You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. - Louis Hay
Ask about one thing that stays constant every summer, and the answer is building up a perfect summer body. This age-old concept keeps seeping into the minds of teens, generation after generation, and Gen-Z is certainly not an exception. But not being able to escape from its impacts doesn't mean we get reduced to the norm. And this article explores the heart of this matter: why the idea of summer body is a living stigma, and why we have to get rid of it.
The Bubble We Live In
We currently live in a society where we keep buying wrong ideas every now and then. This being one of them, can be detrimental to our mental health, and moreover, can stagnate our growth as an individual. Teenage, being a critical part of everyone's life, shouldn't be spent feeling insecure about body image or making comparisons just to feel less acceptable. Unfortunately, the majority of teenagers today suffer from body-image issues, and social media have a big say in it. The Guardian published an article, titled "Teenage girls, body image and Instagram's perfect-storm", which stated "more than 40% of Instagram users who said they felt "unattractive" said the feeling began while using the app." And while these eye-opening statics exist, the rise in body insecurity during summer remains to be a topic less talked about.
Picture Credit: Ignant.com
Be Your best friend
While you can't change everyone's standards of perfection, you can certainly be the one breaking them. The easiest way to do so is by accepting (and most importantly flaunting) yourself. You deserve the same love and support as you would have given to your friend going through rough times. Showing kindness to yourself is the very essence of being your best friend. Beauty standards are variable, and you can't compromise your peace of mind for the sake of pleasing or fulfilling societal expectations. What's better is that you can set an example for others by pouring love and respect for the form you embody, because no matter cliché it may sound, the truth is that you are beautiful the way you are. Remember, hot-girl-summer isn't really a hot-girl-summer unless you internally feel like it.
Your company matters more than you think
One cannot emphasize enough how important having a good social circle is. As someone who struggles with body issues, it's all the more important to feel uplifted and loved. Choose your company wisely, and try to be around people who love you for who you are and not for what you look like. Affirmative words always do wonder whether they come from within, or from someone else!
This also holds good for social media platforms. It boils down to us to be responsible consumers, and not fall into the worldly traps of idealization. Try following influencers your personality resonates with. It can work as a good source of inspiration, seeing someone carry themselves with confidence, and destigmatize the already existing mind-game of idealization.
Happiness Over Validation
Staying fit and working on yourself is always a choice, but the decision to do so should not be taken out of peer pressure, or due to any outward reason, in general. It's your body, and you don't have to belittle its worth by trying to feel like "everyone else". You are unique and have a lot to share with this world. So even if you decide to invest in yourself, no matter in what form, deriving happiness should be the sole reason. Strive to be someone you wished you had when you were in need. It's never too late to start prioritizing yourself.
With summer knocking on our doors, we now know what we're supposed to do- express our unfiltered selves, and not let the curves define us. If you identify yourself as someone who has body insecurities, take this as a sign to come out of the cocoon, and enjoy the rest of summer.