An important lesson that I’ve already learned in 2016 is that a journey of self-love never ends…rather, it is ongoing. Just like we commit to our jobs, significant others, friends and family, we too must learn to commit to ourselves. Today I want to discuss the unrealistic expectations that we place on ourselves. We strive so hard to reach an unattainable goal…perfection.
Perfection does not exist and it never will. You could be Miss Universe and still have insecurities. You could train your whole life for the Olympics and still be beaten by somebody faster and stronger. You could write a best-selling novel and still be criticized by others. It sounds depressing but that’s just one way of looking at it. Once you realise that perfection does not exist, you can finally live a life that is real.
So what does a real life look like? Well quite simply, it involves being honest. Social media is a tool that allows us to portray a life that resembles a movie. The commonality between films and Instagram/Facebook/Tumblr is that none of them represent real life. When do you ever see an actress without flawless hair and makeup? When does anybody ever upload a selfie that didn’t require some form of effort? Can you see the similarities? Being constantly exposed to edited images creates deeper insecurities. Instead of just allowing ourselves to be beautiful in a natural state, we work hard to portray an image we deem acceptable and believe others will respond positively to.
I believe that insecurity and comparison is born when we look at one image and believe that this is the reality 24/7. For example, we see a picture of someone with perfect hair and makeup and automatically assume they look like that all the time. This simply isn’t true! I am guilty of this and so are we all but I no longer want to feel the unnecessary pressures of perfection. I want to be 100% genuine so here I go:
- I don’t always go on adventures. Of course I’m going to upload the times when I travel, explore new places or do something fun but in reality, I work a regular 9-5 job, Monday to Friday. The majority of my life mainly consists of doing yoga, going to work, coming home, making dinner and watching shows with Francis. I could upload pictures of my desk at work everyday but who would want to see that? There are weekends where I will literally do nothing. I will sit in bed, watch re-runs of my favourite shows and play solitaire. I give myself permission to do nothing and it’s very relaxing. I don’t always have to be doing new things to show the world that I’m active. I’m real and I work hard to make my living. I have bills to pay and a house to save for. I’m very proud of that.
- I don’t always like what I see in the mirror. Guess what? I may have a small frame but I have days when I feel big. Just to be clear, this is not an eating-disorder mentality, rather it is moments when I don’t like what I see. Sometimes I see thighs that look a bit chunky, a tummy that is soft and a face that is oily/red. I have learnt to love myself when I’m having a bad hair day just as much as when I’m having a good hair day. I will go weeks without a drop of makeup on me because I just want to be natural and find the beauty that exists without ‘extra help.’ Try not to cover up. Allow the external to be as real as the internal. I guarantee it is all in your head and most people won’t even notice or care if you don’t wear makeup.
- Francis and I argue sometimes. Which couples don’t? It is 100% normal and healthy to disagree with your significant other from time to time. Francis and I love each other very much and are very compatible but we have our moments just like every other couple. Granted our disagreements are never big and they are rare but it is through these disagreements that we have shown passion and a willingness to grow together. No relationship is perfect and I wouldn’t want that anyway. In past relationships, I used to pretend things were perfect when I was actually miserable. I know a lot of people who have done this too. Since finding Francis, I don’t pretend at all. I love him beyond expression and I’m grateful that he is honest enough to tell me when he doesn’t agree with me.
- I’m not always happy. I love my life and feel truly blessed but that doesn’t mean I’m constantly skipping and singing to animals. I have days where I’m sad and that’s okay. My emotions are there for a reason and I want to feel all of them. Since I recovered from my nervous breakdown, I learnt the importance of expressing what was inside rather than suppressing it. I tell my friends and family now if I’m anxious. I tell them when I’m down. I don’t put on a face that says ‘everything is hunky-dory’ when it isn’t. If you read my Cairns travel post, you will get the honest truth. I didn’t want to pretend it was the getaway of a lifetime because it wasn’t: I got sick, the trip to the Barrier Reef was traumatic and the weather was shocking. Back when I didn’t love myself, I wouldn’t have been able to handle something going so badly. Now I just laugh and say at least we have stories to tell the kids!
- I don’t always exercise and eat healthy. As I mentioned earlier, social media is a tool to showcase the best parts of ourselves. We love showing off ‘good body’ days, when we’ve been to the gym and how healthy our smoothies look. Let me give you a reality check though at least from my own life. A couple of weeks ago I only exercised twice. The other 5 days I deliberately stayed in bed because my body begged for more rest. I’m proud of myself for listening and giving it what it needed. I try to eat healthy 90% of the time but there are days when I could honestly go through an entire tub of Zebra Dream ice cream and eat greasy burgers with oily chips. Giving ourselves permission to be real takes away the pressure to live and look a certain way. It’s okay if you don’t want to exercise for a day, a week or even a month. It’s okay to eat something unhealthy and processed. Be real!
- I’m not always filled with creative expression. There are times when I am stumped for blog ideas. Weeks will go past when I have writer’s block and my book goes untouched. I don’t always have pictures to put up on Instagram and that is okay. Our minds aren’t always go, go, go. They do get fuzzy and life isn’t always inspiring at every turn. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to go out and have experiences in order to create content. On the contrary, being on social media has opened me up to doing so many more things but it’s okay not knowing what to put up next. If you go a week without making a YouTube video, that’s perfectly normal. Life gets in the way and it can be uneventful at times.
I read a beautiful quote from a Buddhist that I want to share: ‘When it’s time to get dressed, put on your clothes. When you must walk, then walk. When you must sit, then sit. Just be your ordinary self in ordinary life, unconcerned in seeking for enlightenment. When you’re tired, lie down. The fool will laugh at you but the wise man will understand.’
I wrote this post because I want to give everybody else permission to just be themselves. Upload beautiful pictures but be truthful about them as well. If you didn’t have a great day, don’t write ‘best day ever.’ If you spent hours putting on makeup and using filters don’t hashtag natural beauty. If you didn’t like the food you ate but it was presented well, just say the meal looked great but the taste was so-so. Things don’t always have to go 100% but that’s the beauty of life. I’m glad perfection doesn’t exist because we would never appreciate anything. A big part of self-love is being authentic, honest and accepting. Now I’m off to enjoy the rest of my uneventful day!
Peace & Love xoxo