“In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” ~ Caroline Caldwell
One of the biggest motivating ideas for me when I was recovering from an eating disorder, and still is today, is to “be the change I wish to see in the world,” as Gandhi said.
When I started waking up to how much our society sets us up for comparison, insecurity, focus on appearance, externalising our worthiness and power, lacking self-trust, I’ll be honest—I was pretty pissed off.
I was pissed off at the magazines that would, on one page, promote body confidence, and on the next, list out all the ways you should ignore your body’s needs because “it’s summer.” I remember my heart breaking when I realised how much I had been feeding in to these illusions of health promotion or confidence building, when really, I was destroying myself in the pursuit of both.
I couldn’t believe the audacity of the beauty industry, the diet industry, and the fashion industry, among others, for knowing my insecurities inside out, and preying on them.
And this was prior to being inundated with social media posts, addictive algorithms, and access to all the “picture perfect” presentations of life at my fingertips.
When I could see how much more challenging it was becoming for young people, I was so disappointed in how society hardly gives us a fighting chance to love ourselves, feel content, and drop the constant comparative competition. I felt the weight of the injustice and the frustration of just being one person, thinking there was nothing I could do about it.
Until I realised that we are society.
We all contribute; we can all be the change. What we focus on, we give energy to.
I realised there’s no point in me giving more of my energy to the societal storylines that scuppered my self-esteem, when I could just create and live my own story. I have spent more than enough time outsourcing my enough-ness to anyone but myself.
So as the part of society that I am, I am choosing to love myself as I am. I am choosing to write the story of worthiness, with myself as the embodiment of it. I am choosing to remove my demand from the supply of secondhand self-esteem, and create it myself.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Dan Millman
In my story, everyone realises their inherent worth, and so I must be that change.
In my story, we trust our bodies, our minds, our voices, and our opinions, and so I must be that change.
In my story, young people grow up knowing that they are valued for who they are, not how they look, that they deserve to love and feel damn good about themselves every single day.
People of all ages, embrace their emotions and open up vulnerable conversations, so they can confidently love and accept all of who they are.
In my story, we rebel against the idea that we are not ever good enough exactly as we are. We let go of the constraints of other people’s opinions and hear our own. We come home to the truth of who we are.
We realise our power.
We set ourselves free.
We are the change we wish to see.
What story are you choosing to embody?