**So in case my blog hasn't quite conveyed it, I am on my own personal journey toward developing my relationship with myself, with the world around me and the people in it. I am all about engaging with the things I have suppressed, talking openly about the things which terrify me, and approaching something resembling a state of self acceptance. This is a story from one more step in that journey.**
I had this strange moment a few days ago, when looking at my photos on my Facebook profile, many of them, unsurprisingly, of me. I know, narcissist over here...but Facebook is a treasure trove of memory triggering moments that is sometimes is very enticing to immerse yourself in.
From tagged photos put up by random people I’ve met along the way, to photo’s from my relationship, to life-changing parts of my Australia trip forever immortalized on film, it’s all there to be ruminated over whenever I feel like it.
This particular day when looking through my albums I realized some photos were triggering those mean internal insults we tell ourselves, often when we see a candid photo or even our own reflection.
The insults might have been about my hair, my skin, my make-up, my fashion choice, my body-shape, or a million other tiny areas bound to the process of dangerous over-thinking.
Some photo's I appraised more kindly and fairly.
It certainly felt like a self-indulgent and potentially dangerous experience to be reviewing myself as if I was a Tinder profile, alas, I couldn't stop myself.
It got me thinking about how our view of ourselves is so uniquely warped in our own minds.
We warp what we see and we warp what we believe others see.
Sometimes our own view of ourselves is marred with such harshness, compared to the vision others might have, visions that we will never truly be able to comprehend, until they invent mind-swapping chips.
During this practise of judging my self, which I wholeheartedly was, I had a minor revelation.
I realized I wasn’t actually really looking at me through my own eyes.
I can appreciate that sounds a bit weird and confusing...to clarify, I think I was looking at myself through the eyes of someone else, or at least, through the lenses of critique I imagined them to be wearing.
Someone who at some stage had made me feel as if I could rise above my insecurities, or at least, live a little more comfortably alongside them.
Someone who at some stage no longer was able to do this, and so I thus found myself sinking below the depths of the negative self-image that had been kept mostly at bay for so long.
Unfortunately, despite that someone's power being felt positively, for a long time, it simply couldn't hold. It had cracks and ructions and contradictions within it.
Now, in my 27th year, I have spent many more months than I wish to admit, with a clouded vision of myself, on an external, and on an internal level. Truthfully, it's been years, not months.
But I am what i am, and who I am, no matter who is looking at me, no matter what they see, no matter what I think they see; its time I got to accepting the who that I am.
To accept yourself - hell, even like yourself. Hell, even love yourself - and to let go of those who cannot, or will not, is probably the first step to building a life where self-respect leads your actions. Those actions lead to you to the right places and the right people.
To learn to look at yourself with loving eyes, eyes of a friend who knows you inside out and forgives your misgivings, is to stabilize the view you hold of your own worth beyond the influence of anyone else.
To look at yourself in a way that nobody can tarnish, nobody can sway; you are loyal and faithful to yourself first and foremost.
So many of us spend our lives living in an constant state of internal struggle, where we are split, between who we are, and who are minds and thoughts would have us believe we are.
A combination of our history, our environment, our society, our culture, our disparity; we are this way, hopelessly so.
But what if we could turn it around?
What if we learned to be our own biggest fan, our own biggest supporter, our own greatest love?
What if, we at least tried?
For me the first step to seeing myself through loyal and loving eyes has been to give myself space and time to be with myself and get to know who I am again, after so long existing amidst constantly changing and jolting environments.
And then it has been about looking at others, those who radiate self-love and make you question your own relationship with yourself, in an entirely positive way, all from something so simple as an Instagram photo.
I'm unsure of my next step, and I don't know at which point I will be okay with not judging myself, appraising myself unkindly and wasting my time on engaging with negative thoughts, but I know I am going in the right direction.
I really do believe in the power of learning about who we are, what we value and what we have to give, over spending our time and money trying to fix a million external factors, when true lasting self-acceptance comes from within.
It comes from knowing our worth is tied up our actions, our words and our relationships, not our hair or our make-up.
Knowing that there will be worthy others, who will see our worth, not our hair or make-up.