wanted to change myself externally to improve my relationships with society and the people in my life. Some goals I got and others I didn’t quite make it to. At the end of the day, the “happiness” I felt was eventually changed to self-loathing when I discovered the next thing I needed to change or do better. It was endless! Finally, I realized I was trying to “fix” what was going on with me on the inside by changing EVERYTHING on the outside. Does that make any sense at all? No, it doesn’t. But countless among us do it each and every day.

“WHO” ARE WE DOING THIS FOR?

It finally got to the point where I realized I was just destroying myself to appease society or the people in my life who did not love me for me. I was killing myself and the realization that the goal I was trying to reach would always be out of my grasp, made me ask me this one question, “who is this for?” If it’s a chronic pain to do and you aren’t the first person who pops up in your mind when you ask yourself that question, then I say drop it like a bad habit.

In order to accept yourself and be done with chasing society’s unattainable standards for yourself, you’ve got to figure out who you are first and strengthen your support of that identity by building self-confidence and self-esteem. I know that’s easier said than done, but there isn’t some magic trick that’s going to make you accept yourself and love yourself. It takes hard work. For some the hardest work they’ve ever done because they’ve been avoiding doing it for so long by modifying the external rather than the internal. You get there the same way you gain any other skill, practicing. Doing something over and over again until you’ve got it and not embracing the things that make you feel low.

DO THIS FOR YOU!

One way to start this process is by going through everything you own and everything you do and asking yourself “who is this for?” If you can’t think of a reason that serves you and you alone, then drop it. That said, I acknowledge that there are some things we do for others that DO make us happy. If it’s truly important, you’ll get it back over time and you’ll know, that this too, is for you.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Changing external features will not make you feel good about yourself. It’s an endless cycle and an uphill battle. You can’t fight and win against society’s beauty standards just as sure as you can’t fight and win a battle against your age or gravity. Give up and live happily TODAY.
  • Build self-confidence/self-esteem by practicing being the most confident version of yourself. Fake it ’till you make it.
  • Before you do anything, ask yourself “who is this for?” If you or your convenience aren’t the ultimate reason, then toss the idea.

Author: Robyn

All great things start with a leap of faith.

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