This Twitter conversation shows that self love means learning to celebrate what you used to hate about yourself
Self love is a radical act of defiance against a society that constantly tries to dictate what beauty and confidence should look like.
And though social media has the power to hurt, it has a bigger power to promote and reinforce positivity by breaking down barriers that society has built.
A recent example of this has really hit home for me because it asked a question that led me to recognise that a few of the things I spent fixing, didn’t have to be fixed if I just learned to love myself a little more.
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As part of Mashable.com’s One Good Thing feature, a weekly column that focuses on nice things that have happened on and off the internet, a viral thread on Twitter recently asked the following question: ‘What’s the one thing you used to hate about yourself that you now love?’
What's something you hated about yourself as a kid or teenager that you now consider a strength?— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) September 30, 2018
The responses were illuminating. And they reminded me that if I had read through this when I was younger, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so quick to get that breast reduction or fix the gap between my front teeth.
To see Slick Woods in the spotlight and being celebrated because the gap between her teeth doesn’t just make her beautiful, but it makes her stand out set against conventional beauty standards. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that, just that the concept of beauty and confidence should be more inclusive.
It also makes me want to apologise to the gap that no longer lives between my teeth, because I treated it like it was an unwelcome asset in a body I was already struggling to feel confident in.
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Of course, fixing that gap and undergoing a breast reduction certainly did wonders for my self-esteem (the breast reduction admittedly also had a medical aspect to it in that it was giving me back problems), but I can’t help but wonder, what would I have been like if I didn’t feel the need to apologise or fix my flaws?
I asked some of my colleagues what the biggest love lessons they’ve learned about themselves are and here’s what they had to say:
Responses to the thread from Twitter emphasised the journey to acceptance is sometimes long and never easy.
And that sometimes it’s also tied to status. Like the user below who realised that being poor wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that she’s learned how to appreciate the little things in life because of it.
That our family was poor. I now know how to fix things around the house, stretch a dollar, cook delicious meals from leftovers, and appreciate the little things in life.— Stephanie Daily (@seppichdaily) September 30, 2018
And this user who used to feel ashamed of striking back at boys who bullied her and has now come full circle and teaches self defense classes.
How I’d impulsively strike out and physically hit the boys who bullied and assaulted me instead of being ‘ladylike’ and ‘turning the other cheek’.— Mags Storey (@magsstorey) September 30, 2018
Thank you! I *Repented* over it! I hated that about myself and thought it made me a bad person and sinner that I couldn’t stop myself from fighting back. Now I teach women’s selfdefense and write suspense novels with heroines who punch back.— Mags Storey (@magsstorey) September 30, 2018
This reader whose shame actually led to her finding her dream job.
That my mother and I were homeless and would sleep in abandoned buildings, train stations or shelters. We would sit and read at Chicago Public Library until it closed. The library offered warmth, normality and escape. I was ashamed of those times but later became a librarian.— Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty (@evangelestia) September 30, 2018
And this Twitter user who has proven that society’s obsession with light skin has had lasting and damaging consequences. We love that she’s embraced the beauty of her skin and that she now celebrates being confident because she knows that other young girls desperately need to see that confidence.
Being dark-skinned. I used to avoid going outside in the summer or would cover up so I wouldn’t get darker. Now I love and embrace my dark skin because there are little girls watching who need to see someone confident with the same skin color.— Cmoenay (@Cmoenay) September 30, 2018
These are just a few examples. The list of things we feel ashamed of varies so much and shows that it stems beyond beauty standards.
Shame is an emotion that we wear too easily – we wear it better than the emotions we should be focusing on instead – self love, acceptance and the knowledge that lacking something doesn’t make us better than anyone else.
I reckon I’ve still got a long way to go in terms of accepting many of the things I consider flaws, but I’m glad there are threads like these that remind us that we’re worth more than we give ourselves credit for.
And now that we’ve shared our list, why not tell us about yours? What’s the one thing about yourself that you’ve learned to accept and embrace?