We live in a world where social media is virtually unavoidable. We have various platforms which allow us to view people’s lives as they post them. The notion of a perfect body is constantly on display. So many people fall victim to online expectations of what we should look like, how we should behave and feel bad when they think they are not meeting society’s expectations. We are similarly at the mercy of keyboard warriors who in the safety of their computer keyboard dish out unwanted comments to posts of people they’ve never met. We are surrounded by negativity, strive for acceptance and searching for perfection to meet social standards as displayed on social media. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with self love, a positive outlook and depression.
We forget to be kind not just to others but also to ourselves, and we forget that everyone is different, with different goals and different ideals. This notion of perfection means something different to each and every one of us. How one person feels about their body has nothing to do with anybody else and is not a reflection of how they feel about yours. We are all on different journeys, searching for different levels of satisfaction. One person’s disappointment is another person’s lifelong dream.
If you follow me on social media you may have seen my post a while ago about my own body. It’s taken me 41 years to look in the mirror and be happy with what I’m looking at. I have grown up as a dancer where our bodies were always on display and costumes hugged the body and hid nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I was a lean kid with some nice tone but because of my environment I was aware of every bump my body had…and I became increasingly more critical of my own ‘imperfections’.
When I moved to Canberra for university, I lived on Ressies, away from my controlled Greek household and fending for myself. I started uni as a toned size 8 with a 6pack, and 4 months later I was 14 kilos heavier and had to lie down to do up my jeans!! That was the point I realised that I had to do something about it so in semester 2 I started eating healthier, joined the gym and started to lose the weight. By the time I came back from Christmas holidays for second year, I was back to my old self but now (and forever) sporting stretch marks across both butt cheeks thanks to fast weight gain and subsequent loss.
Why am I telling you this? I think it’s important to put some things into perspective. Firstly, I’ve seen it time and time again, where smaller people (myself included) get criticised for wanting to improve themselves by people who are carrying more weight than them. I personally have been told that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to want to lose weight because I am a small person. Ideal weight is personal and relative. I see it as someone not being comfortable in their own skin and that I can relate to. As I said, it has taken me 41 years to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I’m looking at. As a dancer, weight was always under the microscope so if I am any bigger than what I was at my fittest and leanest, then I am not comfortable. What you know, how you grew up, what environment you were/are in, all play a part in how you feel about where you’re at and where you want to go. At the end of the day we should all strive to be healthy, fit and happy.
Some people say you should never strive for perfection because it doesn’t exist and you will never be satisfied. I say I always do strive for perfection because on the road to perfection you discover your strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly, you discover so much about yourself and what you’re capable of, and your mission may change because of what you do discover. What the hell is perfection anyway? It’s someone’s ideal. And it’s ok for it to mean something different to all of us. How boring would it be if we were all the same!?!