Lets learn to love ourselves

When I was in my first year of my secondary education -  I was labelled as  "The Ugly Duckling".
Obviously every teenager with acne issues are Ugly Ducklings. But I was too immature at that time to know the perfect response.  I would have rebuked saying " Yeah but not as ugly as you - dick head". But nope.  Very slow.

Anyway it didn't help much during those rebellious hormones raging years as I didn't find much support from my mum too. I mean she knew what I was going through. And at times she did try to tell me I was not ugly and all -  but most of the times -  she knew which buttons to push to bring the emotions welling up and all. Let say-  my teenage years were definitely not my best.

So in five short years ( it felt like a long long time to me) -  I clearly, firmly and absolutlely believed that I was the ugliest person in the entire school. I was one of the followers of a particular Indian girls only group and I tagged around them  -  cos you know that's what low self esteem girls did at that time. Also I was told some girls didn't like my face- so it was better to stick to some mates who'd protect you.

The group you hang around with -  are the most important thing in the world. Its ok if you forgot to shower or something -  but its important to choose the people you hang around with. If you hang out with people who believe that you are ugly -  you are not going to go far man.

The girls I was around from 13 till 16 did not ever make me feel ugly -  but they didn't have the habit of telling others how lovely they all look or their smile was radiant or their hair was shiny or anything like that. There were so much junk we spoke - I cannot remember anything empowering anyone said or did. Maybe it was just me. I was so down deep inside my low self esteem shelf -  I think all people talked about was me.

It was only after I went to Poly, after being with a bunch of crazy, fun loving people did I realise that I was not that bad. At all. My friends found my smile the best feature -  and I smiled all the time. They found my curly hair beautiful -  and I let my hair down. They found my traditional clothes to school unique and beautiful -  I only wore Salwar Kameez to school afterwards. It seemed to me that I blossomed under their guidance and care. Over the time, I was told I was nice, loving, wonderful and all sort of nice things. Let say I knew finally that my days as Ugly Ducking was over.

But -  sadly  - its not over for many many people. Its said that over 85% of women do not like how they look like.  They compare themselves with the celluloid women in the cover of magazines and TV -  and what they see and what they have does not match. And they strive towards it through cosmetics and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Some go to the extreme measure of having surgery to correct their looks.

Do you know little girls as young as 8 years old are dieting to stay in shape? WTF?? uh Hello? I only heard the word "diet" like when I was a teenager -  I was happy being a child.

This low self esteem problem is actually fuelled by magazines, film industry, fashion industry and do you know who benefits? The people creating the cosmetics, the people doing cosmetic surgery, the so called doctors who author "get Slim real quick in 2 weeks" and stuffs like that. I think you get my drift. When I am at the library -  I am amazed by the number of books just on the Weight Loss section. Two long shelves long. Trust me -  they are huge. The weight loss industry is really a big business.

Think about it. On one hand-  there's the junk food industry trying to make you fat and feel bad. On the other - there's the so called doctors who wants you to part with your money to make you look like the next super model. They are working hand in hand I tell you. Its a well known conspiracy.

I for one -  know that feeling. But the truth is -  not everyone can be as beautiful as the Bollywood or Hollywood actress. Even they are photoshopped to be leaner and full busted in magazines to look un realistic. The girls reading these so called fashion magazine know inside their head that the image is photoshopped -  but they want to be so much like them.

This has also fuelled the "Selfie" industry as well. So many girls now take a pic of them -  but edit them in filters to look a whole lot different than who they are  before they post it to Instagram or Facebook.

This is serious issue guys. We really have to focus on this. Just over ten years ago -  life was pretty much simple. If you felt you were ugly -  that's just you and your feelings. But today  -  in the harsh world of internet trolls  -  if you post a picture of you without make up in Facebook - you are cyber bullied. You are called nasty names to make you feel bad. Its bad enough you don't love yourself in the first place - but now with the Internet showing off its ugly side -  it makes you feel  as if the entire world has passed its judgement and you really are the most ugliest hideous creature ever made. That actually breaks you. And getting up from that - its really tough,

But that said -  there are people who have ignored all the negativity -  and love themselves  and their body no matter what. They are tough people I tell you. Its hard to break them. That's who we should strive to be.

I am already in my late thirties and I struggle with the same issues too.

Quoting actress Sri Devi in the movie "English Vinglish" - 

"If you don't love yourself -  you will not love the things around you. You will not like anything around you. You feel sad. But if you learn to love yourself, you will find the things around you interesting. You will not need anything extra to make you feel your worth. You will find life good again"

I would like to quote another author - Ginger Kolbaba from her book " Your Best Happily Ever After"
 You and I are swans. We have been created to be beautiful, poised, lovely, gentle, graceful. But too often we don't see ourselves that way. We look in the mirror, we look  at ourselves, and we think we're the ugly duckling.
Thank God that what we used to be  isn't what we always have to be. We may be shaped by our past, but we aren't held in bondage to it. God has created you and me with specific gifts and priceless worth. Why do we struggle so much with accepting what He has given us?

We have to get the control back in our lives. You may do so by checking out the Be Real Campaign. It was founded in partnership with Dove and sponsored by big budget people ( I know not much- but you can check it out yourself).  In my own words -  it aims to bring sanity back. So please check it out. Go through the website and see what you can do to help as individual.

We need to help the little girls from the big bad wolf  - who's doing the bloody photoshopping of unrealistic women. If we don't help -  who will?

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