It is worthwhile to ask yourself, what truly matters? Are you willing to base your self-worth and happiness just on the way you look? 

Manpreet Singh

Since time immemorial, women (and men) have been searching for the epitome of beauty and perfection, to the point where many people have dedicated all their time, energy and money on products and regimes to enhance their appearances.

The beauty industry generates over a $100 billion in revenue worldwide. The fitness industry generates over a $200 billion in revenue worldwide. The society’s perception of ideal beauty standards for women make them feel like they have to look a certain way to be accepted and appreciated by the society. It doesn’t matter what you do with your time, but it does matter how you seem to age with time.

In today’s age of social media, it is imperative that you look flawless in your Instagram photos, no matter the number of filters used to achieve that look; or worse if you have to starve yourself every day to be able to fit into the unrealistic beauty standards that have been normalised by the society we live in.

As these standards become more prevalent and more persuasive, so do the number of women with low self-worth, battling eating disorders and depression. As if life wasn’t challenging enough, social media is now creating more and more mental health issues purely based on the physical appearance of a person.

You matter

It is worthwhile to ask yourself, what truly matters? Are you willing to base your self-worth and happiness just on the way you look?  Are you okay with being labelled an overweight /anorexic person? Are you trying to look a certain way because that is what is expected of you from society? Are you trying to achieve unrealistic beauty standards or do you have the courage to look at yourself in the mirror and think of yourself as beautiful? How many of us feel comfortable in our own skin, just the way we are? #nofilter

Body positivity movements have been around for a long time, and it is now widely encouraged to appreciate all body types. Certain media campaigns encourage inclusivity for all body types, more and more people are attempting some aspect of change in how they view body image. The movement pushes back on body shaming, unrealistic body standards, diet culture, and advocates that your self-worth and inner value shouldn’t be tied to looking a certain way. However, body positivity as a concept is still ingrained in viewing and judging physical appearances, it expands the concept of beauty. It implies that a person’s value is at least somewhat based on their appearance. It reinforces your self-image based on certain ideals.

Body neutrality

It is time that we as a society embrace body neutrality. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care or appreciate what your body looks like. It gives you space to just be. The space between self-hate and self-love. It gives you a chance to reject labels of any kind and just accept and respect your body for what it does. It serves all your physical and emotional needs. Having a neutral attitude towards your body gives you the opportunity to look beyond physical appearances. Dig deeper and ask yourself, what are your ideals about self-worth? Your body, which is just a physical vessel that contains all that is you – is only one aspect of your being.

It is a naïve mind-set to view bodies and attach labels to them. Your relationship with your body is a very personal journey, and only you define how you show up in the world. In all honesty, being human is more critical. Perhaps you will always feel both negatively and positively about your physical appearance and that in itself is normal. It is human to simply be okay with your body’s existence and the fact you’re alive at this moment.

Live it deeply

Take a moment to appreciate your existence.

Take a deep breath and feel every part of yourself. Take a deep breath and feel your body, from your head to your toes. Your body has supported you from birth till this moment. Your body created by divine intelligence, where every atom and cell does its best to support your life. Isn’t it wonderful that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies, created you too. A creation that is perfect with all its perceived imperfections.

Have you ever thanked your body to enable you to do everything that you have ever thought of doing? From taking a leisurely walk in nature, to running a marathon; From eating the most flavoursome delicacies, to experiencing the fragrances of your favourite flowers or people; From dancing joyously to your favourite tunes, to singing and laughing till you feel delirious with joy and happiness.

 All the highs and lows that you experience in life, it is your body that tirelessly supports each experience. Is it then justified to look at your body from such a narrow lens, and attach petty labels to it? You are beautiful, regardless of your weight, height, or skin colour. You are beautiful, just the way you are.

Throughout your lifetime, your body goes through multiple changes. In some phases, you will look and feel your best. And in some phases, you may not look and feel your best. It is imperative to accept and appreciate yourself at each stage. There is power in acceptance.

By showing up comfortable in your own skin, you show the world to accept you the way you are. Sure there may be some people who may pass comments on how beautiful you are, or how you need to lose a few pounds to appear beautiful. Let people say what they want.

What matters is how you accept and appreciate your own self and not let the opinions and judgements of others influence your self-worth and levels of happiness.

You need to challenge conventions.You need to look beyond labels and appearances. You need to validate your existence on your terms, and not based on social conditioning and unrealistic ideals. You need to celebrate yourself. There is immense power in acceptance. After all, everything in the Universe is created in perfection. So why do you choose to not accept the beauty of your perfection.