11 April 2017

Positive Vibes & Self-Love

Positive Vibes & Self Love

Location: River Mersey, Didsbury, Greater Manchester

Self-love. If you'd have met me for the first time as a teenager, I would have forgiven you if you didn't take to me straight away. I've always been loud, confident and more noticeably, seemingly extremely comfortable in my own skin - and I've felt like this might not have always been exactly praised. However the truth is, as a teenager, I was deeply insecure about my looks and my body. Whenever I felt good about my figure, I'd hear a skinny-shaming comment along the lines of being 'all bones' and 'needing' to put on weight. When I really went for it with my makeup, I heard I was trying too hard, but when I didn't bother I felt that I looked tired or just not well-presented - as though I wasn't trying enough. This is in addition to the million and one hang ups including 'I hate my skin', 'I hate my hair', 'I wish I was taller'... *cut to the Mean Girls scene where Regina, Gretchen & Karen stand in front of the mirror reeling off things they wish they could change about their bodies.

Now we all know the drill - a combination of carefully edited social media posts fused with glossy, unachievable images plastered across magazines designed cunningly to attract my demographic. This fantasy land is something that if you buy into it, you're ultimately going to feel a negative kind of way about yourself. But... how could not buy into it? When you're constantly scrolling on a phone day in and day out, and finding that you're so effortlessly comparing yourself to a person you've never met through a rose-tinted instagram filter, mean that this feeling was always going to be well in this day and age... inevitable.

River Mersey, Didsbury
River Mersey, Didsbury

Now these days if you meet me - well let's not lie here, your first impression might still be the same. I must admit, I have matured and I've dropped the cocky persona (or at least I like to think I have) which I used to hide behind, and I feel that's down to the fact that when I act like I'm comfortable in my own skin, I'm not just acting anymore - I'm being real. I got to a point where I was so obsessed with what other people thought that I think it actually took its toll and started to drain me. Now I'm not by any means saying that I don't give a sh*t what I look like completely - I still wear makeup, invest in new clothes regularly and generally try and make an effort when I leave the house, but I've realised two very simple but important things - and I haven't just realised them, I'm truly embracing them.

The first is that the idea of looking 'flawless' is nothing more than that - an idea. You can purchase products for your beauty regime until you're bankrupt and use surgery to mould yourself into a 'better version of you' but the truth is that you will still always step back and find something wrong - in your mind you will always find room for improvement, and with your goal forever changing, you will never be truly content with yourself. 

The second is the age-old saying that we have all rolled our eyes at - that beauty lies within. I know a lot of people hate that and I know I used to be one of them, judging almost everybody I met solely on their appearance and making quick assumptions which looking back, may have even heavily influenced how close I got to them, and how I treated them. Now I've started to listen when I'm in a conversation, rather than just waiting to respond. I've started to ask better questions than 'how are you' and 'what you up to', and I've learnt the most interesting things and heard the craziest stories from people that I never would have guessed had experienced that. I've realised that a person's soul is what can be attractive; those that make you feel a certain way about yourself; that have the same dreams; or can simply just reach the level you're on. Looks are not as important or as intriguing to me as they were when I was younger, and since I've dropped the need to judge someone and started to hear what they're saying, I'm able to communicate better with people, and just as importantly, I've stopped worrying about what they think of me.

Puffer Jacket From New Look
Blue Puffer Jacket: New Look
Adidas Originals
River Mersey

Now finally, I want to keep it real with what I'm saying. It may seem a little contradictory to tell you how great it is that I don't care about what people think of me when in actual fact I'm writing this as part of a fashion blog post, using edited images of myself which I'll also be posting over on Twitter and Instagram. I understand how it looks, but I want to justify what I'm trying to say and tell you reader that I wrote this post because I feel a certain way, and I'm not going to be ashamed of it. I feel like these days, if you say that you're happy with yourself, people are going to try and point out your flaws, people are going to roll their eyes and say, 'get over yourself'. But I'm writing this post to tell you that I know I'm not a contender for Britain's Next Top Model, that I do filter my selfies, I do wear makeup, I do buy clothes that I feel are 'on trend' and I do have a gym membership. 

But that I also do feel happy in my own skin, and the reason for that is because I'm doing in my life exactly what I think I should be doing, not what other people think I should be doing. I'm putting the effort in where it's needed and I'm surrounding myself with positive people and positive vibes. If you feel like you need a change, whether that's in your appearance, fitness, health, or just a completely different direction in your life, then do it. But don't do it for your parents, your peers, your teachers, the person you like or the people that say bad things about you - just do it for you.

River Mersey
River Mersey
River Mersey
River Mersey, Didsbury
Didsbury Bridge
River Mersey, Didsbury

Finally, I want to say that positivity and self-love can not always be accomplished 24 hours a day. Of course I look in the mirror sometimes and I'm not completely satisfied with what I see, of course we're only human and we cannot be upbeat all of the time. However, by dedicating time and love to myself, instead of trying to seek approval from others, I at the very least feel soothed and at peace with myself - and so I leave you with this quote:

'A flower does not think of competing 
to the flower next to it. It just blooms.'
- Zen Shin

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