You should go and love yourself

I have a friend whose boyfriend told her that while she was perfect, she needed to lose weight. He worried what people thought when they were seen together.

As a friend, I told her you are perfect, imperfectly perfect, and he has some serious self-esteem issues he’s projecting onto you.

This is just one example of the pressure to look perfect that both men and women experience. Sadly, these comments have a lasting negative effect on their self esteem.

This external pressure affects many aspects of our lives, but most critically it effects our romantic relationships. We can’t expect to love anyone else, if we can’t even love ourselves.

There are visual examples everywhere telling both men and women what they should look like, but this image is far from the truth. We’re hurting people’s confidence for nothing. If we could all strip down and take a good look at each other, we would realize just how normal we all look, and that no one is perfect; cellulite, bumps, curves, lines and all.

A healthy body comes in all different shapes, sizes and textures. The only thing you should strive for is health, feeling good on the inside and be confident about what you have to flaunt on the outside. Only you know your body type and only you can strive to enhance your God-given frame.

I have experienced this pressure first-hand.

Until the age of 11, I never cared about what I wore or how I looked. I was confident and happy.

Then puberty hit and I gained thirty pounds. My friends looked at me different, people made me feel like these changes were wrong. I felt like a stranger in my own body.

When I was younger I loved ballet. I had just graduated to point shoes when I decided to quit, because I didn’t look the same in a leotard anymore. Ballerinas weren’t allowed to have hips and I was embarrassed when I looked in the mirror.

Dove’s Self-Esteem Campaign conducted research on developing self-image in young girls finding that “Sixty percent of girls (15-17) avoid normal daily activities when they feel bad about their looks.”

From then on, I began the unhealthy habit of weighing myself every morning, trying not to eat, but failing and binging late at night. All of middle school and high school the number one thing on my mind. How do I look? Am I beautiful yet?

In reality, “Only eleven percent of girls (ages 10-17) are comfortable describing themselves as ‘beautiful’,” Dove said.

I didn’t know, along with all these other girls, that I had always been beautiful. My body was changing and I had to learn how to love myself along the way.

I know now I wasn’t the only teenager to look in the mirror and cry because I didn’t look the way it seemed people wanted me to. To see the skewed image of what we thought we were, when really we were so much more than what we measure ourselves to be. Body image affects everybody.

The Do Something Organization reports that “More than forty percent of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly six percent admitted to experimenting with steroids.

Nobody is as hard on us as we are on ourselves. So the person who is supposed to love you for who you are shouldn’t be the one looking to change anything about you.

There is pressure on both men and women to look a certain way, but when it should never come from the person you love.

The right guy sees your cellulite and doesn’t give a shit, because you’re probably in shorts and he’s thinking “Ohh yea my girl’s in shorts today!”

The right girl sees that you are not  about that six-pack life, and loves you because she enjoys the nights when you two can sit down with your Netflix and Ben and Jerry’s.

The right partner catches you off guard one day with your unshaven legs and doesn’t recoil with disgust, because they love you, not for your usual smooth baby legs, but because you two laugh about the embarrassing moments together and understand neither of you are perfect.

Ryan Moguel, a Resident Assistant in Grace Hall, believes you cannot rely solely on another person to validate you in a relationship, because true happiness comes from within.

When it comes to changing in a relationship, Moguel said as long as it’s for the better, health wise, and in a non-controlling way then it can be okay to transition together.

“If you do it together and say, hey we’re going to start walking or we’re going to go to the gym it can be a good thing, because relationships should make you better, but if it’s controlling and abusive then it’s not good,” Moguel said.

A relationship should motivate you to be your best self, but you need to be the one ready and willing to change. If someone is forcing you to change, but you’re already happy with yourself, then ditch’em. You don’t need someone who doesn’t love you just as much as you love yourself.

Self-love is so important in a relationship. Allow yourself to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, how can you begin to love your partner.

Taylor Rowlands
Staff Writer
Published March 16th, 2016